Take That Mountain
Sarah stared out the window at that fog-shrouded mountain looming in the distance. She could not look away, clutching her purse even closer until she was almost hugging it for comfort. All she could do was continue to stare as the train carried her ever closer to the towering beast. It rushed at her, mouth open wide. As fast as this train traveled, it was only a matter of minutes before the breathy fog of the beast disappeared as it swallowed the train whole.
Sarah relaxed. For some reason, she felt an odd sense of relief. How strange that a tunnel would be so peaceful. She expected her claustrophobia to kick into overdrive as soon as they entered the tunnel. It was not so. Instead, fatigue suddenly weighted her eyelids. Allowing them to close, she drifted off to sleep remembering days long gone.
Sarah and Chris grew up side by side as neighbors. They were inseparable practically from birth and wherever you found one you were sure to find the other. When they were not together, Sarah spent hours reading. Her favorite series was The Boxcar Children. She liked the adventures the children in the books had as they solved mysteries together. She also liked that the books had just enough adventure to keep Chris interested in listening to her as she read. He hated to read. His mother often told him that if not for Sarah, he would not even know what a book is. She even helped him through many reading assignments in school. So when they stumbled upon the abandoned boxcars on the old forgotten tracks in the woods, they knew that would be their special hangout.
Somehow the two of them managed to bring blankets and pillows, all sorts of things to their hideout a little at a time so that their parents were not aware the children were making themselves a home away from home. No one ever disturbed their secret getaway, except for an occasional animal. They felt safe there, whether they were there together or alone. Over time, their visits there together became less and less as the years saw them through middle school and on into high school, though Sarah never stopped going there to be alone.
One fall day, shortly after high school began, Sarah noticed Chris leaning up against his locker talking to a beautiful cheerleader without a care in the world. An odd sense of jealousy swept through every fiber of her being. Did he know how good he looked, standing there with his soft blond hair and the greenest eyes she had ever seen? He looked up. Oh, that smile. So familiar, yet different this time. Why? Oh, God. Did he know what she was thinking? He read her better than any book she had ever read. It's not fair, she thought. What's wrong with me? It's just Chris. Too late now. He caught her eyes and offered an easy smile. She had no other choice but to return the smile, but she could not bring herself to talk to them. She knew he would know something was not right if she did, and he would not let it go until he found out what it was. Hell, she was not even sure what it was.
The rest of their high school years saw them drifting further apart, though her feelings for him did not change. He was no longer just Chris to her. Sadly, he was also no longer her inseparable friend. Sarah spent many hours alone in that old boxcar, content with doing her homework there and with reading alone while he enjoyed a life of popularity, doing whatever it was that the in-crowd did. She was far different than the kinds of girls Chris liked to date. However, that did not stop her from daydreaming about the day he would suddenly realize the two of them were meant to be together.
The Old Barn
High school finished with the two of them going to the same college, yet remaining friends. Four more long years of dating separate people. Resigned to believe she and Chris were not written in the stars after all, Sarah sat out walking, leaving him behind to chat with the crowd at their joint graduation party. How could the scenery in this small town have changed so much while they were away at college? Sure, there were visits home from time to time and over the summer months, but it felt like years since she had been here. Still, one thing was painfully clear: the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Their parents still saw them as the inseparable duo, and she still had feelings for a man that knew her too well to ever consider her more than a good friend.
Unwilling to face the past, Sarah headed in the opposite direction of their hideaway. The Johnson's moved away over a year ago, she was told, but they left behind a piece of property that was yet to be inhabited. Sarah could not for the life of her understand why. Approaching the farm, she was instantly struck by the beauty of the landscape. An old-fashioned farmhouse stood square in the center of the land. Sprawling land spread out behind it where produce once grew. The barn looked as if it needed a bit of repair. The house probably did, too, but all the fields needed were a little tender loving care to bring them back to life. She pictured acres of corn. Or maybe fields of cattle or horses.
"Sarah!" a voice behind her called.
