Elliot Asher sat on the backseat of the train’s only carriage, wondering where The Trainman was taking for them for their final stop. Not that he was in any hurry to get off. He could comfortably sit for hours listening to the soothing sound of a train’s wheels powering along the tracks and was as equally fascinated by every cog, wheel and lever as he was by watching the mountains, lakes and rivers through the windows surrounding him. As the two of them hopped back on to the train at their previous stop, The Trainman informed Elliot that they were now heading towards their third and final stop on their journey.
The train had arrived at Greenvale Station at 8:32am last Saturday and Elliot carried his luggage, including some of his toy blocks, his drawing pack and some clothes, into the carriage. He was expecting to see a train filled with people, just like the ones he had seen in the pictures. However, once the train signalled it was ready for departure by making all of the relevant noises, The Trainman opened the glass door separating the two of them from each other, briefly introduced himself and told Elliot that, at this stage, he would be the only passenger on the train. When Elliot thanked the Trainman for the information, he took a step back and responded by saying, “If only I were half as polite as you when I was your age, young Elliot!”
They had been on their way for only a few moments when The Trainman playfully shooed Elliot towards the back of the carriage, encouraging him to take the backseat. “You kids are never happy anywhere else, trust me,” he commented. Although he liked to think that he was more grown-up than most other kids, Elliot chose to follow The Trainman’s advice as the backseat looked more comfortable than any of the others. He wasn’t there for long before the train started pulling up to the first station. Once the train had come to a complete halt, The Trainman flicked four switches on the console in front of him before opening the door and waving for Elliot to follow him off the train. Elliot was surprised when he walked on to the platform to find his grandfather waiting for him. He didn’t get to see his grandfather very often these days, so the two of them took advantage of the short time they had. The Trainman waited by the front of the train while Elliot and his grandfather sat on the wooden seat on the platform, talking and laughing. After some time, the Trainman looked at his watch and blew his whistle. Elliot’s grandfather nodded at the Trainman and he held Elliot’s hand as they walked back towards the carriage. Before hopping back on to the train, Elliot’s grandfather knelt down and whispered something into Elliot’s ear. Elliot smiled, kissed his grandfather on the cheek and walked back on to the carriage.
The mountains in the background appeared to move much slower than the trees and grass lining the tracks. Watching this phenomenon through the windows of the train kept Elliot occupied until their next stop. This time, Elliot was standing and waiting when the Trainman walked over to open the doors and the two of them stepped out on to the platform together. Elliot squinted when he saw a baseball team wearing a blue and white uniform waiting for him. “We’d heard you were practising your bat and ball skills, young Elliot, so we thought we’d give you a decent chance to show us your skills!” The Trainman announced before laughing and heading back to his post by the train. The baseball team took Elliot outside of the station and onto a grass field, where they played numerous games for longer than Elliot had ever played before. Elliot was sweating and puffing by the time The Trainman’s whistle blew, but he found the energy to shake each of the player’s hands before speaking with The Trainman and finding his seat.
There was a greater distance between their second and final stop, so Elliot caught up on some sleep; the gentle rocking of the train helping him drift off with ease. When he woke up, they were inside a tunnel. It wasn’t dark though. At least, it didn’t feel dark. There were fairy lights strewn across the ceiling, making it look as though they were travelling through time. The Trainman turned and smiled at Elliot. “Rise and shine, young Elliot!” The Trainman said. “Here we are at your final destination!” He pulled the lever to his left and the train started to slow. Elliot was less eager to leave the train this time and The Trainman had to prompt him to gather his luggage even though the door to the platform was open. Elliot paused before stepping over the gap between the train and the platform and stared at The Trainman. After a moment, The Trainman held out his hand and Elliot shook it. “The pleasure was all mine, young Elliot!” Elliot walked off the train and on to the platform, where he looked up and smiled at all of his friends and family waiting there, just for him.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.