/wild amazon warrior yells/ IT’S NOT MIDNIGHT YET. I’VE DONE IT. Also, (does it even need saying at this point?) 500 words on the dot.
She hates the sound the train makes when it goes through tunnels, hates the way the compartment goes dark, hates how the little kid three rows down shrieks every single time, hates how for a few seconds you can’t see the light at the end and it feels like she’s being sucked through a tube that gets smaller and smaller until there’s no air left and-
She hates the whooshing noise and the way the other passengers brace themselves as if for impact.
Other than the tunnels, she has no room for complaint. Her seat is next to the window, the elderly man who sat next to her at the beginning arrived at his stop long ago, and for the most part the service has been excellent. Everything is going swimmingly. There is no reason for her to be anxious about Travis or her mother or the shop. None.
No reason, she tells herself. No reason at all. This is just a visit home. It’s been a while since you’ve seen everyone, and Skype just doesn’t replace the feeling of snapping at your punk brother in person or having the cat dig her claws into your leg.
In her lap her fingers tighten around her cellphone. She’d called hours ago, leaving a message on the machine. Her own voice had welcomed her to leave a message and told her that she’d get back to her soon. She’d left home months ago, odd that they hadn’t changed the recording.
There’s no reason to worry.
She forced her fist to uncurl. She smoothed her jeans and turned her head to look out the window again. Mountain scenery and trees, a subtle shift from the mountain scenery and scrub from an hour ago. She’d be at her stop in only forty minutes. Her hand tightened on her phone again and she made herself put the device in her bag. She knew she’d always been prone to fits of nervousness so this feeling of being slightly on edge and too aware of everything wasn’t unfamiliar. It was best to take the distraction away before she did something stupid.
Besides, worst-case scenario, they’re not expecting you and they’re angry when you show up unannounced.
The whole car sucked in a deep breath as the train entered another tunnel. The sucking, whooshing sound made her skin crawl and goosebumps erupt on her forearms. She caught herself picking at her fingernails and moved to sit on her hands. Light burst in through the windows, the train burst out of the tunnel, and all the passengers let out soft sighs.
One call maybe. Just to check.
She pulled her phone out again and chose the correct contact. The home phone rang and rang.
The phone continued to ring.
Shouldn’t it have gone to the machine by now?
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Maybe the reception is strange up here in the mountains.
Ring. Ring. Ri- Click.
Th-that’s my voice.