I think it would have been better off without the rain. I mean, this was a rotten situation to begin with, but there was that fucking rain. I was crouched inside, you see. I didn't want that asshole Justin to see me. He wouldn't expect me to be there. I knew that. But I didn't want to take any chances. I had my tickets.
Off in the distance, I could hear a lonesome wail from the train's whistle. I grabbed my backpack in the hopes that this was the train I'd been waiting for. I heard the bell start to ring. I knew the train would be stopping here. I ran out and up to the platform. I was getting wet. I should have waited a little longer.
The train pulled up to the station, illuminating the station sign. "Kankakee." The train was short- 5 cars long. It had a single P42, a transition sleeper, a sleeper named "Canyonlands", one of their new Cross Country Cafe cars, a baggage-coach, and a coach bringing up the rear. I rushed into the coach. There could not have been more than 15 restless riders in this coach.
You might be wondering why I pay attention to that, or know so much. Well, my father, he was an engineer for the Illinois Central, and later Amtrak. I might be a knockout blonde tomboy, and I might be a country bumpkin, but I sure like my trains. My daddy used to take me riding. It was always the pleasure of my day to sit at my desk and watch the Canadian National trains rolling.
I quickly had my ticket processed. I wanted to make sure I got to the diner in time for something to eat. I'd been hiding all day and I wanted a meal. I hadn't eaten, hadn't had the time. I was too scared to come out of hiding. It was my husband, you see.
I came home from work. He started accusing me of cheating. He always did. He even thought that because I was cheating, little Sammy might not have been his. Let me tell you something, just so you know. I wasn't cheating. I'm an old fashioned girl. I had met a guy, and we wanted each other, but I decided we were going to get divorced first.
I wanted to divorce this guy a long time ago, but I thought it would be impossible. He beat me all the time. He even used a cat-o-nine tails on me. He had no respect for me, no trust in me. Alright, I admit I was stupid. I married the star quarterback, because he was a hunk. My dad told me not to. I should have listened.
I thought it was impossible because ... well, you see, the county prosecutor is his cousin. Oh, and the county Judge is his uncle. And that's not the best part, either! No, on top of all that, his father had to be the county Sheriff. He himself was a deputy, too. Oh, it was awesome, let me tell you!
But that was before I met Mark. Mark was an attorney. He was a really nice guy, and we had gotten along wonderfully. He would have been the perfect father. He loved Sammy. He may have been a geek in school, but now I realized that the nice geek was the better partner than the hot jerk.
I'm talking in the past tense on purpose, unfortunately. Tonight, Mark and I went to my husband to serve him with divorce papers. We hadn't even gotten to explaining the terms. He read what they were and he went berserk.
He shot Mark in the head. I mean he just pulled out his service revolver and shot him. My heart froze right there, then shattered into a million pieces. I was in shock. If I hadn't been in shock, maybe Sammy ... well, I don't know.
"YOU STUPID FUCKING SKANK!" he screamed, and he stormed at me and punched me on to the floor. He was about to start kicking me even.
Sammy, probably because of the shot, the yelling, or both, came into the room. He stared at Mark, who he loved like a father already, and got angry. Then he saw Justin standing over me, and about to hurt me.
"FATHER, NO!" He screamed, and ran for Justin, punching him and kicking him and trying to stop him.
"SHUT UP YOU LITTLE BASTARD!" Justin roared at him while kicking him across the room. I heard a sickening crack, and saw his head at an impossible angle from him hitting the wall. I saw his lifeless eyes.
I was lucky my automation took over. Mark's car keys had fallen out of his pocket when he fell and I grabbed them and raced out the door. I wasn't thinking, I wasn't particularly scared, I wasn't trembling. My body had chosen flight and it was flying, but on auto-pilot.
I clicked the remote and unlocked the drivers door of Mark's Volkswagen Phaeton W12, three open the door, got in, and slammed it shut. I twisted the key in the ignition and heard the huge 6-litre twelve cylinder engine roar to life. I shifted into drive and floored the accelerator.