Startled from her reveries, she spun around to find Chris rushing toward her. Before she could respond, he had her in his arms, his smile landing on her lips with a passion she could not have ever imagined. When he pulled away, she was completely breathless and unable to speak. She did not have to, though. He knew like he had known all along. He still read her like the books she loved. He was such a fool to ignore her all those years. That much she knew. What changed, she suddenly wondered? Could it be he had also noticed she was finally giving up on him? He finally realized what he stood to lose? It did not matter. All that mattered now was the fact he had her by the hand, leading her toward the open barn and she was powerless to refuse.
Cold, somber, and rainy. Sarah hated the weather for helping to set the mood. They did not need any help to feel anger, anguish, and despair today. They just laid the love of her life to rest in the ground. The ground. Without her. Where she would never again see those laughing green eyes or feel the warmth of his loving embrace. She felt robbed. They had only been married a few years. Though the two of them spent a lifetime together thus far, their romance felt as if it had only just begun.
With buckling knees, she sobbed, "No, no, no."
To the ground, she fell. No one tried to stop her or pull her away from the grave. Instead, both sets of parents wrapped her in their love, weeping with her. Someone had sense enough to stand above them holding an umbrella, but it did not matter. She could catch a cold and die too for all she cared.
Damn the drunk driver who passed out at the wheel. The crash awakened the driver, but his drunken stupor relaxed his body enough to be able to get up and walk away with barely a scratch. He could not even feel the nasty gash on his forehead as it gushed blood. He should be dead. He should be locked away from life and those he loves, not Chris. Not her Chris.
Every time she closed her eyes she saw the headlights veering toward them, crossing the solid stripe in the center as if it were a passing zone with no curves ahead and as if he had all the space in the world to pass the car in front of him on the narrow two lane road. She did not even have time to scream. It all happened too fast. The car in front of the drunken man managed to speed up enough to avoid being caught in the collision, but the intoxicated jackass slammed into them full speed ahead. Chris took the brunt of the impact, and if not for the people in that other car, Sarah would likely be resting beside her beloved. Damn them, too.
Back to Living
Months passed before Sarah finally decided it was time to leave her parent's home, though she did not want to. Sarah wanted to hide from the world because life did not feel worth living without him. But she tired of her family's well-intentioned attempts to ease her darkness. Escape seemed like the best answer, so she applied for a teaching job miles from home. Somewhere no one knew her or her history. Chris always said she would make a good teacher. She loved children as much as she loved to read. So she found herself aboard a train, headed down a path she never intended to take.
"You can do it, my love.," a voice interrupted her nightmare. "You're gonna take that mountain. My Sarah's a survivor. And now it's my turn to wait for you. Just be happy, my love, and live as if you'd never lost me. Live as if there is no tomorrow. Love and laugh the same way. There is no other way. You must not allow heartbreak to dampen your spirit. I'll proudly watch it soar; I promise you."
Sarah's eyes snapped open.
"Chris!" she said out loud.
Who said that? It sounded so real. She heard that, right? But the blank stare of the old man sitting across from her was her only answer. If he was alarmed by her sudden disorientation, he showed no signs of it. He seemed only to be a random stranger, wrapped securely in his own world, totally oblivious to the goings on around him. Until he spoke.
"He lives on in your heart, you know."
"He lives on in your heart. The love of your life will never be forgotten even after you traverse the mountain you now face. Death cannot take away what once was because it will always be."
Take That Mountain - Reba McEntire
This hub is the result of a challenge issued by fellow-hubber billybuc. Bill requested that we leave links at the bottom of our hubs to others who also accepted the challenge. I'll oblige because they are totally worth the read. Here are the ones I have been made aware of thus far:
- This time, Lord you gave me a Mountain!
A response to a recent writing challenge by my friend Bill Holland. How about having a go?
- My Journey to Bhimtal (Himalayas) and a fantasy trip...
The misty mountains covered with snow and beautiful sceneries are very much alluring and you just can't resist yourself from getting there.
- The Mountain will always be there (My Response to Bi...
This is my response to the writing challenge put forth recently by Bill Holland (billybuc). This is a fictional account of my adventure, but contains lot of factual information.
- Kelso Mountain-A Photo Linking Three Generations
A photo of a mountain taken by a soldier 50 years earlier leads family to solving mystery of his disappearance in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
- Murder on The Eiger Mountain
A short story of intrigue and murder on a treacherous mountain and the events that followed.
- Your Mountain Is My Valley (Raise Your Expectations)...
