I Gotta Ticket To Ride

Wednesday again and time for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word piece of fiction based on the weekly changing photo prompt. Get yourself over and join in the fun, go on I dare you.


Original Photo : Jennifer Pendergast

The sun was at its lowest and a trail of burning orange was dancing across the mountain tops. I knew the train was coming. I heard it pick up speed, from a rattle to a rumble and I smelt its coal fired belly, though I couldn’t see the steam.

Papa used to say “Every soul has a ticket for the death train”. Papa said a lot of things. He said never talk to strangers or never leave the trail. I wish I’d listened to Papa.

Because now there’s blood on my dress, dirt in my mouth and a train ticket in my pocket.

35 thoughts on “I Gotta Ticket To Ride

    • sometimes wondering is good, sometimes not so good 😉 my thought process was the train was death, and only the dead could see it, the girl had been killed and had a ticket for the death train in her pocket. That’s where I was intending it to go anyway. I’ve amended it slightly so it might be a little clearer 🙂

  1. I must have read too fast the first time. Now that I re-read “He said never talk to strangers or never leave the trail. I wish I’d listened to Papa,” I get it. Well done.

  2. So well written. Love the way you told the story. My heart sunk when I read “Every soul has a ticket for the death train”. I agree with David. This is a masterpiece.

  3. Good story Helen, and I do have really good friends – but best of all – my twin sister Ann. We don’t look alike but sound alike and married in a double wedding – I have 4 kids – she has 2 all boys. She has 6 grandchildren – I have 14. They do keep us busy – oh yes, I love your story! Nan 🙂

  4. The connection came unexpected, up to the line with the death train I expected a ‘going away’ story. Going away forever, indeed. This was great, and, as others have said, masterfully done.

  5. Lovely analogy, and nice way of putting her thoughts as the train is approaching. Makes me wonder what happened to get her there, and definitely feels like you could tell a whole lot more of this story.

  6. LOVE the rhythm in your third sentence… “…pick up speed, from a rattle to a rumble….” Makes me hear that train coming. Each phrase wants to be spoken more quickly – Beautiful!

  7. Although I didn’t use it, my first idea for this was along the lines of a “death train”. It’s interesting how the photograph seems to elicit the same reaction from so many of those writing about it. With the desolate landscape beyond the train, it has a kind of lonely “last stop” or “end of the line” aura about it.

  8. Dear Helen,

    Oh, God, this is a great story. Mystery, sadness, inevitability and the train picking up speed as it heads her way. Excellent title. Excellent writing.



  9. Ooh. Powerful little fiction.
    Her description of her wishing she had listened to her father’s advice is death knell poetry in juxtaposition to her father’s death train imagery and specific directions.
    Wow. it was great.

  10. Nicely built up and a well written story!
    I too have also heard people reference a train when discussing death.

  11. Helen, you are one of my favorite story tellers, for so many reasons… but, it is this: the clean, beautiful story telling and the ethereal touch here, that makes this story brilliant and heart breaking! LOVE it.

    Sorry I’m so late… I’ve had a lot on my plate. Glad I read this one; it’s hauntingly beautiful!

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