CHAPTER II- TRAIL BLAZER


Onward to you, shiny city! Such splendors she never imagined could be so pretty. Surprisingly she never gets tired of the spires and sparkly walls no matter how often she visits. And she visits a lot. Well, every time it catches her whimsy. Which is a lot. Such fantastic streets, nothing’s clear and nothing’s resolute, simple colors shimmering around while she shimmies her way around to get the city goers to join her in her revelry. Such an empire! She is always amazed, and at the hermits and vagabonds that hang out on the edges! Such marvelous entities. Almost forgotten, but she sees them. Of course she does, she always goes to visit them! She’s brought gifts and they’re good ones.

She woke up this morning a little late to start, not really sure where she is but she knows how to get to the train by heart no matter where she is so there’s that comfort that she’s got a way to get to where she wants to be; not everyone in Dustland is so lucky. Poor waifs! Poor ghosts! They’re so lost they don’t know where they’ve come from. She tries and she tries to get them to remember, wake up! You’re fading! But they can only live in the now and hope that the now doesn’t forget them, either. She hasn’t forgotten. Not Sam, not the old coot at the corner of Warm Fork and Ravenden, not the blind old bat who sleeps in the sewers. She remembers.

Today she ended up in between a bridge and nothing. It’s usually that way. Something interesting, and something nothing. The bridge is not bridging anything, just standing in this nowhere and not doing a very good job of it. The asphalt has gaps she could fall through easily and there’s big, buzzy cracks that raise some concern to those in its proximity. Bye, bridge, she waves it farewell.

She starts walking and closes her eyes. Concentrates on the inside like she’s so used to doing, train, train, I have a date with you today and you’re taking me amazing places! What an adventure. What a bright day.

And it is bright. Even though her eyes are closed, she can see through to the horizon and the mountain range beside. She sighs longingly toward the mountains and feels she’s closer to them as ever; although they’re markedly in the distance as they always have been. Oh, the train! She imagines she can hear its proud horn greeting her and the tracks leading straight to where she wants to go. What a ride. I even made FRIT some goggles! Oh, he’ll have a fit when he sees through them.

And, so, the train tracks show the longer she walks, sand trying to bury them and them trying to bury the sand. And, yes, the horn sounds shortly after that. She smiles, delighted as she always is to take the train, her best and longest friend, the Trail Blazer, making itself useful in Dustland for twice as long as she’s been here.

She waves and waves, her bags in the crook of her elbow, weighing everything and nothing all the same. They hold her treasures; her wishes and secrets. She loves these bags that hold her things.

The train is loud and bright and amazingly fast, and as it slows the car door stops right in front of her to step expediently, her lucky beeline only up to fate. FRIT glides on tracks in the ceiling, the only addition to the Trail Blazer since it was introduced to Dustland in the beginning. Good morning, Sunshine, where are you headed today? FRIT asks in the typical robot tone she loves to hear.

The city! She exclaims, climbing the steps jovially, precariously pulling her bags through the opening. Take me to the city that shines, that glows, that is so aliiive! And she twirls in the cabin aisle as FRIT cans a laugh and doesn’t ask her for a ticket. I made you something, FRIT! She smiles at him and puts her things down to rummage in one bag, then another, then maybe that one; she can’t remember which one she put it in, but wait here please, I swear I’m about to find it! And she is. And she does. She pulls out a heap of orange plastic; shakes it out and puts the Os around FRIT’s eye holes and steps back to admire him. Gleeful, she asks, what do you see?

FRIT exclaims a little ooOoo and swivels around to look out the window. FRIT laughs his canned laugh and tells her he will never be lost again nor miss a passenger that needs him. He can see it all.

She smiles her wide smile again and says, hey, can I ride on the roof?

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