Hello Literary Lovelies!
We meet again for our regularly scheduled Writing Prompt Wednesday! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. This one definitely felt like a story I might be compelled to continue on. I look forward to your thoughts in the comments below!
“I don’t understand.” Escapes my lips as I look into the booth.
“Anywhere you would like to go. What’s so hard about that?” Comes from the bemused lips lined with a pencil just a shade darker than the lipstick.
“It doesn’t make sense for one thing. Do you expect me to say something like Hogwarts and suddenly the Hogwarts Express is going to just come down those tracks like magic?” The words almost spit from my lips.
Hers spread into a comical twist, “Is that where you want to go?” Talon like fingers move toward her keyboard.
I watched as those nails arch deceptively towards the keys. “Wait!” I reach my hand out as if to stop her, but only manage to smack them against the bars between us. “When you say anywhere, you really mean anywhere?”
“Anywhere!” She motions expansively between us as if to showcase the horizon.
“What if it’s a place I made up myself?” The question barely manages to sneak through my lips.
“Does it have a name?” The excitement in her voice is palpable.
“It’s called…” I have never uttered its name to a living soul. “… Conlamora.”
Her fingers play the keyboard like a pianist. “One ticket to Conlamora coming right up.”
I watch as a ticket prints to a place I have only imagined and as she rips it from the printer panic washes over me, “I still don’t understand.”
“You will when you get there!” She sing-songs as she slides the ticket beneath the bars of what appears to me now like a gilded cage. I take the ticket and step away from the booth, but before I get too far she calls to me, “And if you change your mind about where you want to go, just let Frank know!”
I am stunned. I nod in reply without really hearing her and find my feet carrying me towards the platform as if they have understood all along and it’s just my brain that can’t keep up.
I arrive to a platform that looks like any other, just waiting for the bird offering freedom to jump out from her cage and tell me it was all a misunderstanding, a big joke. Nothing happens.
I hear a whistle and watch as a train pulls along the tracks; a train like any other. I don’t know if I was expecting a mode of transportation a bit more magical or a train slightly out of the ordinary, but it is just a ordinary train. It stops with a hiss before me and a man with a funny hat and a curled moustache steps out.
“Ticket, miss.” My hand shakes as I offer it to him. His pressed gloves adorned with three golden buttons grasp it and he lifts it to a monocle I hadn’t noticed before. “Conlamara. I hear it’s beautiful this time of year,” He winks at me. “It is beautiful isn’t it?”
After a moment my words find me, “It is.” There is a pride in my voice I can’t remember hearing before.
He smiles and punches the ticket, but pauses before he hands it back to me. “There’s a girl about your age in the next cabin. It might be nice to have someone to chat to along the way.”
“Is it a long journey?” I can’t help but wonder now after his companion suggestion.
“For you… no.” His pause before ‘no’ is followed by the tiniest of sighs and a decreased twinkle in his monocle clad eye.
The question is out of me before I realize it might not be my place to ask, “Where is she going?”
His eyes sweep around the platform before he leans slightly closer and whispers, “Her destination is… unknown.”
“How is that possible?” I am taken aback. I could almost hear my Aunt saying I was being inquisitive where as my Mother would say I was being nosey.
Before he could answer the train horn whistles impatiently. He snaps open a pocket watch with the deftness ingrained only from repetition. “We have dallied too long. Now up you go.” He closes the watch as he releases my ticket, then steps to the left and offers me his hand.
My fingers feel the crushed velvet of his golden embellished gloves as I take a step onto the train. I pause before I continue, “How can you print a ticket for an unknown destination?”
He appears to chew on this question as he motions me to continue onto the train. I take a few steps as he follows me aboard. As soon as both of his feet are on, the train lurches forward. I do not move. I want the answer before I enter the cabin.
Sensing this he reaches around me, grasps the handle and begins to slide the door open, “Ticket purchases are not my department. Only the traveller decides where they end up.”
I turn to him and the light bounces off the name FRANK engraved on his label, “Even if it’s not their intended destination?”
“Even if…” His words die away with a smile as I step into the cabin.
May the rest of your Wednesday be just what you need to be whether it is swift or savoured.
Postscript: Any ideas on what my next Who Wore it Best Wednesday should be? Have you spotted any beautiful editions recently?