Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-31

The Adventures of Jack and Red.

This is the thirty-first in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

  (The wait .. ) .. is over.

"That doesn't sound like any train I've ever heard." Jack said as he stood and looked up the trail towards the sound. The sound was coming from the direction of [ I can't remember the name of that town. I have to put together a glosary of places and people. - author ] They all assumed it was a train because it is coming from the same direction that other train came from all those years before.

They were all on their feet now and moving towards the sound.

"Guys?" Billy said softly. "Look at the bridge."

They all turned back and looked at the bridge. It was shimmering and transforming in front of their eyes from a rusty old erector set of iron beams into a finely sculptured and graceful piece of architecture which at once reminded you of a river flowing through a pine grove. Their jaws dropped at it's beauty and elegant form. It formed two distinct passages as it crossed the river. The smaller one on the right was carpeted with what looked like grass and was separated from the larger passage on the left by a netting of cables that were obviously designed to look like vines of grape or some sort of ivy. And through the center of the large passage there ran a track. Not the train track that they remembered from the past, made up of iron rails on top of wooden ties. This track was one continuous piece of some substance - perfectly smooth and it shimmered in the morning sunlight. There was a flat rail-like track on each side and in the middle a raised tubular track that held about a foot above the ground by a central 'stalk'. This tube was completely smooth and about 6-8 inches in diameter. Their eyes followed this track as it appeared - past their feet - and around towards the direction of the sound.

This sound was more of a humming sound than the rumble; typically associated with a train.  And it grew steadily in intensity as -- whatever it was -- got closer. To the left of the track - as they walked towards the sound - there materialized a low platform upon which a large tractor was parked. There was nothing unusual about the tractor. In it's cab they could see a man with his back turned to them. He was apparently waiting, like them,  for the 'train'. Behind the tractor and next to the track was a wagon holding two large metal containers. The one nearest looked like stainless steel tank and the far one was covered in a drab fabric (like canvas).

Then they saw the train pop into view around the bend in the track. It was like nothing they'd ever seen before. It was a sleek aerodynamic bullet shape that was silver, green, and blue in color. Again, reminding your eyes of a river flowing gracefully through a brightly lit woods. The train became completely quiet as it pulled along side the platform with the forth of fifth car along side of the wagon.  The body of the train was so smooth that it was hard to tell where one car ended and another began. It looked like a giant snake as it wound back out of sight around the bend.

Billy started walking towards the train.  The others just stood there, transfixed.

The train whistle sounded once. Then the side of the train raised up and robot arms quickly moved the containers from the wagon to the train and then replaced them with matching containers from the train. It all took less than 30 seconds and the side of the train closed again.

The train horn sounded twice and it began moving towards them as they stood next to the tracks. Billy began running towards the train. He waived his arms and he was yelling something.

As the train started moving, the track next to where they were standing began humming loudly - as if to warn them to back away. The train picked up speed quickly (quicker than you could imagine) and it was bearing down on them. Just before the train got to where they were standing (all deer in the headlights) a loud thumping sound came from the track and some sort of force knocked them back and away from the track. It was as if someone pushed each of them out of the way of a speeding car (which was exactly what it was meant to be) and as they stumbled and struggled to keep from falling, the train whizzed by with a low hum.

It was longer than they had imagined and by the time the tail end got to them it must have been going over 60 miles per hour. Even at this speed it still seemed to take forever for all of it to go by. As they stood, still a little shaky from the push, they watched as the end of the rain passed then, move onto the bridge and out of sight (the other end of the bridge ran directly into a wooded area).

They turned to watch as it went by and as they watched, the bridge slowly reverted back to the old rusty ironworks and the track vanished into the old wooden planking.

Jack turned around and looked back up the trail. "Where is the tractor?" He said.

 JJ turned to look. "Gone," he sighed,  "just like before."

"I wanted to get on." Billy said softly, as he began walking towards the bridge; "I wanted to go with it but it didn't stop long enough for me to even try." He left the others standing and wandered along after the train. "I wanted get on!" He shouted towards the bridge and the train that had left him behind.

"I don't think it was a passenger train, Billy" Jack said. "I didn't see any windows, did you?"

Billy didn't answer. Maybe he was lost in his own thoughts or perhaps he was too far away to hear. 

"I didn't see any sign of people; either passengers or crew." Red chipped in. 

"I didn't even see any windows in the front - on the engine. No windshield or anything." Jack said.

"Wow, that was some train, alright. I've never seen anything like it." JJ said.

JJ began walking along the path towards the spot where the tractor had been parked along the side of the tracks.

"Well it makes sense, doesn't it?" Jack said. "If Billy was right about how the universe was on his last ride, then it makes sense that there would be some astounding progress made in the technology of transportation. Look at how much more sophisticated cars have gotten in our universe."

"Yeah," Red agreed, "just think if they put as much effort and money into developing their trains as we have put into our cars; who knows what great things they could come up with."

"I think we just got a glimpse of that." Jack laughed.

"I guess so." Red agreed.

 Jack and Red follow JJ and when they get to where the siding had been,  they begin search the ground for some evidence of the tractor and wagon (or even the  train tracks). There is nothing to see. The ground along the path is the same here as it is anywhere - a pea gravel path (actually two distinct paths) bordered by newly-mown grass - about 3 feet on either side. And then long grass and weeds that disolve into brush and trees. Just a normal snowmobile/bike/hiking path.

Convinced there was nothing to find here, they headed back to the bridge.
Billy was standing in the middle of the bridge, staring at the trail as it disappeared into the woods; as if doing so would bring the train back.  After a while he turned and walked back to where JJ, Jack and Red were sitting on the side of the bridge. He said; "There must be passenger trains. Wouldn't you think Mr P?"

"I can't imagine there aren't." Jack agreed. "Maybe they're on a different schedule."

"How do we know that wasn't a passenger train? "JJ asked. "Just because we didn't see windows doesn't mean they weren't there, you know."

"Good point." Jack said. "A lot of the tinting we do to windows makes them look like something else."

"Maybe this was just a freight stop for the farm and we need to be at some sort of depot if we want to get on for a ride."

"Who says we want to ride" Jack said. "I didn't think that was part of the plan."

"I promised Gwen that neither Red nor I would even consider getting on this thing." JJ said. "Both Red and I had to promise before she would let us come along on this little adventure."

"Me too, I'm afraid. " Jack said. "I had to promise Marge."

"Well, I didn't promise anyone. " Billy said. "And I'm going to find a way - especially now that I've seen what the train has become I have to go. You know that don't you? " He looked at Jack like he would have an answer.

"Yes." Jack said. "We all sort of figured that."

Billy sat on down on the ironworks on the other side of the bridge - facing the others. His head in his hands.

[ Click here to continue to part XXXII ]