Years ago, I wrote this story and submitted it to a writing contest, but it was not a winner. I began to revise the story recently, discovering endless flaws and began to see why it could never win at all. In revising, I added more characters because previously there was just one active and one silent character.
When it was first written, it was in the third person but I was advised by my editors that it would be best if I rewrote this story from a first person point of view. So I did because I really wanted to breathe life into it and give my story another chance: Never as a winner of any writing contest, but because it is connected to a real experience. And I wanted the readers to experience it, first-hand.
I wanted my readers to be aware of how disturbing it is to discover, when researching train deaths in South Africa, just how many have occurred in suburban Cape Town, over the years. Many have occurred simply because people, tired of walking, make holes in fences to take short cuts across train tracks where speeding trains offer them no respite; or because countless people still continue to hang-out of over-packed, speeding trains on a daily basis, playing Russian roulette with their lives.
THE DRAGGING BY GLORIA DIKEOGU
The train was stationary now. It sat on the rail in-between stations. Doors wide open, lights off, interior cold and empty.
When the train stopped earlier in the day heading in the direction of Simonstown on Cape Town’s Surburban Line, people spilled out of its depths like they did every day, at Claremont and then again at Wynberg, moving onto the grey platform like ants covering a piece of sweet orange candy lying on the ground.
There were always two train conductors on each train. One taking tickets from the passengers in first-class carriages which were always somewhat empty, except in the early morning when everyone was heading to work. Another took tickets in the third-class carriage, often never managing to secure them because those carriages were always over-full with passengers packed into the carriage like a load of sardines, where the can was already open and the sardines were sliding out.
When the train started to move out of Wynberg station, it was surprising to see it stop again almost immediately, jerking violently. Its front carriages already past the platform on the open rail, while the last few carriages were still squarely parked in the station; its train surfers hanging out of the open doors of the last carriage like a pack of baboons.
Seven minutes earlier
Standing in the ticket-box line at Wynberg Station, Mandi De Vos caught sight of her neighbor, Clarice Harker, dressed in a bright orange striped pants-suit, a jaunty orange hat and high black court shoes, looking like an oversized bumble-bee. Clarice acknowledged her with a friendly wave and passed her, walking smartly down the platform towards the third-class stop.
The train was coming into the station just as Mandi secured her ticket. Rushing toward the open doors of the last first-class carriage, she heard Josie Klein call out to her in greeting, as she entered the train immediately behind her.
Mandi and Josie were in their late twenties, had been friends since high school and had often had the opportunity to meet infrequently over the years at Wynberg Station. So they were not surprised to see each other, climbing onto the train together. They found seats easily, seating themselves across from each other at the window in the first-class carriage, where they quickly engaged in conversation. They both lived in Wittebome, one station ahead, but they spent countless hours shopping in Wynberg Main Road where they both had come from this morning.
“It’s great to see you again,” Josie said as she saw Mandi, as they arranged their bags around them on the floor.
“Oh, yes it’s good to see you too. It’s been a while!” Mandi replied, balancing a sizeable brown leather purse on her lap, “it’s been quite a few months since I’ve seen you last.”
“I know,” Josie replied, “Just busy as usual .Got a new job recently,” she added smiling, “had to do a ton of training.”
“Congratulations! Good for you!” Mandi replied, just as the shrill sound of a whistle could be heard, where the conducted signaled that the train’s doors were closing.
“So glad I made it to catch this train,” Josie said laughing, and moving her small grocery bag down on the floor closer to her. “I had to walk fast because I still had to buy my monthly pass today, since I have to use the train now every day; and the lines are so long. I’m working in Heathfield now”, she continued.
“Really, that sounds interesting, what do you do?” Mandi asked, just as the train started to move.
“I work for an insurance agency,” Josie replied, as the train stopped with a screech and a hefty jerk that surprised both women, but they didn’t comment about this at all.
“I often choose third-class,” Mandi offered, “but today I decided to pay a little more for a first-class ticket. It’s my day off and I just hate having to stand and be pushed all the way to Retreat station. Besides I’m wearing a dress today and it will be all wrinkled by the time I get to my optician’s appointment,” Mandi said, receiving an approving nod in the affirmative from her friend. But what she didn’t say at all was that she preferred to travel first-class because the third-class carriage really assaulted her sensibilities, reminding her of a smelly-horse box, with its hard, green benches and mash of foul-mouthed, un-washed bodies hanging out of the train. And she didn’t want anyone to think she was a snob.
