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We didn’t mind that it was rather rainy and dreary outside, as were blissfully tucked inside the comforts of our old home. I was grading English papers at our old but elegantly crafted hand-me-down dining room table. My husband was in the livingroom watching a soccer game between two countries we had never visited. The two rooms flow from one to the other and are only separated by furniture, so we were able to enjoy casual conversation. We were halfway through a bottle of Trader Joe’s $5 wine, and at least one of us was contemplating dinner. Take-out or cook at home is always the subject of great debate in our household. I didn’t care what we chose, because during dinner, I planned to tell him I was expecting our first child.

Suddenly, the room went silent. I reluctantly looked up from an essay written by a rather imaginative student and I noticed my husband was gripping the remote. He was now rigid, as opposed to the oh so familiar stature that says, “I have a drink and I’m watching the game” .

“What’s up?”, I asked.

He stood up and moved with great purpose to one of the windows in the livingroom, “Did you not hear that?” He opened our rather colorful venetian blinds and looked out. “No, I didn’t. What was it?” Just then I heard the unmistakable whistle of a train. We looked at each other and then we both dove for the front door.

Once on the front porch, we noticed the dreary afternoon had swiftly shifted to a dreary night. The air was so thick, I thought the moisture might immediately do away with my early formed wrinkles. We could barely see each other, much less anything beyond. I would have been completely spooked had I not thought the setting was so completely cliché.

Logically thinking, we live nowhere near a rail, and could not imagine how we could have heard something like that. We discussed how we had lived in this neighborhood for years, and we discussed how we had never heard such a thing.

Our conversation came to a halt when we heard the several short whistles again. This time the sound was so much louder than before.

I gasped, and looked at my husband, “Call your mother!” She lives on the street behind us, and I thought she could probably explain. She knows everything that goes on here as she’s an active participant in every possible neighborhood committee and has never failed to remind me of this fact. He dialed, and they exchanged the typical mother/mama’s boy greeting. Then he launched into the cause of our confusion. He said yes a few times and then he said no a few times more. He promised he would call her tomorrow and then he hung up the phone.

He looked at me and sighed, “She thinks we’ve had too much wine. She said there aren’t any tracks around us for at least 25 miles.”

I might have agreed with her, but then it came again in several short spurts, and I swear through the fog and through the thick trees ahead of us, I spied a faint and cloudy light. I looked to my husband, and the look in his eyes suggested he saw the exact same thing.

He regained his composure almost immediately and said, “OK, I’m going to get the camera. You wait here for me.” I laughed, “I don’t think so. I’m completely freaked out. We’re sticking together, babe.” He also laughed and threw his arm around my shoulder, “Well, we always do everything together. Why in God’s name would we stop now?” I nodded and once again, we dove for the door.

Once inside, I almost peed myself because I heard the sound again. Only this time… I swear to God… the whistle erupted from our front yard! We both fell to the floor and covered our heads with our arms. It was total instinct because the rumble of that mystery train shook the foundation of our house. Our wedding portrait fell from the fireplace mantle, and the gorgeous crystal frame broke in what must have been 150 pieces. I stifled a scream.

“Oh. My. God.”, my husband whispered as he lowered his arms from his head snf pulled me close to him. I imagine we looked ridiculous lying on the living room floor, gripping one another as though we were about to sink with the Titanic. We held each other tightly, face to face, and said nothing more. I think we were both so scared and in complete shock because our realm of vision became illuminated by lights protruding from the front lawn and we heard another whistle from this mysterious source. Then we heard the unmistakable sound of breaks. We looked at each other with bright eyes and if it were possible, I am positive we hugged each other even tighter.

The last thing I remember hearing before everything turned black was the urgent rattle of the front door knob.

Somewhere, in the very near fog, a conductor was heard saying, “Attention! Ladies and Gentlemen, we are experiencing a slight delay. For safety reasons, we took a slight detour to 2010. We appreciate your patience. We will continue our tour in 15 minutes”

Somewhere, near the back of the train, a woman stammered, “I-I h-heard the couple t-they stopped t-to bring aboard,” she paused to presumably regain composure, “produced that tyrant-you-know-who that caused, well, you-know-what.” Another woman gasped and said, “Mona! Changing history is strictly against code. We could all be executed for this!” A man piped in rather loudly, “How do you know? If we kill those two, our entire reality will change!”

And immediately, nobody could understand what anyone else said because they all had something to say and they were all saying it at exactly the same time.


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