Does she look beyond all those walkways to a point where sleepers never wake
That forbidden sliver of elation off the tips of her tongue like those magic sunsets
They walked briskly for they intended to catch a midnight ghost train far in the eve sunk within an elaborate tunnel system the whistle crowed and chimes of the hunter crawled down their spines leaving markings of unease
And the cold cascade of rain drove them to unsettled shivers as the train stopped and opened it’s hull allowing passage to those cringing lives, doors cracked shut and the sputter of those heavy metallic wheels rusted by
They seemed unmoved by the innards where the antique cars rowed one by one held Victorian charm only there was no charm among those two … the old couple now long abandoned the fluidity of life on their faces yet they almost floated instead of touching ground they yearned for a time now long ago where an appearance of youth flowed like silk through their now lost bodies a time when couples in crisp summers find themselves heavy with sweat and filled by passionate embraces there was no longer that passion of course these somber passengers only waited for the end of their final destination this ghost train was running a course for a new planet where the recently dead awaited new information and homes…. They took seats together and sat silently as the male turned his head making it a point to avoid glances with those others sitting picked up at prior stations the woman tugged at the air near his tie saying that there are fifty more stops until arrival as she peered at the map and walking around might wipe the memory of their death or atleast shake the fear of leaving the kids behind.. how would they survive ? Will they notice their bodies the next day and will the small one have nightmares until his time to ride this train ? They stood up the woman first without looking at the man she then motioned to him we need to walk I have a heavy heart about leaving but I’m glad we are here together I could never make such a voyage so difficult without losing myself he poked his head out of the seat and followed the woman they headed for the middle carriage where they heard clamorous cheers and screaming … what on earth is going on ? The two thought it was not long after moving that they crossed a elongated mirror on the car which was a mere door away from the sounds he looked first and was astonished he had not seen such hair on his scalp in thirty years his muscles looked firm and was as though he had been in the middle of intense training in the time of his college track team years and for the first time since the accident he looked at his wife and she was beautifully young her grey hair now a ripe red apple color he grabbed at the air where her arms would be only now it was air he swatted. Look our images are young what a treat to see themselves in such a manner they smiled and just watched their young bodies smile there was another cackle of a bell and a voice informing them of a stop and more passengers let’s look into the clatter and exuberance in this car I can’t wait a single second longer the door of the ghost train responded to the pulling from ghost arms and what they saw astounded them it was the woman who gazed into the car watching what she recognized as her mother as young as 26 looking concerned but happy Audrey Audrey how can this be ? My daughter come please Audrey turned to him can this be real or I mean am I losing it what is going on her mother died 10 years ago shouldn’t she have departed the train a decade ago? A little voice grew loud and cornered the man who are you and why are you so rudely blocking my pass the little girl was silent and moved but not without a scornful look they both walked reluctantly through the crowd of what seemed a reunion of sorts but the clamor had stopped since their entrance Audrey come sit down I’m sure all that walking through that bright white light must have had you two all spent the light that they followed to reach the train once they sat mrs brightworth began to hug her daughter and began to shed tears of air I have missed you so much I must tell you I have been on this train for ten years waiting to reach the final place with you you see for a traveler to reach the better place one needs 9 keys and you are my ninth keys what do you mean? They looked intently as she seemed to continue yes these keys are prayers of entry each being can cast a key into the final gate to open the hull at the final destination but alas I had only eight and I was awaiting you to give me the final one you see since leaving you I was not allowed passage but I have always prayed for you mother to reach the better place ah yes that is true but
