So excited to be back for my second A to Z Challenge Post! Please remember to like and comment. Let us know if you’re participating so we can visit your blog!
This post is a continuation of A is for Ahhh so make sure you read that post first.
B is for Backpack
I tried to catch my breath sitting on the train, but I couldn’t. I had swung my backpack onto the floor between my legs, and after a few minutes of wheezing, I opened it to dig out my inhaler. I didn’t have to use it often, but I was very glad I was carrying it with me now. I shook it, took off the cap, and inhaled a sweet puff. Inhalers used to taste foul, but now they weren’t too bad. It wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t distasteful either.
I slipped it back into my backpack and zipped the pocket shut, getting a look around me for the first time since I sat down on the train. My vision was spotty with fear, but I was finally able to comprehend the world around me.
“Are you all right?” an older woman asked when I glanced in her direction. Unlike many of the people on the train, her ears weren’t plugged with earbuds, and her eyes weren’t glued to a screen.
“Fine,” I gasped out, the drugs going through my system making my heart pound. It was my usual reaction to the inhaler, but not fun. “I’m fine,” I said when I didn’t think she believed my first protestation.
I noticed that she kept her eye on me as the train rocked on, but she didn’t say anything. No one else bothered to look in my direction, which was just fine with me. I was bursting to tell someone about the opening car door, but I didn’t think anyone cared. Maybe the woman with the gray hair, but…probably not.
The woman stood up and slipped into a seat near me, leaving just one empty seat between us. She reached a hand out to me, but when I recoiled, she stopped. “Don’t be frightened,” she said, and I realized that, although her hair was gray, she might not be as old as I first thought. She was old enough to be my mother, certainly, but probably not old enough to be my grandmother. I was 25, after all. “I’m sorry,” she said as she pulled her hand back, “I didn’t mean to frighten you, but you look like you’d seen a ghost when you got on the train.”
I looked at her sharply, trying to discern whether she was someone I could trust or not. But really, what did it matter? I could say whatever I wanted, and I would probably never see her again. “I didn’t see a ghost, but I did get the biggest scare of my life just now.”
She listened as I recounted the eerie car with dark windows. I thought the story would take forever to tell, but it just felt like the whole thing had taken forever. In reality, it had been mere seconds of my life, but it was burned into my mind.
The doors opened at the next stop, and I watched, but no one got on. Someone probably entered or exited another car. The same thing happened at the next stop. Only two more and I would be at the Resort. And then I would be safe, or something. At least I could call on Resort Security if I absolutely had to.
“I have to go,” I said after the doors opened and closed one more time, “This is my stop.”
She nodded, not saying anything, and watched as I stood up and waited by the doors for my stop. “Thanks for listening,” I said. I was watching her instead of my feet as I stepped down off the train and almost tripped, righting myself at the last minute. I breathed a sigh of relief as my feet hit the pavement on familiar ground.