“Yeah of course,” Josie replied, “Not nice at all. Used to travel that way all the time when I was going to the university,” she offered, “but now that’s done,” she said with a sigh.
When the doors of the first-class opened unexpectedly, both conductors left the train running down the platform to discover what the problem was. Since it was quite clear that someone had pulled the stop-leaver on the train, requesting an immediate stop because of some type of emergency, and the train operator had complied.
On leaving the train, both conductors were immediately aware of a commotion ahead and moved in haste towards the last train carriage: the direction from which loud wailing was heard along with shouts of distress, a woman’s high keening voice, and indiscriminate fussing and moaning. Returning from checking on the incident near the third-class carriage, and moving fast, the younger conductor had a finger in one of his ears as if he needed to shut out the noise, and finally breaking away from the crowd, He stood still, continuing to speak animatedly on his mobile phone. Finished, he put his phone back into his pocket and disappeared into the crowd at the edge of the station.
Everyone knew that what they had heard could only mean one thing: Tragedy. No-one was surprised about it, but nevertheless, they still felt the shock and there were tell-tale signs on the earnest, drawn faces of a crowd of train surfers and onlookers that started to gather near the first door of the last carriage. No-one ever wanted anything to happen to their family members or their friends when they were travelling by train. Too many accidents were a common occurrence here yet, everyone always hoped and prayed that they did not know the victims of a tragedy, or that whatever had happened, would not be as bad as they thought it was.
Josie remained seated but Mandi stood up in her seat, right next to a tall woman in a plaid suit, who was seated on the aisle. She tried to look out of the window but it was still tightly closed.
“Why don’t you pull the window down, and let’s see what’s happening,” The woman in the aisle seat said to Mandi, who tried to comply but was not strong enough to open it. Finally, Josie stood too, and they pushed the window down so that they could all see out. Standing together amongst their bags, the others in the carriage right behind them, they looked down the platform, in the direction where earlier they had seen the train conductors running. They saw that several young men had jumped off the train and were now standing on the platform with the conductors. As they watched, more people left the train, inquisitive to see what was happening.
Looking down the platform, they saw people’s heads popping out of windows as they exchanged conversational snippets with others. The people in the front carriages were loud and several were very upset, pushing themselves forward inside the train to see all that could be seen without leaving the train because their carriages had passed the platform and they could not leave the train, except to move between carriages or to jump onto the train track.
There were shouts from onlookers for a doctor. Was there a doctor on the train? This message was transferred down the station to the train and to the onlookers waiting on the station platform, and others who were just coming to the station to catch a train. Finally, a nurse was discovered, but there was no doctor to be had. The nurse, dressed in a white uniform. hat and a dark blue jersey, had just come down the stairs onto the platform and discovering that she was needed, walked quickly toward the train. A stocky conductor with greying hair went to meet her, and gesturing said something to her which caused her to raise her eyebrows. She then joined him and they both raced toward the far end of the platform and soon entered the growing crowd there, that parted for her as she made her way to the edge of the platform.
The crowd on the platform that had been so loud minutes ago, now whispered, surged forward and then moved back as they were asked for more space, but then moved forward again wanting to see everything they could. The second conductor, a youngish man in a black ill-fitting uniform was joined by two ticket office officials who had left their station office and were ineffectively attempting to control the crowd and move them away so that they could handle the situation that was unfolding, but to no avail.
In the distance everyone could hear persistent, loud sirens nearing the station. Emergency vehicles were nearby and would be arriving in seconds.
The carriage where Mandi and Josie had been sitting was now quickly emptying as everyone was aware that the train was not going anywhere and the stations would soon be crawling with emergency and law enforcement officers.
“I think we’ll be here for a while yet,” Mandi said, as she stood with Josie at the window looking all the way down the platform.
“I guess you’re right,” Josie replied, “why don’t we go and see what is going on,” she said picking up her bags. Mandi followed Josie out of the train and onto the platform. They both moved quickly until they reached the crowd in front of the third-class carriage. Josie stayed at the edge of the crowd, not wanting to go further, but Mandi moved into it, one step at a time, until she was in the midst of the onlookers, and close to the opening around the activity at its center.
Once there, Mandi began to wish that she had stayed at the edge of the crowd with her friend, and had not pushed her way forward to see what was happening. Women around her were praying out loud and there were others who were crying. Several of them were being led away from the crowd. One woman was being held by a man, who was comforting her as she cried and they moved off at a distance from the incident.
