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The Lost Will

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Ding! Dong! Ugh… I rolled over and stared at my defeated alarm clock, now no longer necessary for a wake up call. It read 7:45. Normally, early sustains me but after all it was my day, and why shouldn’t I be allowed to stay in bed for once? Well negative to that idea I suppose. I held tight onto my pillow, grasping it as the last memory of my morning plan, and drew myself out of my bed’s love. Rubbing my arms quickly across one another for warmth, I slid to across to the window. I blew onto the window’s frosty film to reveal the picture of beyond it. Beautiful whiteness covered the land. Winter always reminded me of someone taking a giant eraser and just wiping-out the world’s color. After my daze, I looked down to my long awaiting caller. Wynn! Quickly, fast as my frozen bare feet could move, I ran down the creaky stairs to open the door. My childhood friend, well dressed as I remembered, wore a brown suede jacket, unzipped slightly enough to reveal a burgundy sweater and below a pair of dark fitted jeans. Snowflakes melted in his short raven hair, adding small curls from the moisture.

With a carefree spirit, I gave him a big hug and a light peck on the cheek. My sudden shyness pulled me back a few steps. Wynn smiled with amusement.
“So how does it feel to be one year older,” he laughed.
“Well, I don’t want to believe its my last year as a teen,” I really loved my teen years, so many wonderful memories with my grandfather.
“Aw, now no whining about being old, Lani,” he commanded, “I gave up ‘teen hood’ four years ago and haven’t regretted it since.”
A quick involuntary shiver overcame my body. Wynn noticed, and told me to run upstairs and change into something warmer, and added that he made big plans for the day. I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with Wynn. No, actually, I loved spending time with Wynn, and I hadn’t seen him since August. The problem of the matter, being that ever since my grandfather passed away, and left our beloved train for demolition, I had formed some kind of unintentional grudge. Grandpa bought the weathered train at an auction and together we fixed it as a project. Next spring, our town planned to sell the train’s valued scrap metal. Main point now, I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday because it made me think of the times I spent it with my grandfather, and those thoughts, I knew, would trigger my unintentional feeling of hurt.
I became obedient, though, and ran to my room in haste. Looking, around, I found a pair of abandoned jeans sprawled on the floor, and decided to keep on my beige turtleneck. I just needed my snow boots from the closet. Wynn had been looking at old pictures of Papa Manning on the fireplace. He paused to look up at me. With a dramatic sigh, he laid a beautifully wrapped present in my hands.
“I guess you get your present early this time,” he said.
Carefully, I undid the present’s ribbon and unfolded the paper. Inside rested a winter blue cashmere sweater, along with a pair of light brown corduroy pants. I couldn’t help but smile. Wynn motioned me upstairs to change, so I quickly obeyed once again.

My news clothes fit perfectly. I envied Wynn’s shopping talent. Shopping held one my greatest fears, every time I walked into a clothing store, the many aisles of clothes, the intimidating saleswoman, all way above my comfort level.
After hopping into Wynn’s black Jeep, he drove us to our first destination, Paul’s Bakery. I ordered a warm bear claw, and Wynn got a huge cinnamon bun. We sat down at the table near the toasty fire, same table Papa Manny and I sat every time we ate our pastries. Wynn and I began catching up on each other’s lives. I asked about college in Philadelphia, weather, and friends, and he asked me about classes at the community college and other related topics. Finally, Wynn said something completely unexpected, “So I wasn’t finished with your birthday present, and had something else in mind,” he looked at me to make sure I listened, “Well, I know ever since your grandfather died, its been hard, especially the fact that he never willed the train to you.”
I let out a gasp but waited in suspense for the rest, “What would you say to one more ride in that old train?”
Jumping out of my chair and screaming, displayed my desired action, but with a roomful of people, the most appropriate seemed to be a small squeal and huge ear to ear grin.
“Are you serious?! How?” my questions began.
“You remember Bruce?” of course I remembered my grandfather’s engineer, “Well, its really his idea… he called me the other day saying the train was scheduled for one more outing before demolition. He thought of you and got two tickets because of his job as engineer.”
“This is amazing! I am absolutely speechless. When does the train leave? How long does the trip last?”
Wynn hesitated then mumbled, “Today. It’s an overnight trip.”
Today! I never thought highly of last minute packing, but this seemed different. My answer came out boldly, “Well then today it is!”
Before I realized it, evening snuck upon the day and the train begin boarding. Memories flowed freely as I studied the train. Weathered red paint peeled from the side of the train cars. I remembered painting it with my grandfather. We chose red together, our favorite color. Soon we seated ourselves in the passenger’s car. Two maroon cushioned sofas rested in the corner, forming an “L.” These were one of the few items we never replaced, because of their excellent condition. Now they wore juice stains and small cuts. I couldn’t believe what the town had let our train become. I wanted to cry.
I then noticed we weren’t alone. On the maroon sofa, sat an attractive woman, yellow blonde, wearing a purple evening dress, probably a few years older than myself.
She spoke first, “Good evening, you must be Wynn Fields and Lani Minnella. I heard about you two from the engineer”
“Yep, that’s right. Lani, here, grew up on this train. Oh, and what’s your name?” Wynn answered for us.
“I’m Cassandra Ellwood. Yes, I did hear about that from the engineer,” Bruce always did like talk about me a lot, “I think its best though that you didn’t get this weathered machine.”
Weathered machine? Is that what she thinks it is? “Now why do you say that?” I asked more sharp than intended.
“Oh, well didn’t you know this train is haunted, they’ve even recorded ghost sightings… I think it might be your grandfather,” she tried convincing me, “Did you ever do something to anger him before his death?”

Of course! It didn’t surprise me this lady would believe such a foolish thing. To my relief Wynn rescued me from the uncomfortable situation, “Hey look at the sunset above that mountain. Beautiful, huh?”
Cassandra and I turned to the window. The sky looked to be filled with yellow fire, which gleamed below adding sparkles to the snowy banked mountain. In my speed packing I missed grabbing my camera, what a shame!

The day soon surrendered and the night succeeded. Wynn left shortly to talk to Bruce. I wish he would stay, alone with Cassandra was not my desire. She continued chatting with me about her busy but important life back in Chicago. My eyes grew weary, and soon I fell asleep while Cassandra continued on her one-sided conversation. I’m not sure how a long I slept but later on I was awaken by the fearful Cassandra. The furious wind seemed to be banging up against the window trying to break in and grab us. The wind also shrieked with terror, but Cassandra stood alarm for a greater reason. Her thin weak arm pointed towards the other side of the train. My eyes followed her arm’s direction. All at once we began to scream! Outside the window waved a bright white figure!

… to be continued!



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