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May 12, 2011

Photo by Missy Lynn Photography
The whistle called across the winter air. Sarah jumped from the porch and took off through the back field, kicking up snow as she went, and got to the tracks just ahead of the train. She inched closer until the cars blurred into flashes of dark metal and the snow covered field beyond, flickering by too fast to recognize.

Her head swam. Her hair swirled across her face. She hovered at the edge of the train’s gravity, feeling the pull on her body. Just one more step and it would take her. She’d be gone like the wind rushing across the plains, headed anywhere but here. Adrenaline spiked in her veins. Her mind raced with possibilities. New town. New people. New Sarah.

But her feet held firm. They always did.

The last car whipped by, sucking the breath from her lungs. She stumbled forward nearly falling to the tracks as she watched the tail of the train disappear. One day she’d find the courage. One day she’d be gone like the train, racing down her own track. And never looking back.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2011 12:36 PM

    I love it!! Wonderful short story!!

  2. May 12, 2011 1:11 PM

    A nice addition and one that gives the reader chance to reflect on their own thoughts.

  3. May 12, 2011 2:48 PM

    I genuinely envy you for your ability to say so much in so few words. Simply stunning.

  4. May 12, 2011 2:56 PM


    Wonderful emotion you evoked there. I’m currently working on getting the courage together to move across the country, so it hit a little bit there.


  5. May 12, 2011 3:22 PM

    I love this one! That feeling of possibility and adventure held back by something not quite defined. Fear? Security? Family? So much to think about in this one. And feelings we’ve all experienced at some point.

    Great job, Danni!

  6. May 12, 2011 3:26 PM

    Nice one, Danni – I thought at first she was going to leap in front of the train, not on it. Beautiful imagery “she hovered at the edge of the train’s gravity” and “sucking the breath from her lungs.” Lovely.

  7. laradunning permalink
    May 12, 2011 3:45 PM

    I like this. I had a train just down the street from where I lived and as a teen I romatized about jumping on and heading to the great unknown. You’ve captured that well here.

  8. May 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    very tight–not a word wasted. like the short story form of haiku. just beautifully done. (and yes, she needs to go…become a part of the blur. I think she will one day)

  9. Dana McEntee permalink
    May 12, 2011 4:46 PM

    I want to be on that train! Excellent job. 🙂

  10. May 12, 2011 4:56 PM

    Excellent short story! It feels like the potential energy of a boulder about to be pushed downhill. I’m left asking, will she ever leave, or is she just telling herself she will to make herself feel better. This is the type of short story that I’d love to see fleshed out into a novel. Good work! 😀

  11. May 12, 2011 5:12 PM

    Wonderful! Really tight short story, you are barely aware you are reading.

  12. May 12, 2011 5:27 PM

    One day she’d buy a ticket!


    I could hear the cars going by reading this one. Silly conductor or not, I enjoyed it.

  13. May 12, 2011 5:50 PM

    Well done as always! Change can be good on so many levels, but can be so scary.

    “But her feet held firm. They always did.”

    I loved that. I lived that for a long time. She needs a knapsack and to jump on next time. 🙂

  14. May 12, 2011 6:11 PM

    Loved it! The writing created for me a wonderful image, I could almost feel the girl’s desire, yet the fear of the unknown still held her, tied her to a life she wanted to leave.

  15. May 12, 2011 7:15 PM

    Good one Danni, lots of emotion shown, with almost none told. Lovely.

  16. Joshua Londero permalink
    May 12, 2011 8:35 PM

    You reminded me of when I used to have to wait for the train to pass while walking to school.
    Very well written, as usual.

  17. May 13, 2011 7:04 AM

    Amazing. I love this story. You are so talented. x

  18. May 13, 2011 7:12 AM

    So brief, yet so poignant. Very nicely done, you just put us right into the intense emotion of the moment in this one.

  19. May 13, 2011 8:49 AM

    A great story Danni.
    For one brief moment I thought she was going to take that step in front of the train. By the end I was with her hoping that she would find the courage to leave, “racing down her own track.”
    As others have commented a great use of so few words, so wonderfully crafted.

  20. May 13, 2011 9:02 AM

    Great short, Danni!

  21. ibc4 permalink
    May 13, 2011 9:06 AM

    Impressively succinct.

  22. May 13, 2011 9:11 AM

    Okay, but, on top of everything else, I was feeling and fearing for her safety being so close to a moving train. Unless she was already a ghost, or the “New Sarah” line was meant in the Philip Jose Farmer “Riverworld” sense. lol Dang, okay, sorry, need more sleep. Great short-short!!!

  23. May 13, 2011 3:39 PM

    That is one great imagery, Dani. I could feel the wind on my face. Well done!

  24. May 13, 2011 5:02 PM

    Sigh…week complete now. 🙂 Love the pic, and loved the story. It simply a fresh breath to read your flash pieces.

  25. May 13, 2011 7:11 PM

    Thank you all for stopping by and commenting! You have no idea how much I appreciate your support.

  26. May 13, 2011 11:31 PM

    I felt the train zipping by. Well done.

  27. FARfetched permalink
    May 14, 2011 8:45 AM

    Wow, this was scary and exhilarating, all at the same time. How old is Sarah, anyway? I keep wanting to think she’s 8 or 9 but maybe she’s a teen with the teen-angst issues…

  28. May 15, 2011 6:01 PM

    The call of…elsewhere. Beautifully captured here, Danni. The pull is too strong for Sarah not to follow that call.

    Excellent short-short.

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