Mandi saw that several men and a nurse were engaged in the dreadful task of treating a woman who was clearly in shock and suffering from severe trauma; and attempting to move her out from where she was stuck under the train. Mandi saw the men lift a rotund-gory flailing, wailing, woman covered in blood onto the open platform from far under the train. No legs were attached to her bloody moaning, form that was crying out to God. What’s more, the mass was swathed in what appeared to be a striped orange…
Mandi felt sick to her stomach, as fear gripped her chest with terrible claws. She knew who this must be. She knew and she could not be wrong. She felt quite faint, and almost fell, as she began to move backward, wanting to back away from this awful travesty. How could this be happening to her!
She forced herself to regain her control and make the fear subside. In the distance, there was the sound of emergency sirens coming closer and still closer....
Then a gaggle of un-kept police and ambulance people in blue-grey uniforms burst onto the platform, taking control of the crowd and the situation immediately. A policeman with a loudspeaker commanded the crowd to move away from the carriage towards the station fence. His announcement was followed up by instructions for the crowd to give the medics space to do their work. Everyone was asked to leave the platform and make their way to the bus station behind the city. They were asked to wait in line as there would be several city buses that would be coming to help ticket holders to reach their destinations, because the train was grounded and had to remain in the station while the police completed their investigation.
As the crowd began to move down the station and make their exit to wait for the city buses, Mandi had no alternative but to move along with them until she reached the nearest policeman to let him know that she knew the victim and would be willing to answer any questions that could help with their investigation.
That evening, the Cape Argus Newspaper headlines read:
“TRAIN DRAGS WITTEBOME WOMAN”
WITTEBOME— Officials are investigating a train dragging that occurred at Wittebome Station on the Surburban Line on Thursday March 19, 1987.
Clarice Harker, 26, sustained severe injuries and trauma while being dragged by a Simonstown-bound train that left Wynberg Station at 10:30 a.m., according to a release from Wynberg Police Sergeant Hein Louw.
Harker was identified by a neighbor who was on the same train at the time of accident. Witnesses indicated that Harker was train surfing and fell in-between the tracks as the train was leaving the station. Her clothes were caught by the wheels of the train and she was dragged for several minutes, under the train. Both her limbs were severed during the dragging.
Harker was taken to an area hospital in Wynberg by emergency responders, and according to witnesses, was unconscious by the time she was transported onto the ambulance. No information has yet been released about Harker’s condition.
At the scene of the accident, police investigators gathered evidence of the accident. The Simonstown-bound train had stopped partially inside and just past the station and will remain in this position until the police have completed their investigation. Passengers were allowed to disembark and were bussed to their destinations. Trains on the Suburban line will be suspended through 6 am on Friday, March 20.
“All I know about Miss Harker is what her neighbor told investigators about her. The neighbor did not want to be identified, but the police released this statement that she gave after identifying the victim and providing the police with her family contact information: ‘I saw my neighbor, Clarice Harker earlier this morning in passing, while I stood in line at the ticket booth. She waved to me and walked down the platform toward the third-class carriage. Clarice lives around the corner from me in Wittebome. I am heartbroken to witness this nasty accident. It’s very sad when the people you know are so severely hurt. I just can’t imagine what this accident will do to her family. She worked as an Office Manager at an Engineering Firm in Rondebosch for two years and she was doing very well there. She lives with her parents but was planning to move into her own apartment soon. She was so proud of her accomplishments. She has three older brothers and a younger sister.”
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone with information concerning the accident can contact Investigating Officer Hannie Miller at 021 727345.
Appendix: Notes about South African train accident statistics.
“In these accidents 495 people died and there were 2,095 injuries reported. Over half the injuries and 44% of fatalities occurred in Gauteng. The Western Cape had the second highest numbers of fatalities and injuries. Of the 4,066 incidents, 45% were reported by PRASA and 52% by Transnet.
Trains struck 642 people on running lines; 412 of these incidents were fatal. In the Western Cape, most people struck by trains were in Nyanga.
The number of accidents involving “train surfing” has continued to increase; from 94 in the 2013/14 to 140 in 2016/17.” (Bratton, para, 3-5).
Bratton, Laura. “Railway’s R1 billion accident and crime bill.” Ground Up, 23 November 2017.
