Train Tracks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story based on an unbelievable display if idiotic lunacy I saw captured on film during this morning's news.

Submitted: November 24, 2016

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Submitted: November 24, 2016

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Train Tracks

 

So, Ian,” Dan said, as he sneaked up beside the unsuspecting teen, “I hear you want to join us.”

 

Ian hoped Dan hadn’t noticed how he’d jumped. Always sneaking, was Dan, when he wasn’t trouble making anyway. For some reason this seemed to make him and his mates popular with the other students, and although Ian was quiet himself, he did crave being popular. Just for once, even if it didn’t last – he just wanted to know what it felt like.

 

Hi, Dan,” Ian had recovered his composure, could now play it cool. “Where’d you hear that, then?”

 

No names, Ian. That’s one of our first rules. No names, and never tell.” Dan looked away across the sports field. “No bother! If what I heard is wrong, that’s fine by me.” He got up to walk away.

 

No, wait Dan. I never said I didn’t want in, did I! Just wondered where you’d heard it.” Shut up, Ian silently told himself. You’ve gotta stop gushing or you’ll never get accepted. “Of course I do. It’d be great to hang out with you and the guys.”

 

Yeah, well, we don’t just take anyone, you know. There’s many a lad out there wants to join with us but we’re kind of picky. You’d have to prove you got what it takes to be one of us.”

 

Okay, Ian told himself. You’re in with a chance here. “Like an initiation, sort of thing, you mean?”

 

What?”

 

An initiation. A test of some kind.”

 

Dan nodded slowly. “Yeah, that’s right. We’ll set up something for you to do and if you do okay we’ll see about letting you join.”

 

Okay. What do you want me to do?”

 

Not so eager, Ian. It’ll take a while but I’ll let you know what and when.” With that Dan walked casually away back towards the canteen.

 

* * * **

 

Dan was waiting, together with his best mate Graham, when Ian walked out of the college gates. They each fell in to step with him, one on each side.

 

So, Ian, Dan’s been telling us you want to join up, become one of the bad boys.” Graham was the more sensible of the two, the ideas man. Dan was number one but Graham came a close second. He’d be the one coming up with the ‘test’.

 

Ian nodded. “Yeah, sure. I’d love to hang out with you lot.”

 

Like I told you before, you and hundreds of others.” Dan was back in charge. “The question is – have you really got what it takes?”

 

Ian looked up from one to the other, both were scrutinising him sceptically. “What do I have to do to show you then?”

 

Tomorrow. Down by the allotments. Be there at 11 and we’ll tell you what to do.” Graham spoke and Dan nodded in agreement.

 

Behind the swimming pool?” Ian asked.

 

Just be there, okay. We don’t give second chances.” As one, Dan and Graham stopped walking and left Ian to carry on alone.

 

* * * * *

 

Dan had been expected to go out and help with the weekend shopping but he feigned illness.

 

I can’t, Mom. I think I must have that flu thing that’s going around. Sorry and all, but you’ll just have to manage without me today.”

 

Ian had been prepared to put up quite a performance but it wasn’t necessary. He heard the front door shut and minutes later the car pull away. He waited just a couple of minutes in case she’d forgotten something and was coming back, then he headed in to the shower.

 

He didn’t want the guys to think he’d put much effort in to his appearance but he wanted to sort of blend in with them too. Problem was he’d only seen them in uniform so he’d just have to hope his hoodie and jeans wouldn’t be too far out.

 

Ian put his key into his pocket then walked from the house. Luckily the swimming pool and the allotments were the other side of the town to the supermarket that his Mom was heading to. He’d be back home way before she thought to check on him.

 

Saturday morning and the swimming pool was packed. There were cars and kids everywhere. Ian tried to make his way around the building without being noticed but even when he got past that there were a few people at work in their allotments. Hopefully they’d all be too busy to notice him, or to at least not one of them recognize him.

