Prologue:

Dismal grays and blacks merged together in a blur of mourners. A closed oak casket sat near a deep hole, prepared to make its final journey. A bouquet of roses graced the cover of the shiny wood. As the crowd of mourners cleared, one lone figure clothed completely in black remained next to the dreary reminder of loss.

Dry-eyed the young girl stood silently next to the last link to the only family she had ever known. Without saying a word she stretched out her delicate hand and traced the grain of wood on the coffin. Time seemed to be standing still; there was no moving forward and no going back. She could not remember what she had done before this. It was if all her mind had been swept away in the grief of her mother's death.

A deep shudder shook her thin form, and she wrapped her arms about her waist. The pastor had said to take all the time she needed, but that would not be possible, her train left at six o'clock. So little time to grieve before being thrust into new surroundings, for she would be sent to live with the maiden aunts she had never met.

"Leah?" the soft voice could only belong to the reverend's young wife. The woman's soft footsteps rustled the leaves that blanketed the ground.

Leah closed her eyes and hugged herself tighter.

"You need to finish packing, you have to be at the station by five-thirty," she reminded quietly.

Leah clenched her jaw. Though she was young she was not a child. "I know," was her soft answer. With one last touch of the gleaming wood, she bid goodbye to her mother. No glance back would be acceptable in her mind, if she allowed herself to remember, to dwell, the future would be so much harder to face.

Her quick steps made the distance to the parish shorter than normal, but the warmth of the small home did nothing to raise her dismal spirits. Leaving the reverend's wife in the kitchen, she hurried up the short flight of stairs to the small guest room she had been occupying. The home she had shared with her mother had been foreclosed on the day after her mother's death. All of the things she had managed to save lay carelessly about the little room. Almost everything was hers, but she had gotten her mother's silver cased hand mirror and the hair combs that had been passed through her mother's families for generations.

With careful motions she wrapped the mirror and combs in one of her shirts and laid them in the bottom of the worn suitcase.

……………………………

The train station was nearly empty when the reverend parked the car and Leah stepped out onto the wooden platform. The breeze blew in strong gusts and you could feel the electricity that came before a storm. Shivering, she pulled her wool coat closer and tugged her beret down closer to her ears. The time had come to board the ominous train and journey into the lands unknown.

Without a word the reverend carried her suitcase over to the small wooden bench and set it down. "Wait here, I'll go confirm your tickets," he said in his deep, low voice.

Leah nodded and cautiously sat down beside her suitcase. Even though she hated to leave, she had to look forward. She would simply think of this as a new adventure. Her mother had always said Leah would do more things in a day than she would do in her entire life.

"The train should be on time, do you need me to stay?" the reverend's voice drew her from her thoughts.

Leah shook her head.

"Your aunts will take good care of you," his words were supposed to be encouraging, but Leah could hear the hesitance in his voice.

"Thank you," Leah replied quietly.

The reverend nodded, turned, and walked back to his car. Moments later the engine roared to life and he drove away. Meanwhile Leah looked towards the tracks that would carry her onward in this new adventure.


I've had this story in my head for a while now, and I finally decided to try and write it. It will have somewhat of a Christmas theme, but I'm not going to focus on it. I hope ya'll enjoy and please review:)