Hello readers! My name is Rashelle Brown. Due to my dad having served in the military, I was born in Heidelberg, Germany, where he was stationed at the time. I have lived in many places and call home wherever my family is. I am currently a senior at Ottawa University studying Music Education. My primary instrument is flute, and my secondary instrument is saxophone. I can play a little piano, and I also can sing in choir. I would like to continue my education by getting a Masters in counseling psychology, getting a P.h.D, and one day opening my own counseling practice. Here at the university, I work as a senior student ambassador in the admissions office. I have been an orientation leader every year but my own freshman year, and I am currently in Theta Phi Alpha, the sorority here on campus.
Love and Infatuation
This is the tale of a woman named Love and a man named Infatuation. Love and Infatuation are immortal lovers. They have been around since the beginning of time. These two are often confused for each other, however Love stays longer and is more true than Infatuation.
Love and Infatuation met on the most beautiful spring day of the year. Everything was blooming around them. The sun was shining, and the birds were singing. It was a perfect day! The moment they laid eyes on each other they were in love. One could almost call it love at first sight. They had such a brilliant spark right away, and for this reason, Infatuation decided to court Love. They were so happy and excited. The dates they went on went very well, and they were a couple in love.
A couple weeks went by with this feeling of excitement. Then, Infatuation became jealous of Love’s male friends. He didn’t like them, and he wanted them to know she was his. Love, being infinitely positive, reassured him that she didn’t have feelings for any one of them. He was her only love, and life went on.
Suddenly, after all the happy weeks they were together, things went on a downward spiral. Infatuation was being incredibly selfish. He expected their relationship to be perfect. He wasn’t thinking about what Love thought about all of this. He just argued with her without actually listening to her. Despite all of his negativity, Love was selfless. She continued to give her all to their relationship. She saw the good in him. She also saw all the bad in him, but she loved him anyway. Love was always confident that they would make it through the tough times, and because of her confidence and her love for Infatuation she was willing to compromise on things. Infatuation, however, did not believe they could make it through the tough times together this time. He was no longer willing to compromise. It seemed he no longer loved Love. The spark he felt in the beginning was gone, and he was no longer happy when he was with her. She always failed to live up to his expectations. To him, their relationship had gone from a burst of color to black and white.
One day, Infatuation saw a woman of stunning beauty. He was enraptured by her outside appearance. Her name was Lust. All at once, the spark he was missing was back. Feeling elated, he began to court this other woman behind Love’s back. He decided to deceive her. Even though he didn’t love her anymore, he didn’t want to hurt her.
It was shortly after Infatuation started to court Lust that Love began to suspect something was off. She constantly tried to tell herself that everything was fine. They were going to be okay again. She still gave everything to the relationship that was now one sided. She truly loved him, and she just wanted them to be happy again.
Finally, the day came where Infatuation would no longer hide his deception. He came out to Love about how he no longer cared for her and that he was seeing someone else. She was heartbroken. He had lied right up until the end, and she didn’t have the will to fight for him anymore. Heart torn in two, Love left Infatuation.
Despite Love always being able to look on the bright side, Love had dimmed because of Infatuation. So, Love took a break from lovers. She took time to heal and love herself again. For love isn’t just for other people, it is also for yourself. After she found self-love again, she was able to start showing love for others like friends, family, and people in general. Eventually, she was able to show romantic love once again.
Months later, Love was in a better place. She was happy again by herself. She even admitted to herself that she still loved Infatuation even after what he did to her. She would always love him, but her life would go on like normal. In the end, Love found the right man. Infatuation never settled down. He always lost the spark of “love” with every woman he courted.
In the early stages of a relationship, love and infatuation feel the same. However, as time goes on, infatuation shows it’s face as an intense but short-lived passion, while love shows it’s true colors as a timeless feeling of deep, true affection. Genuine love involves not only passion, but also commitment and wisdom. It’s not always easy to know which one of these a person is feeling. It is easy to believe and hope it is love. Love is a gift, and it is one that anyone deserves to behold.
Hello, My name is Perry L. Shepard. I have written two novels titled The Hero versus Me and Monkey Jo and Hard Love. The Hero Versus Me and Monkey Jo was published in 2019 through Anamcara Press LLC. Hard Love is scheduled to be published in spring 2020. I have a third novel simmering at this writing. I have a book of poetry ready for publishing titled A Rhythmic Electric Circus of Sound Part 66; A.R.E.C.O.S Part 66. I have won a national poetry contest second place award for one of my poems and published in The Best Amateur Poets in 2014. In Writer’s Digest 84th poetry competition I won an honorable mention. In 2019 I won two honorable mentions in the Kansas Author’s Club State Wide writing contest for a short story and a play. I have been published in a variety of fanzines and college publications. I am a visual artist as well as writer and consistently have exhibited my work for the past three years.