 

And there they were; Dan and Graham, together with Gaz, Declan and Alex. None of them looked as though they cared who should see them. As far as they were concerned, the world was theirs to do with as they wished – they didn’t answer to anyone but themselves.

 

Ian paused. What was he doing? He knew there was no way he belonged with these guys. He should just turn away, head back home. He knew that, but still he kept on walking towards them, trying to stop that insane grin from spreading across his face. Before he reached them a train thundered past on the tracks that ran along on their right.

 

Glad you made it,” said Dan.

 

And on time, too,” commented Graham.

 

Gaz, Declan and Alex gave him a quick glance but said nothing and quickly looked away. Something gave Ian the idea that they weren’t too keen on him being there. Well, no doubt if he passed whatever this test was they’d change their minds.

 

* * * * *

 

So what is it I have to do, Dan? Graham?” Ian wanted to get it over with. He wanted the others to be forced into accepting him.

 

Walk over here with us, Ian, and we’ll tell you on the way.” Graham was going to do the explaining then, so it must be one of his plans.

 

The six of them walked in a spread out group towards the railway track and Ian found himself beginning to feel uneasy. There had been several people killed on this very track, not to far from where they were headed. Accidents, it was presumed, but who could ever be sure.

 

Okay, Ian. Now there’s this game we sometimes play. One of those that gets the old adrenaline going. What we do is we stand here and wait for a train to come in to view. Then we have to wait until the last possible minute and run across the tracks. Whoever waits the longest and still makes it to the other side alive is the winner, the champion, NUMBER 1.”

 

Your test, Ian, is to make it across after the rest of us. You are to be that winner and then you’ll be one of the gang.” Dan smiled, knowing that the challenge they had set would be almost impossible to pass.

 

Ian found himself shaking his head. He didn’t want anything to do with this lunacy but what could he do? “Look, Dan, is there something else I could do. I’ve just got this thing about trains.....”

 

Well then, Ian, that just makes it a bit more of a test for you. And no! It’s this or nothing, and we’ll say goodbye right now and you can just return to your sad and sorry little life.” Dan looked away, showing that he really wasn’t bothered either way.

 

Gaz, ya hear anything yet?” Graham asked, then turned to Ian to explain. “Gaz, here, has this strange ability to hear the trains coming way before the rest of us. He gives us the heads up so we can be nice and ready.”

 

Ian could not believe what he was hearing. They were planning on waiting until the last possible moment to run across in front of a fast moving train just for the thrill of it! It was lunacy. And they expected him to wait, to be the last one across. Could he do it? Would he do it?

 

Before Ian had answered himself, Gaz gave the signal.

 

She’s coming in from the right.”

 

Okay! You clear now, Ian? You be the last one over and you’re in.”

 

The train was in view now, speeding it’s way towards them. All six stood at the edge of the tracks, eyes fixed firmly on the approaching express. The vibration could be felt coming from the tracks themselves. It was getting closer and closer......

 

Alex was the first to run, followed by Declan and Gaz. Graham hung back for another second before beginning his dash. Dan still waited. Was he going to go? And then he was off, legs leaping and flying across the track.

 

Ian stood open-mouthed as his foot just made it past the front far edge of the train. He knew that if he had tried to cross he would never have made it but would be a mangled, chopped up heap scattered across the tracks. Another fatal ‘accident’.

 

They were idiots, reckless fools. They must have scared the hell out of the driver. And what for? A bit of fun. No, if this was what being popular took, he’d rather never be noticed by anyone.

 

What’s the matter, Ian? You too chicken or what?”

 

Ian turned and walked back towards the allotments. He wouldn’t bother answering them. Let them cluck and flap at him all they liked, at least he was still alive. If he sped up a bit he could be back home before his Mom arrived, could help her unload the groceries, tell her he was feeling better. He’d not think about Monday and what might be in store for him then. He’d just try and keep out of their way.


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