Saturday 22 June 2013

'Echo of a Whistle' by Miranda Kate

Jonas had no idea how long he’d blacked out for this time. His heart raced as he spun round trying to see if the man was still there, but all he could see were empty train carriages sitting in the disused siding.

He shook his leg and pulled at his foot, but it was still wedged right under the track and he couldn’t reach it.

It was really dark now, and the wind startled him as it hurtled round the corners of the derelict train sheds. Any second now the man would appear. He’d chased Jonas through the woods and out onto the embankment, he had to be here somewhere.

He fought back tears of fear and frustration. He knew that crying for his mummy wasn’t going to help him - the man had been right about that - but the images of the underground room haunted him, with its dirt floor and rusty metal cot. He couldn’t go back there; he couldn’t go through that pain again. The very thought of the man touching him, putting those metal things near him – he yanked at his foot again to distract himself from the thought.  

His escape had been a stroke of luck rather than planned. Not only had had it been one of the rare days that the man hadn’t used the equipment on him, but the man had become complacent, allowing Jonas to go and clean up by himself.  Jonas was halfway up the stairs by the time he’d shouted, already running for his life.

And he’d almost made it, but then he’d caught his foot running across the tracks. He’d been too busy looking over his shoulder at the man, wondering why he’d stopped at the top of the embankment. And then the ground had come up to meet him; the air rushing in his ears creating a high pitch sound as he fell, and a blinding white flash as his head hit the track.

He attempted to reach his foot again, leaning on the track as he did so, and that’s when he felt it - the vibration. He peered into the darkness and made out two pin pricks of light. They were moving towards him, increasing in size. In his gut he knew it was a train.

But instead of feeling panic, he felt calm. It was over; whether dead or rescued the man couldn’t have him anymore.

Jonas looked up at the oncoming train, the lights clearly visible now, his eyes tracing their perfect roundness. He waved his arm and waited, listening for the whistle, the signal that they’d seen him. But it didn’t come.

And as the train raced through him, he realised he’d already heard the whistle earlier that day, and the blinding flash hadn’t been his head hitting the track. His foot wasn’t trapped anymore, the man was gone and so was he. 

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