It’s Like This
It was a cold night out on the freeway with a blustery Kansas wind coming down on Chase Million. He had his thumb out for the past three hours and he reflected on the past two years rambling across the land. He left the Army without any place he belonged to, where could land and stay. He spent the first year chasing the nightmares away with alcohol. Homeless with no place to call home he kept roaming the country. He finally gave up the booze as it only gave him stomach aches and fights with other losers. He was a big man with wild hair and ragged clothes.
He was so angry he couldn’t relate to anyone it seemed and people avoided him. Where ever he ended up someone would give him grief. He would over react and end up either beat up on the curb or in a jail cell for a few days. He was chased out of Yellow Springs Ohio two days before the truck driver gave him a ride to Kansas City. It took an old farmer to get him to western Kansas where he stood outside of Oakley with his thumb out waiting for a ride. One came and took him to Denver.
Chase sat outside the bus station on the early foggy morning waiting for the bus to arrive. He had walked all night in the misty rain after the last ride for the day that left him on the edge of the city. Before dawn he found his way to the bus station. The weather west did not look good for hitch hiking. He sat looking at the ground and grumbling from time to time as people around him gave him a wide berth. He didn’t see any reason to talk to them anyway and he waited. When his bus arrived and he went to climb the steps but a small young woman pushed him aside. He froze, watched her get into the bus. Scowling he then got on board. He saw the compartment was also packed with almost every seat taken.
He recognized the gauntlet he had to go through. His jaws tightened and he started walking. An old lady with pink hair looked at him wide eyed he scowled at her then she dropped her head. The old man behind her glared at him, and when Chase looked him in the face, with his fierce eyes, he went back to his newspaper. Behind him was a little boy and girl with their mother. The boy looked up and then started crying, the girl shrank back in fear. Chase kept walking. Two football players sat together, one of them stared at him and then turned to his friend whispering. Chase tightened his fists but he kept walking.
He saw the pretty girl who pushed him aside getting on the bus. She sat next to the window two rows from the back. He slipped silently into the seat next to her.
She looked up at him and said, “You smell, at least go and wash your arm pits.” Then she smiled sweetly at him.
He scowled down on her but got up and went to the cramped toilet. He returned to the seat with a cleaner shirt, she smiled, “You almost look human with your hair tied back I can actually see your face.”
He turned his head pointedly away from her trying to ignore the girl.
“Rosealea Isabelle Margret O’Grady at your service Mister.” He looked into her smiling eyes.
“What do you want girl?” He said gruffly.
“That’s Rosie to my friends.”
“Whatever, leave me alone!”
“You chose to sit next to me. So, cool it. I’m offering to help you out. By the looks of you I think you can use all the help you can get.”
He looked into her deep and shining eyes. He chuckled at her retort. “Okay Miss Rosie, I’m Chase.”
“I saw you waiting for the bus and knew you needed something. I hope I can help you out.”
Rosie talked, while the bus moved into the snowy Rocky Mountains. When they stopped for lunch, she got out. He stayed in his seat waiting for the bus to continue on.
Passengers got off and a group of young skiers boisterously came on board, pestering the other passengers. When they got to Chase, he tried to ignore their rude comments about him. When Rosie came back on the bus, they started crude comments of a sexual nature. He said forcefully to them, “Leave her alone!”
They threatened to beat his ass, but Rosie stepped in and said “Leave us alone you
creeps.” She grabbed Chase’s arm and pulled him back into the seat as she took her place. “They’re just kids, forget them.”
He nodded and closed his eyes as the boys continued to harass them for a few more minutes. He had been awake for over twenty-four hours. She reached over and rested her hand on his forearm. He felt at peace and drifted off.
He was back in the desert. The air was hot as he crouched down behind the rocket destroyed hovel. He was frozen in place. His squad was gone. The fighting for the past couple
of days had been fierce. He figured all of them were dead by now. Dead because he couldn’t move. After the slaughter he and his squad had inflicted on the women and children in the village the day before he couldn’t do it anymore. He been on point with his best friend Ross and had met up with a kid who had come out of the village approaching him with a smile. He smiled back as the youth threw a grenade at Ross, Chase opened fire on the boy just as an old woman came out crying and yelling, he shot her down before she reached the boys body. Then bullets were flying around him just as the squad came up and the firefight lasted another half hour with so many dead lying on the sand of the village streets. Now he slid down into the sand hanging his head, crying. The squad had moved on but he couldn’t get the boy and Ross lying dead out of his mind and the smell of death choked his senses. He could hear the guns going off and he couldn’t move. The noise got louder and louder and then a screeching sound pierced the air.
