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A Ticket to Ride - You Can Never Return (Writer's Challenge)

Updated on June 18, 2020
For the writer's Challenge
For the writer's Challenge | Source

The Challenge

A writer's challenge was issued by Jennifer Arnett (Availiasvision) in her wonderful hub: "Take Me Somewhere: A Writer's Challenge."

The Rules

Write a short story with the above picture as your prompt and the line "You can never return"

Use the picture above as the cover image, so that we can all identify stories that are part of the challenge.

Submit your story by Nov. 15th.

Have fun!

Use the poll to vote on your favorite story

The Man Who Never Returned

My Story

Melinda’s young son Richard had attended a special needs class in a mainstream school from the age of three by the age of six he was accepted in a residential school, recommended by the mainstream school. He lived in a dorm with six other boys. The day that Melinda and Richard visited the school to check it out, Richard wanted to stay, but he would have to wait until September for the next school season.


Greyhound to Chicago

It was a long drive for Melinda, over 200 miles, she would have to leave work early and was fortunate to work for a company that was very understanding and allowed her the time monthly to drive and pick up her son for the weekends

Holidays were a different thing all together, to get paid for holidays employees had to work the day before and the day after. When she found out that the greyhound bus company provided transportation monthly and for holidays to drop-off spots near where she lived, she was happy and the first few times things went smoothly the children were dropped off at Holiday-Inns.


Twas the day before Thanksgiving

It was the day before Thanksgiving and Melinda was told that the drop point for Richard would be the Greyhound station in downtown Chicago, next to Chicago’s Union Station (train station).


The temperature is dropping

Leaving for work that Wednesday morning it was surprisingly warm, not at all what was predicted. Melinda heard on the radio that two to three inches of snow was expected and the temperature by nightfall would drop below freezing.

This warm morning was a pleasant surprise she thought, as she opened the front door and exchanged pleasantries with the security guard and personnel manager who asked her if she would fill in for the receptionist who was running late.

When the receptionist arrived she told Melinda that the temperature had dropped ten degrees from when she left for work and it was beginning to snow. By noon the temperature had dropped another ten degrees and the snow had turned to sleet.

The treacherous drive

Melinda was worried about the bus driving in the sleet, and the company sent everyone home early. As she opened the door it was like walking into a freezer and she was glad she had worn her warm down coat and scarf to take a breath was like a gulp of ice water without the water.

The drive was treacherous, cars were sliding into each other like bumper cars, Melinda gripped the steering wheel so tight her knuckles were white and at every stop light looked at her watch. She is only a few blocks away and already she is fifteen minutes late, almost in panic mode she finds a parking spot for the terminal and crosses over Harrison Street by a cross over and enters the terminal.

Source

As the bus arrives at the terminal

The man watched as the children piled out of the bus and parents hurried their children away, and the empty bus pulled out of the station, he noticed the little boy sitting on a suitcase.

The man wonders, where are his parents? Why did the bus pull away and leave him here alone?


No bus in sight and where was Richard?

Melinda sees an employee who directs her to an information station, where the attendant told her the bus from Illinois School for the Deaf was here over half an hour ago. Now Melinda is in panic mode. Where is my son? How could they leave? What did they do with him? How can I call them?

Melinda begins to walk around and around, and looking everywhere on every bench. What if she can’t find him?

The only way a person can know how this feels is if this happens to them.

Why does he feel such grief?

The man felt such grief, almost as if he were the one left all alone in a lonely cold bus station full of people who hurried past without stopping to ask are you waiting for someone. Are you lost? Maybe he thought of his own child who was lost and alone, he could not remember, he could not even remember his own name.

What the man did remember was that he had a train ticket, but this was a bus station. He decided this must be fate. How he would love to have a son like the little boy and decided to go back and talk to him.

I knew you would be here!

As the man was approaching the little boy, he suddenly stood up and cried out MOM, as Melinda ran to hug Richard she signed “I am sorry I am late.” Richard signed back, “It is okay, I knew you would be here”. As Melinda and Richard were leaving the terminal, the man felt as if he were losing his own family again.


Where is Union Station

Did he have a family? Was he remembering that feeling? Or did he have a family at the end of the train ride that he held a ticket for. And he hurried to the information counter to ask where is Union Station? And showed the attendant his ticket. You better hurry if you want to catch that train as he gave his directions.



Main Hall at Chicago's Union Station
Main Hall at Chicago's Union Station | Source

Union Station

The man arrived at Union Station on time, somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered this great hall so peaceful and grand with the bubbling fountain by the ticket counter that drowned out the noise of the crowd.

The engineer called out ‘all aboard’ and he boarded the train. The man felt at peace and closed his eyes as he sat down. Suddenly he heard the sound of music and remembered a song he heard long ago about a man on a train, and began to sing the words:

Hearing music

“Let me tell you the story of a man named Charlie

On a dark and fateful day

He put ten cents in his pocket and he kissed his loving family

And he went to ride the MTA

Did he ever return? No, he never returned

And his fate is still unlearned

He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston’

You can never return.”

Boston?

Boston? You can never return? With that his eyes popped open. As his spirit left him and he looked down on the man in the seat that was himself and heard the porter say, this man has passed away

…..as the song played on..........

“Charlie looked around and sighed

‘Well, I’m sore and disgusted and I’m absolutely busted

I guess this is my last long ride.’”

© 2014 Shyron E Shenko

Comments

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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      7 weeks ago from North Texas

      I fear that this country will never be able to return to the position of respect it enjoyed for decades around the world. I've read that in addition to offending every other leader in the world and no longer taking part in decisions made by other countries that we will soon have no more importance or input to major decisions on anything. We will be at the mercy of whatever other people decide and it won't always be to our liking.

