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The 11:17 Express

Unfeeling the frosty January wind that ripped at her face, Jessica raced down the well worn steps that led to the train platform.In her small gloved hand, she clutched a letter and it was tattered at the edges from being read perhaps a thousand times.He was coming!! He would be here on the 11:17 Express from Boston to Lecker Valley. It had said so in his letter!She had met him at the fall fair back in October. He was there with some big industrial farming company that had made a lucid attempt at selling big time equipment to a group of old time farmers who were famous for saying, “They don’t make ’em like they use to!” They had hit if off instantly and fell into a whirlwind romance. “Straight out of a novel!” she’d confided to sister.Her heart fluttered beneath her best cotton blouse when she heard the whistle announcing the arrival of the 11:17 Express.As the passengers disembarked, she skirted through them, her one hand shielding her eyes from the sun in hopes of spotting him first. She’d be able to study him then and the look of surprise on his face when he saw her.Only a few passengers were left standing on the platform now.Where was he?As the conductor yelled “All Aboard!!!!”, she spun around on her heel, thinking he may be behind her, ready to cover her eyes with his hands.Maybe he got off on the other side of the train.Something gnawed away inside her, but she wasn’t sure what it was.When the last car had passed by her, she saw two elderly women exchanging snapshots as they meandered towards the stairs on the other side.No one else.Looking down at her hands, she remembered the letter and she stared down at the frayed slip of paper and then she screamed! A horrible, heart wrenching scream and fainted dead away. The paper fluttered in her unmoving hand and Jessica stopped breathing.The forensics report declared that she had died due to heart failure, not uncommon for women in their late forties.

In the small bag that contained her personal effects there was a letter, frayed around the edges due to being read countless times. The top of the letter bore pictures of various types of farm equipment and was dated several years previous.
It read:

Dear Miss Hopewell,We regret to inform you that your fiancee was tragically killed in a combine accident last week.Regretfully,Ace Farm Equipment.The two snapshot exchanging elderly women from the train station had witnessed Jessica’s demise and had inquired later on at the police station about the condition of the woman who’d collapsed. After learning that she hadn’t lived and hearing that it was “Just a heart attack.” according to the officer, they left and as they continued on down the street, one of them was overheard saying to the other, “I think that poor woman died of a broken heart! They can call it a heart attack all they want!”

“I know” replied her friend.

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“You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus” – Mark Twain

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Comments

  • Zolton
    Zoltonabout 6 years ago

    A sad and sweet tale… love your descriptive writing. Very nice style.

  • Thank you, Zolton. Your comment is a wonderful compliment!

    – deb cole

  • pagan
    paganabout 5 years ago

    I agree with Zolton, your descriptions really guide a reader through this… and such an interesting twist at the end! :-)

  • Thank you so much, Gretchen! This was a spur of the moment story and I’m so glad you liked it!

    – deb cole

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