A short story response to Bill Holland's challenge. The truth behind cheap office artwork.
- Lab Mountain of Gemini Enigma
What happens when the only thing you have is your thoughts and Time? The potential for something... Well read and see!
- High on the Mountain: (a billybuc writing challenge ...
Just a made up story. I reckon in all things human there is some fact and some fiction. The lines get blurry at times. Perhaps this is one such time.
- Flash Fiction: A mountain man comes home - Bill's C...
After WWI, 368 American soldiers have rested in graves in Flanders Fields. In this flash fiction, we are going to imagine the story of one who was MIA and did not make it to the fields.
- The Call Of The Mountain
A short story in verse form
- The Mountain - An Answer to Bill Holland's Newest Wr...
I have been away from HubPages for a while, but when I saw this picture, and realized that is was offered as a writing challenge, I couldn't resist. Thank you, Bill, for the inspiration.
- A Mountain Or A Molehill? My Response To Billibuc's ...
His job was killing him: he knew it; his wife knew it. But what in the hell was he supposed to do? Life cost money, and the job provided that but oh the cost. That cost was his sanity and health.
- The Darjeeling Trip And The Mystery Of Those Mountai...
Raj and Priya were happy and excited about their holiday plan to Darjeeling. Little did they know that they were going to get the surprise of their lives there. ~~In response to billybuc's challenge
- Rescue Flame on the Mountain
A little story written in response to A Writing Challenge: Are You Up For It? by Bill Holland. ://hubpages.com/literature/A-Writing-Challenge-Are-You-Up-For-It
- Mole on a Mountain: A Short Story Response to Bill H...
Tony is a DEA mole in a Mexican drug cartel. On his first drug run, a shipment of meth, he encounters two kinds of trouble, airplane trouble over the mountains and his arch enemy as his new boss.
- Slumber Mountain: a Short Story Response to Bill Hol...
Challenges push a writer's boundaries, something we need to do all the time or we do not progress, nor improve. This story tells of a personal challenge which many face, dealing with another's pain.
- A Billybuc Writing Challenge--The Mountain of No Hop...
A writing challenge--free verse, any genre using these three images--a mountain, aging freight cars, and an abandoned barn. What feelings do these images evoke?
- Mountain Creek Station
- Lookout Mountain
This short is in response to Bill Holland's writing challenge. Read on to learn of Sammie's relationship with Lookout Mountain.
- Up the Mountain We Go: A Short Story by Author Jenni...
A storm is brewing in the mountains, and Norbert is determined to summit a peak. As he is following a pair of traintracks upward, he meets a young man going the same direction.
- A Mountainous Shadow of Doubt - a Poetic Response to...
~~ A poem of the reality of doubt and gloom, lifted by changing and looking up. ~~
- Sugar Mountain ~ a poem
A writing challenge from Bill Holland and my response.
- Riding The Rails- Short Story - A Challenge by Bill ...
Beatrice had lived on a farm with her parents her entire life, when they passed she wanted to fulfill her dream of exploration. This is her story. A challenge issued by Bill Holland.
- Conquering Savage Mountain
Bitty has the adventure bug, passed down to her from her Daddy. She decides to climb Savage Mountain, where her Daddy died, to finish the climb he started but never finished.
- The Ghost Mountain Adventure (a short story)
This short adventure story is my response to a writing challenge. I also read a recent article that said there was a lack of short fiction available with skiing as the theme. So here goes.
- Lost Mountain
Escaping from a serial killer isn't always the easiest thing to do. Especially when it involves rugged mountainous terrain and a girl without survival skills. But danger is only a state of mind.
- Rainbow Mountain - A Short Story
When Jennifer got the call to go and see a new geological phenomenon the last thing she expected was this! Short Story by Nell Rose
- Majestic Mountain
My short romantic tale in response to a writer's challenge, presented by our own author & friend, Bill Holland.
- The Legend of Whisper Mountain - My Response to Bill...
I just love a writing challenge, especially one driven by picture prompts. This is my response to billybuc's latest challenge.
- Memories of Glass Mountain – Flash Fiction Poetry ...
Bill Holland (a.k.a. billybuc) has issued a Challenge to all Hubbers to write a short story/flash fiction. Bill I hope you do not mind that mine is written in rhyme.