2019-04-06 14:08 fiction flash-fiction


The train car was sitting on a forgotten extension off the end of the line. He'd found it by accident. One cold, gray day he was hunting rabbits with the old rifle. He wasn't having any luck. He went farther into the forest, farther than he'd ever been. He thought he saw a rabbit bolt over a sparsely wooden hill and he followed it. When he emerged on the other side he saw the train, vines covering one end, on rails which emerged intermittently from ground cover, that curved away off into the woods. He could see the weather-beaten roof from where he was. And yet the windows were unbroken. He could see remains of decorative embellishments on the dark, red lacquered sides. There were accents of gold, and chrome, now tarnished. The wheels were covered in rust. He approached cautiously, although he wasn't quite sure why. The train car was a strange, ancient outgrowth. It was part of the forest now anyway, he thought. But the beauty of it intimidated him. A rabbit darted past, he ignored it. He walked to the back of the car, which had broad, rounded windows, and he grabbed the now dull brass hand rail and pulled himself up to the first step. The door was equally ornate, and finally faded by nature. He grabbed the door handle and turned it, seeing hints of the dimly lit interior through the cloudy window. He stopped short before entering. He had the sensation he was violating a law, but he didn't know which law. The inside of the train car was musty. The long, thin room was lavish, the furniture, the decorations, all were faded but undamaged. He lingered. He felt as if, in some sense, this had been prepared for him—or, at least, it had been carefully placed in order to be seen. He didn't sit down. He looked out the window into the trees. It was a painting to him, a dissection of the essence of the forest presented with specific intention. The silence was hypnotizing. He stopped thinking about who may have left it here, or why it was abandoned. He could feel the oriental rug under his shoes and the hardwood below that. The stained glass lamp made from a thousand hand cut pieces was indelible, the silver fixtures next to it extensions of this interior. It was his. He placed the old rifle, with its clumsy, cracked wooden stock, into the bucket meant for umbrellas. This was his now, and he did not have to leave.