A lone train whistle blared in the distance.
Heather Graham hefted her bag onto her shoulder, and checked her watch. The sun was already going down, and she’d been stuck at a supported study class at school, not to mention that the teacher hadn’t been there for half the lesson, meaning she was only just getting home at seven in the afternoon.
She was fourteen years old, with dark chestnut hair that pooled around her shoulders, and dark blue eyes. She was attractive, by many opinions (including her own).
She was already late in getting home, and didn’t have her phone with her to call her mother for a lift home. Instead, she decided to take a short-cut across the train tracks which ran through the fields by her home.
She’d known since childhood that the train tracks were dangerous, as trains still ran on them, hurtling past at high speeds. Hell, people had even died on the tracks before, most notably a boy from her school. She could barely remember his name though. His death had become a legend, surrounded by rumours of ghosts, superheroes and Cthulu.
Heather was safety conscious enough, in that she at least checked the rails for vibrations before crossing them.
When she was halfway across, she heard someone talking. A boy.
“Don’t cross the tracks.” He said, his voice coming from behind her. Heather turned slowly, and saw a teenage boy, roughly her age, with dark hair and brilliant green eyes. He was standing away from the tracks, unmoving, just watching her.
“Who are you?” She asked.
“Don’t cross the tracks.” He said again, bluntly. “Don’t do it. You’ll regret it.”
“Thanks, but I need to get home.” She said, wanting to be away from this creepy kid. She hadn’t even heard him approaching her.
“Just don’t cross the tracks.” He said. Heather turned, and as soon as she did, he seemed to vanish. He couldn’t have ran away anywhere, there was nowhere nearby for him to hide, and yet he had simply vanished.
She put it out of her mind, and continued her journey home via the shortcut.
She arrived home as late as she assumed she would, and received the usual verbal assault her mother gave her for coming home late.
A chorus of ‘You should have called’, followed by three verses of ‘You don’t care about my feelings’, with an epilogue of ‘I wish I never had any children’.
And after the poetic, yet riveting recitation provided by her mother, Heather retired to bed, grateful to finally get some sleep after such a hard day’s work.
The next morning, when Heather woke up, she had overslept by twenty minutes, meaning she would have to run to school, or face being late.
In order to avoid being reprimanded, Heather decided to cut across the railway tracks like she had done the night before. Her incident with the boy had been almost completely forgotten.
As she dashed across the tracks, she suddenly found her foot caught between the rails and the sleepers. She tugged her foot, but it stayed firmly stuck. She dropped her bag and pulled at her foot with both hands, but to no avail.
A lone train horn blared in the distance…
* * *
Officer Alex Price and Constable Robert Mellow stepped out of their shared police car, and took a deep breath.
“I hate this part.” Robert said. “I hate, hate, hate, hate this part of the job.” He hissed, clenching his fists. He’d been part of the metropolitan police force for almost seventeen years… and informing someone a relative was dead hadn’t gotten any easier.
Alex Price was young, and new to the job. This was probably his first time. He looked white as a ghost with nervousness.
“I’ll do the talking. You just sit there and look sympathetic.” Robert informed him. Alex weakly nodded.
The two of them marched up to the front door of the semi-detatched house, and rang the bell. Minutes later, a woman answered the door. She looked panicked.
“Yes?” She asked them.
“Are you Mrs Graham?” Robert asked her. She nodded slowly.
“A-and you called about your d-daughter, Heather?” Alex asked, shaking with nervousness now. The woman nodded again.
“Yes, I’m her mother. What’s happened to her?” She asked, fearing the worst.
Her fears were confirmed.
“I’m afraid your daughter… has been killed in a horrible accident.” Robert told her. He hated himself every time he had to use those words. He felt like he was punching this woman in the stomach with his words.
“She was hit by a train, apparently on her way to school, early yesterday morning.” He explained. “Apparently her foot was caught between the rails… and the train couldn’t stop in time.” He said. Alex was silent, but looked like he wanted to vomit.
Mrs Graham couldn’t speak. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. Her brain was just shut down from shock.
“W-we’re very sorry for your loss.” Alex whispered. Robert could sympathise with the lad. He’d been the same way the first time he’d had to tell someone their beloved relative was dead.
* * *
Robert and Alex climbed back into their car, both hating themselves.
“It comes with the job, son.” Robert said. “You never get used to it, but it does get easier with time.” He told him. Alex was still silent. Robert decided to break the tension with a joke.
“Stay silent if you’ll pay for the coffee.”
“I’m not paying.” Alex mumbled. At least the lad wasn’t in shock.
“You know…” Robert said, slowly. “I remember hearing a story, a few years ago. Some kid tried to cross the tracks, just like this girl. His name was Billy Brand. His foot got caught in the tracks, and the train couldn’t stop in time.”
“How do they know his foot got caught?” Alex asked him.
“Because his foot was still caught in the tracks, but his body was plastered all over the front of the 9:05.” Robert replied, as he pushed down the accelerator, driving away from the Graham household.
* * *
Thomas Paul was on his way home from school. He’d finished his final exam of the year, and he was finally ready to kick back and relax.
Seven months ago, he’d heard a story that some girl from his school got hit by a train while using the tracks as a shortcut.
Since then, people had been told to avoid the tracks, but it was the middle of summer, he was tired, he was sweating, and he wanted to go home. He decided to cross the tracks.
As he stepped over the sleepers, he heard someone take a step behind him, crunching the grass underfoot.
Thomas turned, and saw a girl, roughly fourteen years old, with dark chestnut hair pooling around her shoulders, and dark blue eyes.
“Don’t cross the tracks.” She said to him.
A lone train whistle blared in the distance.