...Moving Along the Tracks Part 2... The Quit Smoking Express by Carole Anzolletti

Ghost Train

His disgust with the world peeled off into his life like the skin of a tired orange, tasteless and dry. There was no use trying to keep keeping on. Too much work, it was too hard to be in control. There was no one, no reason for him to stay on the track of wanting to be better.

So he quit quitting.

Ghosts and phantoms of the past clammored now around him. They had won again. Lets take him away from this place. There is too much sun, too much hope, too much pain. Forget about being good or healthy or happy. It's not for you, you don't deserve it. YOU SUCK.

He believed it and was relieved that he could just fade away, discomfort now alienated by his own determination to forget all about having to try too hard. He would just go on blaming it all on his lot in life. The cards dealt to him could not be reshuffled. Nor did he care to ask the Dealer to do so. It was all so tragically avoidable.

"Let me off." He said it out loud and the car screeched to a halt instantly. The conductor came storming in blasting the whole car in cold gray smoke. "Oh, you. You want to get outta here? Go, then. See ya around." He felt sick, nauseous as he was suddenly standing on a cold railway no train in sight. Phantom Ghost Train was now gone.

He turned and started walking back to his small city and watched as gray smoke plumed into the slate blue sky above where he lived. Back to all this again. No one even knew he had left. It was okay, he was used to not being missed.

He returned home, key still waiting in the mailbox. No one ever had to know that he had wanted to give up. Not even him.

The sky darkened and pewter drops of rain began to fall perfectly ending the miserable day.




Heartsick

Time went by quicker now that he wasn't trying to change for the better. His dreams were haunted with freedom and the green grass of the other side of the fence. He would stay there staring the planks of wood and then roll over to go back to Sleep.

The sinking feeling of being left behind by the Train was beginning to affect his heart. It felt so black and heavy, so tired, beating slower and slower until it ceased.

He rose up out of his body. He looked down at himself and couldn't stop rising up, now leaving his home involuntarily. He reached his arms out, trying to stop himself like a rogue vampire new at the job of being undead.

He slid through the ceiling and passed through the people who lived above him, kept going until he was in the sky above his home. There were no more ceilings here and he was passing quickly into the atmosphere. All reason and logic dissolved and fell like rain to the earth below burning holes in the earth. He had been poisoned for so long that nothing much was left behind besides the tarry black drips of himself.

He finally met the edge of the Horizon of his life where everyone and everything he had ever known stood there along it in a shadowed time line. He stood at the head of the line and started with the last person he had been with. They recalled their conversation perfectly, intimately and specifically. They repeated everything and saw between the lines. He saw his own judgements and opinions laced into his words, thoughts and conclusions. He concluded that it was a mistake to leave the Train because he would have been still sleeping soundly in his bed with the dirty sheets.

He couldn't escape this now. He stubbornly refused to stay on the Ride no matter what it may mean now. It was too late. He was heartsick for his shallow life.



The Phantom Queen

He went on going through all the people of his life and reliving the last conversations of each of them. He began to see patterns of pity, arrogance and ego that made him stagger. He began to see how he made a lot of things worse by being ignorant and stubborn. The smoke screen was not here now to shield him and make him impenetrable.

She rose up from behind the line of people and things that were once important to him. She took his hand and lead him to the back of the line, to the beginning of his life and showed him the core things that had caused him so much pain and anguish as he grew into the loathing creature that left the Train. She told him it was alright now, see where the mistakes were made. It was not too late if he wanted to get back on the Ride. It was not too late if he had the courage to Board it again but this would be the last chance. This was his way back on it. Did he want to go forward or did he want to be born once again?

He knew that he did not want to live his childhood over again. He thought that he could overcome the discomfort, the petty distraction of an addiction that he had started on his own and could end on his own. It was time for Her to summon the Train then, and She would see him off into the silver horizon of transformation.

The skyline started to glow white and silver as rails appeared through the dim starlight. "This is your choice and the best one. The opportunity does not last eternally." She nodded as the Train pulled up.

The conductor stuck his head out, nodded to Her in deep respect. She watched as Her passenger boarded into a quiet corner of a warm car and waved to Her, grateful for the chance to begin again.



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