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500 X 49 Station

 
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: 500 X 49 Station Reply with quote



I thought I'd post this a little early since we have a holiday weekend coming up. The image comes to us courtesy of Harry.
Thanks, Harry. Very Happy
I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Happy New Year,
shadowlight

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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:08 pm    Post subject: The Train Station (WC 500) Reply with quote

The Train Station
© Marlicia Fernandez 12-29-06 (WC 500)


There’s something magical about a train station. From the crowds of people, to the mournful whistle as the great conveyance pulls into the station, everything appears more than it seems – a sort of mystery.

You’re laughing at me. I can tell, even though you hide your smile behind your gloved hand, but that’s all right. I’m used to people thinking my ideas are nothing but amusing flights of fancy.

Let’s look at the people. Who travels on such a cold, dismal day? Where are they going? Who are they waiting for?

Look at the young man with the briefcase- what’s his story? Does he wait for someone, or is he going on a journey himself? Why is he so nervous? Could his case hold stolen papers, state secrets? Could he intend to stowaway? Maybe he’s a spy.

You lift your eyebrow and smile. You’re laughing at me again, but it doesn’t matter. My imaginings help me pass the time.

Raindrops spatter the tracks. You offer to share you large, black umbrella. I thank you. More umbrellas open like flowers in a meadow. Black, gray, white; not a very colorful garden, but what can one expect in the middle of winter?

A pink parasol glides with graceful purpose through that somber garden, wilting a little under the weather. What brings such finery here? Who is she looking for? She carries no luggage, so she’s meeting someone. Or maybe she didn’t have time to pack? Does a porter follow? I don’t see one.

Several men break away from the crowd. They keep their distance, but they watch her. She doesn’t notice. Or doesn’t care.

The rain stops as suddenly as it began and umbrellas close with a unified snap and shake. Now the girl can be seen clearly, her blonde head disappearing and reappearing in the crowd on the platform. Her course hasn’t changed and it is now apparent who she’s come to meet. The young man smiles and waves. She waves back. The train pulls in, with a shrill whistle. A hiss of brakes and a hearty “all aboard,” starts the passengers toward the doors.

No one disembarks.

The couple joins those trying to board but is cut off by men waving badges. I turn to see if you’ve noticed, but you’ve gone. Shrugging, I return my attention to the unfolding drama. You’re there. The shackles seem excessive for such a slender girl, but both she and the man are cuffed and taken aboard. You wave at me before boarding behind them.

A few minutes later, the train chugs out of the station. I slip my hand into my coat pocket and pull out a crumpled piece of paper. Your note says: Don’t worry. Things aren’t always as they seem.

I smile and beckon a porter to assist me to my office. As he maneuvers my heavy chair and breathing apparatus I realize you have given me a precious gift, a ‘what if’, and the mystery of the train station remains.

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Jolanta
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your story is very inspiring, Marlicia. Observing people in different situations is a very exciting occupation, I think. The train station is a very interesting place. But I dislike modern train stations with crowds of people in big cities. But they are magical indeed in little, old towns.
Your story is a very good beginning for many other stories about every passenger. Very exciting and inspiring.

J. Cool
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Harry
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very colorful, Marlicia. Every bit as mysterious and unfathomable as the picture itself. The picture is worth the vivid description, I think it would be degraded by too much dialogue. Your story could be the opening scene of a Hitchcock thriller or a Pink Panther farce ... save it!
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Harry
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Metaphor

By Harry Buschman


My leg was better. There was still one piece of steel behind the patella as large as a dime. It was to remind me of November 11. Who would forget getting hit on the last day of the war? But I could walk for hours now, and I knew I'd have to walk to get from the North Station to the hotel. The taxis weren't running yet and even if they were, I couldn't afford one.

But I was here! On my own in Paris – fresh in from Le Havre. There were at least 50 or 60 novels in my head, any one of which would make me famous. I just needed a place to write and friends to talk to. Yes talk ... real talk, something other than the gossip in the hospital ward. I would be in the company of hawks now, not doves.

