The Night Train

19th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)


The Prompt: Write something mysterious.


Well, this is quite the turn. Write something mysterious, huh? No query. Not even a polite “please”. Just a matter of fact statement to write…something…mysterious. Challenge accepted!


The Night Train

It was after midnight. A bit foggy. Like my memory of this night over 40 years ago. Or perhaps it was a dark clear night with no moon? As I said my memory is foggy. But despite the lack of certainty on some of the specifics, this is a true story.

We were sitting in the car, parked at the Brattleboro, Vermont train station lot situated tightly between the long since closed station building and the rails. We were awaiting the arrival of Amtrak’s Montrealer – traveling painfully slowly from New York City to Montreal due to the poor track conditions. The only passenger train serving our rural community. I was 8 or 9 years old. My older brother, about 12, was on the train, which was running late as always.

It was cold and dark. Just a single dim lamp lighting the parking lot. Mom was sitting next to me in the driver’s seat. A shiver came over me as we sat there. Not from the cold (the car was running with the heat on), but from a sudden vision. I knew (not thought, knew!) that the next car that arrived in the lot was going to fall off the sharp edge of the parking lot and onto the tracks. I didn’t just have the feeling…I told my Mom what I was so sure I knew was going to happen. She didn’t say anything as far as I recall, but she listened and still remembers that night and my prediction.

So when the next car came crawling in we watched it carefully. It was a small passenger car. And, as I’m sure you already suspect, it slid off the parking lot surface and hung over the edge onto the tracks. Exactly as I had predicted. There was a moment of excited panic across the lot as some folks rushed over to the stranded vehicle. The train was already late so it could arrive at anytime with its loud horn and slow rumble. But the night was still silent, and the car was light enough to be lifted to safety by the group of burly Vermonters. And all was well.

I can rationalize this “premonition” as just being a logical fear due to the narrow driving lane between the parked cars and the tracks and the dim light of the night. But, I’m inclined to think I saw the future. Why not? It makes for a cooler story.


Hope you enjoyed that little true story.

Unrelated, but in the spirit of “mysterious”, here is a bonus illustrated poem.

“The Poetess” – originally published in Monty’ Very Short Shorts

Be well,

Monty


Saving Private Gill (a Captain Jack Adventure)

Originally posted on 3 January 2022 on Monty’s Scribbles

Yesterday, my friend Captain Jack and I saved a life. True story. Here’s how it went down.


Captain Jack, or more informally Jack, is my rescue puppy. He arrived outside of our home about four months ago. He needed a home. We didn’t know it at the time, but we needed a captain. So we took him in. He was about two months old according to the vet, so that would make him about six months old now. Still a pup.

Jack usually hangs out with me so when he went missing for a little while in the house I got curious. He came prancing around the corner when I called and looked at me. But then he pranced away again. Strange. I decided to investigate.

I found him in the back corner of our sun veranda. The corner where the laundry sits. He was nudging something on the floor with his nose. I leaned over and was very confused to see a fish on the floor. It didn’t seem to be moving, but it looked wet (i.e. not a dried fish snack or something). Then it moved!

Suspending my disbelief about finding a live fish randomly in the house, I jumped into gear and got it into a big bowl of water as fast as I could. It didn’t swim but it moved it’s gills a bit. The fish was about 5 inches long. Darkish grey/green. With a wide mouth. Kinda like the fish that often comes in a bowl of soup, but a baby. While it was located near the kitchen it didn’t make sense that we would have a baby fish for soup. And how the heck did it get into the laundry area?

For a moment I thought Jack might have “borrowed” the fish from our outside fish pond. While it was a logical thought, I feel guilty for ever thinking Jack was a potential murderer. And this fish didn’t look like any of the fish in our pond so even the logic didn’t quite add up. The truth is Jack might have saved the life of this fish! Shame on me for thinking otherwise. But then again, the fish didn’t look like it was doing so well. Perhaps we failed it?

Giving the fish a little time to gather it’s powers back (or float) I went in search for answers. I woke up my wife and explained the situation. She was confused as well at first, but then she asked me more details. Exactly where did Jack find this fish? What does it look like? She was a real detective grilling me for all the facts. That’s when it all clicked into place.

Turns out my brother-in-law started raising this fish at our place when he was house (and dog) sitting during our US trip. It had been outside, but he brought it into the house due to the cold weather.  Into our laundry room area. Right where Jack found him! Except on the floor. Apparently it made a jump for it. Poor guy/gal.

I went back to check on the fish. It was still slightly moving but it didn’t look promising. I found the bowl that had been his home (for some reason I’d never noticed it before) and poured him back in. Perhaps he would survive, but I didn’t have much hope.

A bit later I checked on him. He was gone! I searched the floor and thought he had jumped again but nothing. Then “swish!”. It had been hiding below the greenery in his bowl. He was alive!

That’s the (true) fish story and any fish that makes it into a story deserves a name. Meet Private Gill.

Be well Private Gill and keep being a hero Captain Jack.

Monty