He awoke tumbling in space. He hit the ceiling then went across the aisle and was slammed onto the floor. Rosie was flying through the air. The bus was tumbling down the mountainside and people were being thrown around like dice as the bus rolled down to the river below.
He didn’t know how long he was out when he returned to consciousness. Passengers were weeping, moaning and crying out for help. Rosie was laying on top of him unconscious. He rolled over and carefully checked her over. She had a contusion and a large bump on her head but otherwise he felt she was going to be okay. He gently touched her face and wiped some blood out of her eyes and off her cheeks with his ragged bandana. She opened her eyes and smiled up at him. “Wow! Do I have a headache Chase!”
“Don’t move Rosie and stay awake. You have a gash on your head take this bandana and hold it here.” He picked up her arm and showed her where to apply pressure. “I will try to find some first aid.”
“I don’t know but it looks like the bus has left the highway. We are at the bottom of the mountain with some of the bus in the river. I think. Stay put and don’t try to move, I’m going to see how things are.”
The bus had been folded almost into two pieces with the front end of the bus submerged into the river. He found a first aid kit and some blankets tossed out into the snow with luggage and a couple of bodies looking bent and beaten. He came back in the hole in the side of the bus and gave some survivors blankets to stay a little warmer. He took the first aid kit to Rosie and quickly patched up her wound.
He went to the front and carefully went down into darkness. He froze as he flashed back on the dark homes, he had entered in the villages over there. There was always danger in the dark hovels. His eyes adjusted to the dark and he saw a little movement down below. It was the little girl. Her mother was hanging over the back of a seat unconscious. He slowly worked his way down to the girl and found she was holding her brother’s hand whose head was below the water’s surface. He reached her, pulled her up, and the boy came with her. He laid the boy down and gave the boy CPR who sputtered to consciousness. He quickly carried them up and wrapped them in blankets. Then he went back for their mother, beat up pretty badly but alive, he carried her up.
He saw the old man with the newspaper hanging on for dear life with his head all bloodied up. Chase made it down and grabbed the arm the old man was swinging around. He pulled him up with great difficulty but finally the old man crawled away and Chase went back down. He saw the old lady with pink hair. He knew she was dead. He looked for the driver and saw the man had his head partly out of the water and he would take a breath then drop below the surface and try to get the harness undone without success. Chase pulled out his knife jumped into the water by the driver and cut the harness. The driver reached up, grabbing Chase’s arm and pulled himself up breathing heavily.
Chase then went to the survivors with the first aid kit and did what he could and he instructed the people what to do until help arrived. He went back to Rosie who couldn’t stand yet.
“See” she said. “I told you that you needed all the help you could get and see how it is? You seem to be a different man helping all of us. Thank you, Chase. Now please go get help.” She then reached up and gently placed her hand on his face.
He burst out crying and he couldn’t stop it from running down his cheeks but got up and jumped into the snow and started climbing up the mountainside to the highway. He knew they were close to Glenwood Springs and figured there would be traffic up there. The snow was a foot to four feet thick and he struggle throughout the climb. It seemed to take forever to reach the roadway.
The first car that came down the road swerved around him and kept going. Chase straightened his stance and stood up using his full height and he kept at it and soon a highway patrol car came. The officer stopped and when Chase got to the car and found a pistol in his face. Chase backed up and held out his hands. The officer rolled down his window, still with the gun out.
“Officer, the bus going to San Francisco fell down the mountain and the passengers need rescued immediately.” Out of breath Chase collapsed onto his knees breathing deeply.
The officer came out of the car and looked down at the side of the mountain. “Oh my God! Okay son, just stay put and I’ll get all the help we can find,”
Chase stayed there until his breath returned then he walked over to the side of the road and looked down. He almost fell down when he suddenly remembered the hovel before the rocket hit it and saw the young women working in the yard. He saw the old woman standing out there bleeding and crying for the boy who had been killed in front of her. Slowly the image disappeared and he felt lighter. He knew Rosie was going to be all right and turned staring down the road toward the west. It was cold, he shook off the snow, stamped his feet and then started walking westward.