The Train Ride

         Kimberly sat in her seat and stared out the window, watching the snow-covered evergreen trees pass by.  Big, fluffy snowflakes fell from the sky, landing gently on the ground.  The click-clack of the railroad ties created a hypnotic trance, making it easy for Kimberly to daydream.  She did that a lot.  It was the only way she could escape.

         “Kimberly dear, your hot chocolate is getting cold,” said her mother, interrupting her play

         Kimberly picked up the hot chocolate and took a sip.  There used to be a time when hot chocolate tasted so sweet and chocolatey, but not anymore.  Now, it didn’t taste like anything.  To Kimberly, there was no taste, no smell, no feelings…only numbness.

         “How much longer until we get to grandma’s house?” Kimberly asked her mother.

         “Several hours dear” her mother replied.  “If you’re bored, you can color in your coloring book.” 

        Elizabeth looked at her daughter with caring eyes.  She knew how hard Kimberly was taking this.  She could see the pain behind her daughter’s deep, blue, innocent eyes, and could sense the distance between them.  Kimberly blamed her mother for everything, but it was her father that tore the family apart.

        Kimberly turned and looked back out the window, falling back into her trance, running away from this vile place.  The snow started to lighten up a little, making it easier to see everything outside.  She kept watching all the trees pass by when she noticed something strangeWhat was that?  She kept staring at the tree, trying to figure out what was peeking out from the snow-covered branches, but it quickly faded out of sight.

        She kept staring out at the trees, when it popped up again, and then another and another.  Chubby little green faces with big round eyes and large noses started popping out from the tree branches with happy smiles stretched across their faces.  At first, there were just a few, and then there were hundreds of them. 

        I must be seeing things.  Kimberly rubbed her eyes to make sure they were working properly, then looked back out the window.  They were still there.

        “Mom!”

        “What is it dear?”

        “Look out the window!”

        Elizabeth turned her head to look at the window and everything went black.  The train had just entered a tunnel that bore through the side of the mountain.  Soft lighting from up above shown down on their faces.

        “What was it, Kimberly?  What did you see?”

        Kimberly sat there wondering if she should say anything or just wait until they exited the tunnel.  Her mother was already worried about her and she didn’t want to bother her any more than she already had, so she sat patiently until they reached the end of the tunnel.

        When the train finally escaped the darkness of the tunnel, Kimberly and her mother looked out the window.  Snow-covered evergreens passed by, but no little green men.

        “Oh, nothing,” Kimberly said.

        Elizabeth smiled gently at Kimberly, then turned back to her book.

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