Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wrong Stop

The moment she stepped off the train, she knew she had gotten off at the wrong stop, but the engine had already started away and the conductor shook his head sternly as she yelled and waved her arms. Nothing looked familiar here, except for a few old relatives she hadn't seen in some time.

“Catherine!” one of them cried, an uncle on her father's side.

Yes, it really was him. And her uncle's son was there as well. They smiled at her and waved her over. She was glad to see them, but why were they here? Why was she here?

“Uncle Ray, what a delightful surprise!” she embraced her uncle, who wore an over-large sweater and smelled like pipe tobacco.

He held her hard and patted her on the back before letting go.

“And Edmund, so nice to see you as well.” He embraced her cousin, who smelled like the sea.

“How long has it been?” said Edmund.

She looked him over and scarcely recognized him. They had been close once as children, but aside from his gentle smile, he bore little resemblance to the young man she'd known then. Of course, she probably looked no more familiar to him.

“Too long,” she said, still trying to get her bearings.

“We were just going for dinner,” said Ray, “why don't you join us?”

She still couldn't figure out where she was or how she had ended up here (or how they had gotten here, for that matter), but food sounded good.

“I'd be happy to, uncle. Lead the way.”

He smiled and placed her hand in his. The three of them walked away from the train station, toward a small village just down the road. It looked nice. She hoped it was.

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