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"Zephyr"

(Written in May 2009 © Kirsi Salonen)

 

I want to tell a bedtime story. Don't know exactly why but what I've seen is that there's way too few of them being passed on in these days. Maybe people are just too busy thinking about stories to tell.. books are different things, not to mention games, movies and music etc. But bedtime stories are a rarity except with infants who can't really get them anyway *wink*

Ok, here it goes.



Once there was a young mother, who had a small boy named Zephyr. The boy had a very strange habit of speaking his mind in any occasion and place he went. The mother called it "an illness that had no cure", so people learned to tolerate the boy when he cursed out loud or said a mean comment about someone on a street.
One lady he called "two-legged ratface", then he laughed to a drunkard on a bench and then he shouted "porkyass!" to a police officer who had trouble fitting into his car.
His mother had lost all her friends because of his son, but she always just shrugged and told the same story over again to people. She never apologised on his boys behalf.

After two years, Zephyr's mother got really sick. He had no-one else taking care of him, since nobody wanted him around telling them how horrible, stupid and ugly people they were.
She couldn't beat her illness.. As her last dying wish she said to him gently and stroked her sons uncombed hair: "Always be true to yourself.. the world will always love you. Just be brave my son.. people just don't see you yet as I do. Stay brave and live a full life."

Then she died.

Zephyr cried two days beside his mother's bed, refusing to believe she'd never be coming back. After this time he had to leave the house for food. His hair was messy and dirty, he was thin as a stick, but his legs carried to the borders of the city. For the first time he didn't want to mock anyone while walking.
The 11-year-old boy found a deserted trainwagon wreckage beside an old track yard and peeked inside.

"Hello my boy. Are you lost?" voice said behind him.

He screamed and turned around, but saw no one.

"Please. Go ahead and look inside."


He was frightened of the mysterious voice, which sounded metallic and hollow and coming from nowhere and still just beside his ear. But he complied and climbed in the wagon.

"You're the one we've been waiting for. You get to ride in His train, child."

Zephyr only replied: "This is a bad train..it's dead. I'm hungry. Give me food.. I'm tired.. need fixing, like this train."

"No need for fixing. You need a wish."

"What kind of a wish?"

"Wish a way to go to happiness."

"But I don't know who you are. Can't even see you. Maybe you're not even real!"

"You don't know it if you don't try it."

Zephyr concentrated as hard as he could and closed his eyes.
Nothing happened. Silence surrounded him. Dusty seats greeted him with their muteness and empty sadness. He tried again. And again.. and one more time.
He tried until he was so exhausted and weak from hunger, thirst and overcoming cold that he curdled up on the floor and fell asleep.

"Wake up my boy. You did it."

Zephyr opened his eyes. He felt the floor trembling and growling like a huge beast under him. He looked around and saw that all the seats were brand new and clean, the walls were decorated with brass garnishments and windows had purple velvet curtains.
Then he looked behind him and saw someone seated at the backside of the wagon.

"We're going to meet the Train's Heart now. Are you ready?"

"Were you the one I talked with?"

"No.. I'm just the Conductor", said the man, who stood up in his strange long white jacket. He wore a hat that covered most of his face in shade.

"Come on. Your sleep is over."

Zephyr followed with caution. He soon noticed that all his hunger was gone. He didn't even miss his mother anymore. He looked out of the window and saw only mist and blurryness, but clearly the train speeded faster than he could ever imagine anything could go that fast.
The conductor opened the Engine Room's door and guided Zephyr inside.

"Greetings my son. Thank you for meeting me again", said the huge black Engine.

"Again? So you were the one.. This is crazy.You are a train!" he said right back.

"Indeed I am. I can take you where ever you want to go, as a reward for your kindness to me."

"I'm not kind.. I'm mean and alone. Nobody wants me around. I hate them all. I'm sick! Mommy says I'm sick."

"You are not sick, Zephyr. You are just being you in all your colours and emotions and thoughts. It's something people are afraid of. They are afraid to say things they think about. That is also why I was abandoned and forgotten to that yard. I was responsible for the deaths of 247 people. So they tossed me aside and built a new one, so they'd forget."

"Mom! Moooom! This train is going to kill me!" Zephyr cried out loud and quickly ran out of the room.

 

As soon as he stepped out of the doorway, his foot slipped into nothingness! Just in the nick of time he managed to grab a ledge before falling off the train. They were miles high above the ground, flying inside a thick layer of clouds!
Strong hands grabbed Zephyr and lifted him back in. Smiling face looked at him under the big hat.

"You can always just jump out. It's different than falling, you know."

Boy looked at the Conductor in shock and disbelief.

"Jump out. Then you're free from the Train."

To his own surprise Zephyr gathered all his courage, remembering his mothers words: "Be brave and live a full life".

Then he jumped out.

 

Sun was just about to rise from the East and sent its shining rays on his face as he soared against the blue sky. Soon he didn't remember what he had been before. He didn't remember his name anymore, his home, the train.. his heart was light as air, his mind pure as clear water.
He made a sharp squeal and kept on flying until his claws latched onto a small rodent running scared on a golden wheatfield.



End.

 

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Hope you enjoyed this small tale. More added later :)

all texts © Kirsi Salonen 2000-2010