Where all tracks lead (a prompt short story)

traintrack Tien-Chien Chen
“How have I never seen this before?” Jon picked his way carefully through the undergrowth, making sure not to put his feet through the gaps between the wooden struts. He wasn’t overly familiar with the hill but he was pretty certain he’d have noticed a railroad track.

“Because you’ve never been here before.” The figure sounded frustrated as they stomped off ahead. He seemed to know exactly how the terrain lay underfoot and didn’t need to look where he was going. Jon took his eyes of the floor for a minute to study his guide again. When he had woken up in the middle of nowhere, the person had loomed over him and offered him a hand up. There was something odd about their whole appearance, a strange phosphorescence seemed to surround them. It was hard to look directly at him. HIs voice was strangely ethereal too and Jon found himself supressing the notion that perhaps he was not quite human.

“I have,” Jon countered, his foot catching the edge of the rail and nearly sending him sprawling to the floor. His guide looked round again, his eyes rolling. His clothes were an icy blue-white colour, not a blemish to be seen, not even around the trousers legs from the dirt they had been travelling through.

“Oh well in that case, have at it Sir, you know the way,” the figure sat down on the floor cross-legged and waved a hand into the distance.

“Are you this pissy to everyone or have I warranted some kind of special treatment?”

Finally, the figure on the floor smiled a wicked grin and shrugged. So that was how to get through to him Jon noted.

“Look, I don’t know how I even woke up out here, and I don’t know where this railroad came from and I have no idea who the hell you are so perhaps you could fill in a few details for me,” Jon folded his arms over his chest.

“You didn’t wake up out here. This railroad has always been here, but you’ve never been here before,” he shrugged. “Details.”

Jon cursed under his breath.

“You need to look closer,” the man was up in an instant and right beside him, waving upwards.

“I’ve had enough of this,” Jon turned around. “I’m going back down to the town.” He started moving down the hill, not sure if his companion was still following him.

He kept walking in silence, the sounds of birds above the only break in the awkward quiet. His foot sank into a muddy patch. He wasn’t wearing the right footwear for this. Moisture had soaked up his trouser leg, these were his good jeans. He growled to himself. When he looked up, a gap in the trees gave him a view out to the town below. Finally. He paused, frowning.

“See it now?” The voice came from over his left shoulder. His companion was back, sitting on a low branch of the nearby tree swinging his legs to and fro. Jon turned back to the town. The buildings were in the wrong places.

“It’s back to front,” he traced the positions. “Mirrored.” He spun back to the figure in the tree who was currently admiring his nails. “Where the hell am I?”

“Now you are asking the right questions.


2 thoughts on “Where all tracks lead (a prompt short story)

  1. Finally managed to get a chance to read your entry. Great ending, but now I need to know where he is too, & who that guy is!

    Thanks for joining.

    Liked by 1 person

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