The following story was written for the Furious Fiction contest for July 2019.
The guidelines were as follows:
'This month we rode the story train and received a record number of entries for Furious Fiction yet again (we keep breaking those records) – as nearly 1200 writers climbed aboard. It’s official – writers love trains!
Here were the JULY requirements each story had to meet:
The story had to take place on a TRAIN.
The story had to include something FROZEN.
The story had to include three 3-word sentences in a row.
Let it gooooo, let it gooooo – oh yes, um, there were indeed many references to the movie Frozen. There were also a lot of trains riding to a death of some kind, which made for many deep breaths from our judges. And definitely plenty of eyes meeting across crowded, smelly commuter carriages.'
[Bonus points if you can tell what Novel this Flash Fiction is a prequel to...]
By S. W. Stribling
Anna was a bit anxious about visiting her unfaithful brother and his vexed wife. Here she was playing her brother’s keeper yet again. When would he grow up? She thought.
She was staring out the window when a young, attractive man came and sat in the seat across from her. She turned to him, perturbed, getting ready to tell him the seat was taken. Which it was, by Countess Vronskaya. Yet when she saw his dark hair and piercing blue eyes she lost her words. Those eyes looked right through her and she was left with her mouth half-open.
‘Hello, krasavitsa.’ He said.
He was American.
‘You’re a long way from home.’ Anna said.
‘Yes, I am a bit lost.’
‘Lost? How so?’
‘Yes, well, I’ve lost my friend. I’m looking for him. He’s a railway worker on this train.’
‘You’re looking for a railway worker?’
‘Yes. Can I buy you a drink?’
‘Can’t or won’t?’
‘Why are you looking for a railway worker?’
‘For world peace.’
She knew his type. It was an American version of her brother. She hated him but couldn’t deny him. She felt a stirring inside of her that she hadn’t felt for some time. He continued to penetrate her with his stare.
Then something caught his blue eyes.
‘I’ll go get those drinks.’ He said.
‘But, wait, they can…’ But before she could finish he was off. Probably to find a more beautiful woman without her mouth half-open. She knew she shouldn’t, but she regretted not being more available.
She was married. How could she? She felt ashamed.
Countess Vronskaya returned and took her seat.
Was this man just a dream?
She brushed off the image of him, but the feeling of lust remained. She would surely be vulnerable for the next day or so. She would have to be careful.
The train chugged along for what felt like an eternity. She stared out the window again at the frozen ground outside. Russia is as cold as my heart.
Then she heard what sounded like footsteps, then a loud thud, as if something heavy fell on top of the train. She looked around to see if anybody else had noticed, but it seemed no one did.
She was losing it. She needed to get off this train soon and to somewhere familiar.
The train started to slow. We must be getting close.
The train came to an almost immediate stop. Too sudden to be a normal stop.
Then she heard screams outside and saw people running frantically past her window towards the front of the train.
She disembarked the train and went to see what had happened. The crowd was heavy. She didn’t see anything. Anything but the man from the train walking away from the scene rather than towards it, like everyone else.
What is going on?
‘A man has just fallen in front of the train.’ She heard people muttering in horror.