I could feel the rush of adrenalin as the train slowed down. My senses were more acute than they'd ever been. There was a girl sitting in the window seat next to me and I couldn't help making some inane remark about getting to Paris before dark. She was nice enough not to ignore me, although I'm sure she was well aware I had been looking past her face at the window for the last half hour. But it was Paris after all – a few short months after the war – and I was in uniform.

Now, in the growing dark, her face was reflected in the glass, through which I could see Paris passing by; one superimposed over the other. It was a moment I shall remember forever. In all its simplicity it seemed to be a metaphor of the last four years. I made a mental note to include this moment on the first page – of the first novel.

She was met in the station by a man my age, a civilian untouched by the ravages of war. They walked arm in arm to a limousine parked at the curb. I didn't want to make assumptions. I didn't want to spoil the moment that had just past. You don't see a metaphor every day.
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

What a lovely story. I can only try to imagine what it must be like for someone like this soldier, fresh out of the hospital, to see Paris - all on his own. Part of me wanted him to be able to spend the evening walking with the girl in the city, to see the Eiffel Tower or the Arc d'Triumph. Or maybe make a date to visit the Louvre the next morning. But I guess reality is different.

I loved the bit about her reflection being superimposed on the what was going by in the window. That was awesome. I think you could get a series of stories out of this, maybe relating to each of the books/stories he has in mind. I'd be curious how he intends to use this little experience in his first novel.

Very nicely done, sir. The mood and the characterization are wonderful. I hope you do more with this.

shadowlight

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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolanata,

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoy this. I have to agree with you about train stations. I used to love the station in Wiesbaden, but I don't think I'd care much for large city stations. I think they would be too much like large city airports, devoid of much of their character and charm simply because of the anonymity imposed by sheer numbers.

Harry,

This prompt was so awesome. Thanks for sending it along. I had so much fun writing to it.

Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm happy you think this has potential. I hadn't thought about the possibilities as a farce (a la Pink Panter), though I see it now...and I agree about Hitchcock. (or possibly even James Bond or something similar for that matter. ) Definitely lots of possibilities. I will keep this and thanks to your encouragement and Jolanta's I will have to think about where this tale can go.

Thank you both so much.

marlicia

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Jolanta
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jessica left a big waiting room at the train station to appear on a platform where the train from Berlin was expected to arrive. The air seemed clear there so she took real pleasure in breathing the cool air after staying in the stuffy waiting hall. She should leave the horrible, stinking place much earlier, but she was so immersed in thought that she didn’t notice at all the gentlemen sitting close to her with cigarettes in their fingers.

She strolled back and forth the platform, waving her pink umbrella and clattering with it on the pavement. From time to time she took a peek at the right side to check whether the train would appear.
The train was delayed so Jessica had more time to prepare new scenarios for the meeting with John. She was well prepared for the worst. So she didn’t understand why she felt cold sweat on her forehead. She pulled out her silk handkerchief and wiped her face.

The platform filled up with new passengers. In the crowd of people awaiting the train Jessica felt safe. She dreamt to disappear in the crowd or simply run away from the train station, but it was not a good idea, she felt. It would be better for her and John to get everything straight and to do it at once. She decided so. She was sure of that.

Jessica felt sorry for John, the most kind-hearted man. Some things should never happen at all, but they did and she was helpless in the face of that.
She tried to imagine his reaction to her invitation. She realized how much she harmed and hurt him. But she couldn’t put back the time.
Jessica tried to excuse herself; John spent much time in Berlin – too much time. It was too much for her. She found herself mean, but it was too late for remorse.

The train appeared at last in the distance. The locomotive belched black smoke and the train drew up slowly to the platform.
Jessica felt anxiety and panicked; perhaps she would play for time, perhaps she would explain everything to him later, or next day, or…

The train pulled in and soon Jessica could spot John leaning out of the window. He noticed her as well. He smiled at her, waving with a big bouquet of red roses.
She smiled at him and with difficulty raised her hand to wave him back…


J. Cool
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Jolanta
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

The soldier have experienced horrible time during war. It was rather a wrong time to look for any metaphors for novels or stories. But after war he felt new possibilities. I like the freshness.
Having read this story, I realized that the time of peace in normal conditions (without (post)communism, for example) offers many things allowing people to develop their talents.