His Ford F150 Lightning was a fast truck, sure. But it couldn't match the performance of the Volkswagen's 12 cylinder 420 bhp engine, nor could it match the handling of the Quattro-type AWD system and Skyhook air suspension. He kept up with me for a little bit, but I took a corner and then he was gone. I heard a crash...
I don't know yet what happened, but I didn't stick around to find out. I stashed the car about a mile from the station and ran to it, hiding in a drainage pipe. I bought the tickets with my cell phone and was told all I would have to do is sign for them. No problem there.
My father had moved to Baton Rouge. I'd call him once I was safely out of the area. I didn't do anything illegal. But that didn't matter, not here.
I must have looked like shit, but now you know why I wasn't happy at all as to why it was raining.
The train pulled out to continue its southbound odyssey. I went to the Cross Country Cafe. Waited meal service had stopped, but there were a lot of options still on the All-Day menu. However, after some sad puppy eyes, the attendant and chef agreed to make me a "Garlic Marinated Flat Iron Steak". It wasn't cheap, but who cares?
I ordered it with a double Jim Beam on the rocks. Like I told you, I'm a tomboy. I don't like the dainty drinks. When my meal was ready, the attendant even had the class to take it over to the table I was seated at.
I looked out the window.
Even in the darkness, I could see us rolling past houses, farms, and fields. We passed some freight that probably was unnamed. I saw a lit freight yard filled with old black men, and graveyards of rusted automobiles.
I was bored, so I offered to do some card dealing for some old men playing cards. They talked about a penny a point, but it seemed nobody was keeping score. As I sat there with them, I could feel the rails rumble beneath the floor.
A really friendly looking, and fairly handsome, black man sat down across from me. I smiled at him.
"Hi," he said, "I'm James."
"I'm Shelly," I replied, taking his offered hand and shaking it.
"Where you headed, and why the train?" James asked me.
"My dad was an engineer." I told him, as a matronly woman sat down near us with a baby in her hands. I hoped it wouldn't start crying.
Hell, in the state I was in, I hoped I wouldn't start crying. I was thinking of some of the other reasons about where I was headed and why, as well as why the train.
"Really?" James said, "My dad was a porter for Pullman."
"And the sons of Pullman porters, and the, uh, daughters" I giggled, "ride their father's magic carpet made of steel."
"You know, you're trying to hide it, but you're not very good at it, Shelly," James told me.
"Is it that obvious?"
"Yes, it really is," he told me.
Now, what I haven't told you was that I was a horny and very sexually oriented woman. I just never felt that it was right to break a promise. A wedding vow is a promise, and I promised to be faithful. Now, he had promised to love and cherish me, I know, and beating me up and screaming at me wasn't that. I guess I was weak.
But god damnit, killing my best friend is against the marriage vows in my mind. And even if they weren't, because I could see the reasoning, killing our son was against our marriage vows. Justin, if you ever read this, know this: you broke the promise!
I was lonely. The two people who I loved and cared about had been killed within moment of each other. And they were killed by the person I once loved and was supposed to love me. I was lonely, dejected, and longing for love and understanding. I didn't have the chance to cry about it yet.
I really didn't. The tears should have come as the events unfolded, but I was too busy running for my life. And from my life. I didn't want this life anymore. It was too early to laugh, too late to cry.
"It's really a private thing, James," I told him, tears slowly welling up in my eyes.
"How about you come to my room?" he asked, "I promise, I'll be the perfect gentleman."
"Why? Why do you want to know?"
"Honey, I am looking at your face," he told me, "and I can tell you need to tell someone. You need to cry. You look like if you don't cry, you goin' to die!"
"Well, ok." I told him.
We got up to leave. As we walked by, I saw the mother sitting there, her child asleep in her arms, and she seemed to be swaying to the rhythm of the train. It called to mind more lyrics, and I whispered them as we passed.
"Mother's with their babes asleep, are rocking to the gentle beat, and the rhythm of the rails is all they feel... "