I meant cliff you see since I was such a recluse their were not enough people to grant me keys to reach where I preferred to go your husband I need his blessing to finally disembark cliff spoke he had always a difficult time with mrs brightworth and now it seemed to him that there was something she wanted of him the woman that would not approve of their marriage the woman that persuaded Audrey to run away to Paris so as to avoid seeing him the woman that cursed his family and cursed his home over and over mrs brightworth dedicated her long life to make him miserable and it wasn’t until she died that his relationship with Audrey became almost storybook.. I ask you for my final key a gift of passage to the better place cliff please send me to my new home so that I may find peace… Wait a minute what’s all this about keys ? What are you talking about Helen ? Well each human has 3 keys to give and each key helps unlock the doors to cabin 2 cabin 2 is the only car that opens once we reach the better place it has never opened for me 8 keys is not enough these keys are prayers of reaching the better place and when
One prays for the deceased then that deceased person is given a key it’s said that we can only give 3 keys away and that the other prayers are empty or keyless One simply finds a new key in their pocket after each prayer the prayers that usually carry keys are those heartfelt prayers that make the soul sing… I’m sure the two of you will have keys by the morning when people find out about your death … Right now it’s 4:50 am in alive time there is no time here but we have clocks for alive time for the purpose of well vanity I suppose the only time they are ever really looked at are to see how soon keys shall arrive. Let’s sit and catch up a bit I have been on this train so long I lost all direction Helen held onto the hopes of fulfilling her want and cliff knew too well that Audrey would come to him to ask but there was peace now and the train seemed interestingly loud again apparently the noise got loud and music even rushed in as though the conversation was what had held the silence and it was so. You see I am the informer for the passengers here everyone comes to the cabin here with questions and just as easy they leave usually it would take months to figure out the riddle of this train where now it takes only the keys in return I ask for the possession of extra keys and that is how I attain key 7 and 8 it used to be that each passenger would need to find the man on the train Charon but since he has always made us ghost tremble I cut them off three cars off there are a lot of friends of mine here I am a big name .. Just then the little girl came and sat at the table and merely stared at the funny man who listened to the gloating dead woman she seemed angry at cliff .. Oh that’s right you are sitting in this sweet young girls chair she hates that and she is a mute oh I’m sorry here how rude of me a smile pronounced and Audrey asked… Cliff it’s only a key you won’t need to see her in the better place and I gave mom my key the second she died I have already tried Audrey do you think I want to spend another minute with this woman I prayed for her key but nothing happened … Well cliff I don’t see a key you must be doing it all wrong try again Audrey please convince him to try harder I don’t want to stay on this ghost train well Helen if as you say is true you will have a new key soon with all your new friends there but be spare keys abound.. It took me ten years to gather those two keys TEN years I can’t wait a second more try .. Cliff bent his mind around the notion of elapsed time and remembered the morning of his first night with Audrey she looked just as she does now only sad he came and with all his heart tried but doubts about Helens worth as a person stopped because the real problem lay with how she treated Audrey and had little to do with how she was by him. You see Audrey was an aspiring artist and her dream was continuously thwarted by her mother until that very fateful day of her departure of earth Helen even went to the extent of calling people she knew to reject her submissions calling in favors from Helens coveted New York friends and without explanation Audrey would find her work returned over and over again cliff turned to Helen and told them both that although you have forgiven your mother for that momentary halting of your art career I can’t get that look in Audrey’s eyes when she cried to me that one day when a curator enthused by the pieces she sent called and then after Helen’s work pulled her first real exhibition from her last lingering hopes that look cut through my soul and at her deathbed the reason was a simple I wished to avoid being lonely and an artist does not love their mothers … The move to ask again quelled in Audrey I just checked my pocket honey I have and Audrey pulled 9 keys cliff had 9 too let’s go he said just then the little girl thought to be mute said daddy don’t go do you remember me and my mommy Claire ? I am ready to come with you I want a family I have had ten keys with me this whole time and mommy is a very popular woman she will never need an extra key I can give grandma a key if it’s ok … The sunset and the creaking howl of rust slowed the train for planet hellix, the better place, dreams will come to those that wait. Claire was Audrey and Cliff’s unborn child who died years ago she was on the train waiting for them, for the right time, for family.
Does she look beyond all those walkways to a point where sleepers never wake