I like the soldier though is a poor man in comparison to the man with the limousine. I love inventive men Smile
I hope the soldier could find many other interesting metaphors in his life.

J. Cool
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Harry
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good move, John. Jessica can't give you the sack when you hand her that bouquet of roses – red ones too ... good thinking! You've created a nice scenario, Jolanta – with a devilish little twist at the end making your reader write his or her own ending. You say you like inventive men? Let me think that over ...
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolanta,

This is a nice, if sad tale. I wonder if John will be able to stave off the inevitable, or perhaps he can change Jessica's mind. I wonder what invitation she is thinking about. I love the idea of the roses. Does he suspect?

There is so much in this story that can be expanded upon. I'd love to know more. What led up to this? Surely it can't just be his trips to Berlin?

Loved the appearance of the pink umbrella. LOL

Well done, Jolanta. would love to see more of this.

marlicia

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Jolanta
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank for reading my piece.
Marlicia, I tried to develop your character with the pink umbrella. I said to you that your story was very inspiring. The man waving hand is also from your story. Thanks for inspiration.
Harry, I love both inventive and creative (and wise) men. They are really wonderful Very Happy
By the way, where is our Dave?

J. Very Happy
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolanta,

You're more than welcome. I really enjoyed your little story. Very Happy

And that was such a lovely compliment. Smile

Ah, I had a feeling that might have been the case, but I didn't want to sound presumptious, Wink . You did a wonderful job building on those characters. I'm glad (and flattered) that my little offering could inspire you to write such a wonderful piece. That makes me really happy. Very Happy

marlicia
with God all things are possible

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Psychoreader
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gahh. This title doesn't really fit the story.
Oh, well, hope you guys enjoy this. Sorry it took so long to put out. I've been busy with work.


No-Show

She didn’t know why she let him get to her this way.

When he said he would come, she would believe him. Every time, she put her pride, her heart, and trust on the line.

Every time, she was left looking like a fool. Generally, it was not only a blow to her pride, but also a blow to her wallet. In spite of this, she was always ready to trust him again and again.

“Why can’t you come this time, Jared?” She let out a soft bitter laugh into the phone. Her hands played with the phone cord, the harsh light of the train station playing on the facets of the ring she wore. The engagement ring he had given her yesterday. She had been so happy; had hoped that he was going to change. “Why can’t you come any time?”

He hesitated on the other end. “I just… can’t.” It was the worst excuse he had come up with yet. She didn’t even rate a good lie.

Anger filled her, causing her to see red. “You can’t? I bought two ticket for St. Louis, Jared. Are you ever planning on meeting my parents? Or are you avoiding them?”

“Tara, please don’t be this way,” a pleading tone, the one that usually got him her sympathy, entered his voice, “Look… I can’t stay. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

“No! No more promises, Jared! I give it up!” Tara found herself screaming into the pay phone. “I can’t take it any more! I need to see that you love me; not just hear empty promises!” She slammed down the phone before he could reply. Before she realized it, she was sobbing. Crying desperately about broken promises and broken hopes. Weeping as if tears alone could wash away the pain.

Tara shoved blindly away from phone. Shaking, she stumbled on the concrete, somehow keeping from falling. The train station was blurry through her tears. It had seemed so hopeful, so busy when she had arrived early that day. Now the people seemed like pillars of salt, frozen for looking back into a happy past.

Maybe the good times spent with Jared belonged to such a past. Maybe there was no going back.

The world seemed like a watercolor painting to her emotional eyes. Once more Tara stumbled. This time she fell. She didn’t register the danger coming until it bore down upon her. By then, it was too late to move out of the way of the train.

Tara screamed and seconds before contact was made, she felt strong arms pull her off the tracks. Blinking away the blind of her tears, she stared up at her rescuer.

Jared stared back at her, his face almost unrecognizable behind the red mask covering his eyes. Mind numb, Tara gave him a once over. His outfit was gaudy and bright, complete with tall red boots and gloves. He had her wrapped in his crimson cape.