      It took decades to earn all that regard, but it is all but gone now. Trump and his ignorance are now the face of America. To be sure, if the respect and high regard now lost can ever be rebuilt, it won't be in yours or my lifetimes.

      We will never be able to back to the lives we once had, not even the good parts. Not because of the Coronavirus, but because of an imbecile named Donald J. Trump.

      Posting this on FB & AH.

      Blessings, dear friend. Stay well.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      14 months ago from North Texas

      An excellent story and I hope anyone who hasn't read it will do so. I think they will enjoy it as much as I and your other commenters here have done.

      Hope all is well with you. Take care dear friend . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you so much for the comment and sharing on AH and FB.

      1986 was the last time I went back home where I was born, and that was because my Grandmother (Mamaw) had expired.

      I hardly ever post anything to AH anymore, it has become so difficult and forget about Pinterest.

      Hope all is well with you my dear friend.

      Blessings and hugs.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 years ago from North Texas

      I recall that back in 1995 I went back to the place where I grew up and it was so completely different I would never have recognized it if I hadn't known that was the place. It had been 20 or more years, and even the garden my mother worked so hard in trying to remove weeds and quackgrass (known in some places as couch grass) had grown up to be a forest! And with some very large, tall trees! I still can't believe it.

      Note from a former comment that I tried to post this to Awesome HubPages and failed, so I'll try again today. Also, posting to FB.

      Whoever put that icon for Pinterest on this page didn't do it right. Clicking on it only takes me to my Pinterest account AFTER I enter my email and password and then it's only the main page where I can't save it to AH. There are so many sloppy programers anymore, not only on this site.

      Hope y'all are having a good day. Blessings dear friend . . .

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      You're welcome.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Robert, thank you again for the comment.

      Blessings always

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      You're welcome. It seems every classic CW singer has a version of The Wreck of Old 97.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Robert, thank you for the comment. I knew the song the wreck of old 97, but had forgotten that until you said it. Thank you.

      Blessings.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      An interesting story with a supernatural twist. You probably know the tune for The Man Who Never Returned is from the song The Wreck of Old 97, which is a song about an actual train crash. Thank you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comment and compliment also for sharing. The song video was and is there "The Man Who Never Returned" I was just there. I don't know why you see white space, but thank you for the information.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      Thought I'd let you know right under the words: The Man Who Never Returned there is a huge white space where I think something used to be.

      A great story and I'm sharing it again. Take care . . .

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      An interesting story. Came back to share it again. Also voted up.

      Currently 104.3 and rising. Hope you are both being good and staying inside in the cool. Making yourselves sick or worse won't get anything worthwhile done. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Audrey, so happy to see you. Thank you for the comment.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

      I enjoyed this--well written!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Kevin, thank you for your comment. Yes he was/is okay. No I did not ear too much.*/:-)

      Blessings dear friend.

      Shyron

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Wow, Shyron, my wishes to his luck in overcoming it.

      Your friend,

      Kevin

      P.S. - I hope that you did not eat too much yesterday. :-)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Kevin, thank you for the comment up votes, sharing and pinning. I appreciate you. The story of my son being left at the Greyhound station is true.

      Blessings and hugs my friend.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      That was really moving Shyron. I thought that it was about boy and his mother, but then you shifted on us twice. First the woman picked up her son and they disappeared, then the man took the train and it turned out that he was never alive to begin with. I voted it up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Suzette, thank you for the compliment and comment, I really appreciate you.

      Blessings

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comments, up-votes, and sharing.

      Take care and God Bless and keep you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Devika, thank you for the compliment, comment, vote-up and for sharing.

      You are appreciated dear friend.

      Blessings.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Faith, thank you dear friend for the compliments, up-votes, pinning and sharing.

      Blessings to you dear friend

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Ruby, thank you so very much for the compliment and comment.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Bill, thank you for your comments, I am so thrilled that you were captivated.

      Thank you dear friend

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Shauna, thank you for your comments. Yes the man is looking down on his own body. Where that came from was a friend who almost drowns. He told me that he was suspended above the pool and watched as he was pulled out of the water and given CPR and he suddenly popped back into his body and he was okay.

      Will someone be waiting for him at his ticket’s destination? Where was he from and where was he going? Do you want to continue a short story by creating the mystery of why he could not remember and create a family to bury him or allow him to be buried in a potter’s grave? Was he a writer/waiter/doctor/lawyer?

      Blessings dear friend.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great story you have written here. So very interesting and the ending is a surprise. Another wonderful addition to the challenge.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      Interesting how people's lives intertwine if only for a minute or two or less. You just never know how what you say and do will affect other people. Even other people you may not realize are paying attention and being affected. There is no telling how far the ripples of our actions will go.

      Voted up and interesting. Tried to pin to AH twice, but it wouldn't let me. Shared on HP.

      Hope all is well there. Take care and God bless . . .

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      So beautifully thought of. To sum it up your story is extraordinary! Voted up, and shared.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Shyron, what a fantastic tale you have written here. Wow ... it kept me on the edge of my seat. What an ending too. Bravo! You are a great creative short story writer no doubt about it.

      I believe you have met the challenge and then some.

      Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      God bless

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Shyron, this is an intriguing story with a surprise twist . The poor old man will never return, sad...Well done my friend

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Recipe for success with me....put a Beatles' song as the title, show amazing creativity, and tell a story that captivates me.....and we have this hub. :)

      Well done, but that's what I expect from you.

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      How sad. Is he looking down on himself in the train seat? Will someone be at the other end of the line to claim the body?

    • Shyron E Shenko profile imageAUTHOR

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Jodah, for the comments and the up votes. I really appreciate you.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Another unique story take on the photo Shyron. Very enjoyable read.V+

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