Pushing his way through the crowd in a near panic, the old man searches each and every face, praying to God that one of them belongs to his grandson. Back at the house, the ruckus of screeching brakes as the train derailed woke them all earlier than expected. He, however, woke moments before it began with a dreadful pit in his stomach. Still searching the faces, he catches sight of a book fluttering on the side of the tracks, a sketchbook. His heart clenches and he nearly drops to the ground from the pain, but he can’t – he has to know. Making his way through the debris, he looks down, and there among the other rubble is a rendering of the most beautiful woman he has ever seen; it’s his own wife the way she looked on their wedding day, the way she looks in the portrait that hangs over the dining room mantle.
With a shaking hand, he begins to reach for it, but falls as his knees give way. Police and onlookers rush to his side; he knows they are speaking to him, but can’t make out their muffled voices as their hands try to lift him to his feet. It’s all a blur of motion and sound, his only focus is the dried blood splattered across the page. The soul-wrenching horror of a celebration that will never take place pushes him beyond his body’s limit. As the burgeoning morning blackens to night once more before his eyes, he has a fleeting thought – his grandson describing the eerie, almost mystical way 250 tons of speeding metal hurtling down the tracks is nearly silent until it’s just upon you…
(part two of two… yesterday, ‘C’, was part one)
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