1

Train Wreck

She sat on bench on the train trestle waiting for the eight am train to arrive and take her to her new home. Her Godfather sat on one side her, Godmother on the other. Why couldn't she just stay with them? The question seemed to echo through her head. In its wake, another question repeated as well, where's Jason? Jason Sullivan had been her best friend since they were in grade school. It wasn't like Jason not to be there for her, especially at something like this. A vague bit of worry for his well-being assed itself to her already twisting stomach.

The sound of the approaching train woke her from her thoughts. "It looks like that time Noels." Her Godfather, Fire chief Julio Marquez stood as the train came up. Without warning her icy fa├žade fell, washed away by her tears. The warm loving hugs from her extended family were too short. The noise of the train was too loud. She didn't hear her name being called.

"I love you Uncle Julio, I love you Aunt Maria. I'll come you visit I promise." Noelle spoke tearfully as she started to pick up her bag. Straightening looked down the platform and saw him. His muscles rippled under the tight Chicago fire department tee shirt. It was Jason. He had made it, after all!

"NOELIE!" His deep husky voice called out her name. The aching in her heart doubled now that he was here. Within seconds his 6'5" 225 pound frame had her locked in a bear hug. "I love you Noelie."

"Jason." Noelle wrapped her arms tight around his neck. "I don't want to go." The older they got the more drawn to each other they were. Jason was 19 and Noelle was 17.

His words came out in a warm, comforting breath on her cold neck. "One year honey and you can come back. One year and mom said you can move in with us. She's working on your room already."

The conductor made a last call for the train. Her sobbing was contained as he sat her down. He carried her bags to the conductor who was waiting to help her.

"Noelie." Jason jumped on the train even thought it was just seconds from leaving. Ignoring the conductor's frown, he reached for her. "I'm in love with you." Jason took her in his arms and kissed her. Noelle found her body reacting to the realization of the fact she was in love with him. The low burning in her abdomen grew stronger as the train began to move. "Call me when you get there, I love you Noels. I'm waiting for you no one else."

He jumped from the moving train and she stood watching as she was being carried farther and farther away from Jason, from everything that has been her life. Finally, realizing that she was still standing frozen in the aisle, Noelle made her way to her seat. She looked out the window, not really focusing on the passing scenery. Her whole being was alternately in pain and then went numb as her mind moved from one event to another. So much has happened in such a short time, it had become almost overwhelming as she took it in. The noises of the train car poked at her pain even more and she sought to escape her thoughts by noticing her surroundings.

The family in front of her had a little boy who played peek a boo with her for a while. He was a cute little thing, big brown eyes and light blonde hair, his smile was bright even if he was missing his front tooth. After a good hour of their play the little boy rubbed his eyes and looked at Noelle. "Night night" the sweet voice mumbled as his mother smiled with appreciation to Noelle.

Trying to avoid the happy family, her gaze drifted to the front of a car. There was also a couple in the front of the car were newlyweds it was obvious the man was still in his particle tux and the woman's hair was in a elegant style with faint reminders of their exit, the two were lost in themselves not aware of the rest of the world around them. Watching the two made her heart ache even more. She could just imagine what it would have been like if her dad was alive and she didn't have to leave. The millions of kisses she could have shared with Jason. The memories of his prom and the hundreds of camping trips they would go on together or with her father, the sporting events, but what she would miss the most was the long cross country runs that her and Jason would go on together.

It was hard leaving her child hood home. Her memories, the neighbors that she grew to love, her friends at school, and the track team. Her past washed over her like a massive wave of sorrow. Most of all she would miss her extended family at the firehouse. Her god parents, Helen who was Jason's mother and a surrogate mother of sorts to Noelle, Danny, and Savannah Sullivan Jason's little brother and sister. An, of course the true love of her life, Jason. Hidden tears burned inside as she focused on the rhythmic sound of the train. Click Clack Click Clack. Before she new it Noelle was asleep exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster she'd been riding.

She wasn't aware how much time has passed, but suddenly she was jerked awake. With no time to react, Noelle was thrown from her seat as the train's breaks slid across the iron tracks blending with the thunderous sound of another oncoming train. Something was terribly wrong. Opening her mouth to scream, her whole world suddenly became a blur of sound and movement as she felt herself being thrown through the air. The rhythmic sound that once lulled her to sleep was replaced by the sound of screams, explosions, and twisting metal. Just when she thought it would never end, everything went silent and still.

Noelle felt a burning pain in her lower abdomen. Blood flowed from her forehead into her eyes. She blinked trying to clear her vision. She was confused at everything as the pain over took her. Was she awake or dreaming? Surely a dream couldn't be this painful. A blurred image appeared before her. "Help me." She moaned, her lips unwillingly responding to the sluggish commands of her brain.

"What is your name?" The image demanded of her. She licked her dry lips and managed to whimper. "Noelle."

"Noelle? Are you related to Gray Larsson?" The image asked.

"He's my Grandfather." She said in painful cry.

The image sneered. "Good bye Noelle, tell Mommy and Daddy Hello." Mommy? Daddy? Was she dying? Why was the person leaving? Or maybe he'd never really even been there. These questions floated through her brain, as everything went dark.

******

The icy rain pelted down on the wreckage, droplets of water working their way through the twisted metal and falling on her face, causing her to wake up. Noelle strained her senses trying determine what was happening around her. The smell of smoke and diesel fuel filled her nose and mouth. Licking her dry, cracked lips, she noticed the metallic taste of blood on her tongue. Beyond the falling rain, the faint sound of voices reached her ears and hope soared inside her. As she heared the sounds of the voices and footsteps above her, she cautiously attempted to move, aware of the pieced of wreckage precariously balanced above her. Her body ached and she tried to speak. A hand resting on a piece of metal above her. It was large, tan and rugged. Struggling, she worked her arm free and reached for the hand. Reaching, stretching, the tips of her once finely manicured fingers managed to lie on his knuckles.

"SURVIVOR! WE HAVE A SURVIVOR!" His voice was husky and loud as he held her hand. "Hold on Miss we're coming."