The Train: Final Part.

by | Oct 14, 2023 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

“Your favourite. Cheese scones” the woman said clearly

Ron had an hour to kill in addition to his journey time. He approached the cricket ground and squeezed through a hole in the fence.

Reaching down the key that the grounds keeper had tucked behind the porch light, he let himself in by the back door. Ron entered the small bar area of the Club House. He took a can of coke from the fridge and crouched under the counter. Amongst the tangle of pipes and strong smell of beer, he opened his bag. He unrolled the shorts and handled the exquisite timepiece with its blue face, in contrast to the illuminated hands and numbers; each depicted by a tiny rectangle of luminescence.

Returning to his bag he pulled out the KitKat and snapped it in half before opening it, and removing two sticks. He wrapped the remaining sticks and placed them back in the bag.

Ron pulled the ring on the can and took a swig washing down the first finger of chocolate. It was at that moment the seriousness of the situation hit him. He began to shake uncontrollably as if the temperature had suddenly plummeted.

He pulled his coat tight around himself and shoved his hands in his pockets. Feeling the softness of the velvet, Ron recalled Brett’s words.

“Be sure to give it to your mother and ask her to wear it for me…”

The shaking subsided and he felt strangely calm. He lay back against the bar counter and closed his eyes.

In his dream, he turned around before reaching the level crossing. He saw Brett pull on the cow costume and lie down on the track. The big man curled up to make himself a small as possible and rested his head, complete with cow mask, on the track. It looked like he was tucked up for a good night’s sleep. 

As a loco approached, Ron stepped into the hawthorn. At the moment before impact, the boy observed something streaming from the prone costume like a plume of white smoke. He closed his eyes tight and, as the carriages rattled by, he swore he could hear his friend calling.

It belonged to my own mum. Will you do that for me?”

Ron woke up with a start. Checking the watch he realised he had exactly 10 minutes to get to school. Later that day he let himself into the house . The carer had gone and his dad would be at the club until late. He took the stairs two at a time, and entered his mum’s bedroom.Nothing had changed from the morning other than there was a new cover on the duvet.

“Mum, are you awake?” He whispered, rubbing his right ear. As the feeling began to return and the tingling ceased, it began throbbing and was hot to the touch. “Bastard Morton,” he said under his breath.

“I heard that boy I was just resting my eyes,” the frail figure on the bed uttered.

“Sorry Mum. Mr Morton did it again when we were in the stockroom, it’s my word against his, though.” He climbed onto the bed next to his mother.

“Shoes! Bag! This is a clean cover. If I had the strength I’d box that big bullie’s ears. Don’t tell Dad he’ll put him in the hospital.” The woman pulled her son close, stroking his curly hair. “You need to get this mop cut too.”

“I’ll do it tomorrow I promise, it’s Saturday. Anyway I have something for you, a sort of present.” Ron flicked off his slip-ons and they tumbled to the floor. He took off his coat, held it up and fished the bag from the pocket.

“A present for me? What’s the special occasion? You’re a good boy Ronnie,” the lad’s mother wheezed.

“Actually, it’s not from me, it’s from my, erm,  friend. He said you have to wear it. It belonged to his late mother.” Ron pulled the chain from the bag and held it up. The evening sun filtered through the thin gap in the curtains and found the red jewel, spreading a pink glow around the room.

That looks expensive. Who’s your friend?” Despite her confusion at the presence of the pendant she found herself leaning forward to accept her son’s gift. Ron opened the small clasp at the top of the chain and wrapped the pendant round her thin pale neck. He fastened the clasp and the woman lay back, feeling for the stone at her chest. She fingered it in one skeletal hand and lifted it up to her face, squinting.

“This is expensive. Is that ruby real? It’s so heavy, it must be gold. Oh Ron! What have you been doing?” She let go of the pendant and closed her eyes, her head sinking into the pillow.

Ron noticed a strange peace descend over her normally pained features. He slipped off the bed and picked up his coat and shoes. As he left the room the sun caught something sending a shaft of white across the tiny bundle in the bed. It resembled a collection of dust motes or smoke particles. The tiny specks danced in the stillness of the bedroom. He closed the door quietly and entered his own room.

***

The following day.

Ron opened his eyes later that morning. The smell of baking lifted him from his lie-in. Wait, no one had baked in this house for over a year was he still dreaming? He leapt out of bed, grabbed his dressing gown and slid on his slippers. Stopping at the top of the stairs he noticed his mum’s bedroom, filled with light. The great double bed was neatly made and the net curtains wafted in the morning breeze.

The aroma of melted cheese drifted up from below him, filling his nostrils and erupting his salivary glands. His stomach gurgled, Ron did his usual death-defying descent.

“What have I told you boy? You will break your neck one day!” The voice was his mother’s but not his mothers. The clear crisp diction from another time. He sat down at the kitchen table with an equally bemused father . The man was scratching his head with the blunt end of a small pencil, the newspaper was folded in front of him. He turned to his son and shrugged his shoulders, smiling.

“Your favourite. Cheese scones” the woman said clearly, as she turned to greet the boy. “Still warm, just the way you like them.”

Ron’s mother bent over and pulled another full tray of the orange topped pastries from the oven. Placing the tray on the cooker top, she put down the oven gloves and placed her hand to her chest. Ron noticed the colour of her skin. Skin coloured; not white or grey, but the pinky peachy hue of his own.

“Well, sit down and get them while they’re hot. I’m practising for your birthday.” She clasped the pendant tightly in one hand.

3 Comments

  1. Ken Childs

    The end really ?

    Reply
    • Corinne Jakeman

      Like I said, you an be irritating sometimes, Brian! You will have to write some more!

      Reply
      • brian

        I have an idea in my head. Let’s see.

        Reply

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