And he was shaking.

“I just couldn’t come,” he whispered.

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Psychoreader
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shadowlight --
Your lady would probably make a good author. When the body gives out, the mind is freed, I guess. A little off-topic, but what happened to your lady that she needs a wheelchair and oxygen tank?

Harry --
I think it is touching -- and somewhat amusing -- that the one thing that your soldier is caught up with after the war is metaphors and Paris, not the pretty lady he is sitting next to! Very nicely done.

Jolanta --
Cool play off of Shadowlight's story. I too want to know what the invitation was and also how this story plays into the couple's being arrested it Shadowlight's story.

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Harry
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You make him sound like the nutcracker in the ballet. Anyway why couldn't he appear before Tara's parents looking like that? She could have dressed up like the sugar plum fairy. You have a future in the story telling business, Psycho – if what you're doing doesn't work out. This picture seems to have brought out the romantic in all of us.
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Psychoreader,

What an original take on the prompt. So he's a superhero, is he? That would explain a lot of things. He probably should have taken her into his confidence and then this mess wouldn't have happened. I have a feeling everything will be all right now, if she can handle him always being on call. Of course meeting the parents may have to wait and how they're ever going to manage a wedding ceremony and honeymoon...well, that could be tricky. Is Tara up to the challenge? Does she love him enough to give him another chance? I think maybe he deserves one.

Oh, and about the tickets, maybe he ought to put out the money now and then...that way she doesn't always end up holding the bag.

I really enjoyed this and as Harry said, you do have a future in story telling, should you ever decide to pursue it.

Well done,
shadowlight

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Jolanta
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Psychoreader,

your story is wonderfully romantic. What a familiar (to me) vocabulary, it seems to be taken just from my most romantic poems!
The hero makes me think of… Batman Smile !

It’s very good and nice.

J. Smile
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Psychoreader
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, he's a superhero. Glad that you all were able to tell. I didn't want to go right out and say it and I wasn't sure if I was clear enough.

Thanks for your kind comments. We'll have to see what's ahead for Tara and Jared. I think she is stronger than even she believes.

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Heidi
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:09 pm    Post subject: The Adventure Reply with quote

Laura looked around her and sighed, what in the world had she gotten herself into? This was supposed to be a simple assignment, go to the toy factory, find the owner and have him sign the papers over to her law firm. How was she supposed to know the owner was stuck somewhere in Syberia of all places? 'If my boss hadn't told me I'd make partner I would've turned around and gone home by now.' Laura thought frowning as the sound of a train whistle pierced the afternoon air. She stood up slowly brushing off a few flakes of snow from her brown winter coat and brushing back her dark brown hair. She sighed again, why was she doing this? Part of her wondered if it was really because she wanted to be partner so badly or if it was something else that was sending her on this wild goose chase? Surely she would never find this guy and even if she did, what if he was crazy? 'He would never sign the papers then.' she thought wearily. Yet as she boarded the train she felt her heart racing with anticipation, she felt excited and nervous. Something about traveling to a place she had never been before seemed interesting and perhaps even exotic. "Why on earth would going to Syberia be exciting?" Laura mused to herself as she took her seat next to a young man. As she looked out the window as the train pulled out of the station she realized why. When she was a young girl she had always wanted to travel the world but never got the chance. "Perhaps this is my chance to do what I always wanted." Laura said softly to herself with a smile.
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Harry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure things will work out for Laura. In a few minutes they'll be in the bar car and she'll forget all about being in Siberia. Nice beginning, Heidi. Who was the toy man, Santa Claus?
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shadowlight
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heidi,

I liked this little piece very much. So she's finally getting to do some traveling, is she? Good for her. It could be her sense of adventure will stand her in good stead. I'm not really certain of her age, but it could be she strikes up a nice conversation with the man in the next seat and one thing leads to another. Maybe he could go with her to meet the toy maker. Or maybe she finds she the toy maker interesting, or eccentric, or frightening. There are so many different directions this can go and I hope you do more with this.

Well done, Heidi.

shadowlight

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