A True Story ~

A True Story ~

A Story by IMOGEAN
"

The picture shown here, is my back yard. I knew this man, he was a client of mine for several months. My 16 year old daughter, Sophia, and myself found his crumpled form before the parametics arrived.

"

I have heard it said that death comes in three’s. Although through my own observation, I realize, it comes in a steady stream never stopping until death finds us all. Every moment lived is but a prelude to an inevitable ending. What lies beyond our human existence will not be known until our fate finds us.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a distraught man strolls along a grassy path that parallels train tracks. He is carrying a guitar, a pack of generic cigarettes and a 40 oz bottle of Schlitz malt liquor. He is a fairly tall man, yet extremely thin, for he has not eaten or slept properly in a long time. At forty five he appears much older than his years. His face tanned by the sun, brings out his crystalline blue eyes to starkness. He has no teeth and when he smiles his gums show just as if he were an old man.

His heart is breaking as he picks his guitar with jumbled fingers, not knowing how to play. He always dreamt of this talent for instruments that somehow eluded him. Deep inside, his sorrow unbearable, he knows that to die would matter not to the world around him.

He has no children, and his family tired from trying to save him from himself has distanced themselves from his destructive path. He is an only child. His mother dreams that someday he will change. He sees her dreams too, and they serve only to remind him of what he will never be.

Some say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but he knows better. He has lived with his demons forever it seems. They follow him relentlessly, whispering wordlessly into his conscious thoughts. When looking into a mirror, or looking back at his past, the evidence of his jaded self is more than he can bare.

Hopelessness, finds him weary this day.

 

He walks off the grassy path and up the rocks that line the railroad. He stops for a moment and looks both ways. In the distance he can hear the roaring of the train as it lays on its horn and begins passing through town. Calmly, the man lowers his body, perching himself on one of the tracks.

 

He lifts his guitar and begins to play.

Around the bend the train barrels forward, sending a continuous vibration through the slats of metal in which he is sitting. The man continues to play, humming softly to the tuneless jumble of notes and cords. At peace with his choice, he sits, playing, humming, ignoring the rumbling earth beneath him. The train is chugging forward, laying on its horn loudly.

 

The man refuses to look up, refuses to move.

Screeching breaks throw sparks as the train slides down the track.
The man never looks up. Metal scraping metal, sliding, the loud whistle blaring.

In a instant his life is over.

 

His body thrown a football fields length, the guitar shatters, splinters shower down the tracks as the train continues another quarter mile before coming to a complete stop. The mans lifeless form lays unnaturally crumpled along the path.

 

It was a painless death. Immediate.

This day, people will take notice of the fiasco of ambulances, police cars and the county coroner loading his limp broken body into a blue plastic bag that zips over his face. His death will be announced over the six O’ clock news, and will even be on the front page of the news paper tomorrow.

But who will remember this day, after tomorrow?

 

No one, but his broken hearted mother and his disgraced father who had washed his hands of him years ago. Their pain comes not for the loss of him because they rarely saw him.

 

Their pain spawns from the knowledge that thier only child and little boy's life was needlessly wasted.      

 

Train kills pedestrian north of West Sacramento Avenue crossing
By CHRIS GULLICK - Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/07/2008 12:16:40 AM PDT


CHICO -- A man died Sunday when a southbound Union Pacific train hit him several hundred yards north of the Sacramento Avenue crossing about 1:30 p.m.

Butte County Sheriff’s Department declined to release the man’s name until his family could be located and notified.

Steve Kinross, the train’s conductor, said as the train rounded a slight curve after the Eighth Avenue crossing, he saw someone sitting on the tracks. The person, wearing a white ball cap and sunglasses, appeared to be playing a guitar.

"He didn’t even look up," Kinross said.

Kinross pulled emergency brakes to stop the train, but it didn’t come to a full stop until five or six train cars had passed Sacramento Avenue.

The train’s speed when he began attempting to stop was 49 miles per hour, Kinross added. The train was en route from Dunsmuir to Roseville. He said he followed Union Pacific protocol in walking back to the site as soon as the train could be stopped.

Sgt. Scott Ruppel, of Chico Police Department, said he understood the railroad’s policy is to call in a new crew to take over so the involved crew can be debriefed and counseled.

The victim was thrown or pushed more than 100 yards from where the train hit him.

Several people in the neighborhood of the incident said they recognized the man as a local who had lived in one of the apartments operated as a clean and sober facility on Columbus Avenue.

Sophia Peteet, 16, said she had seen him sitting on the tracks and playing his guitar
before.

Larry Lambert, director of the facility, said the victim had lived in one of his 15 apartments previously and was scheduled to move back. Just a couple of weeks ago he changed his mind and moved in with a girlfriend instead.

Lambert said the man had struggled with substance abuse and probably still needed some supervision and help.

"He was a gentle heart; he was a gentle soul," Lambert said.

"He was a nice guy who was caught up in his addiction," said Imogean Harlan, the facility’s former director.

The railroad crossing at Sacramento Avenue remained closed for about an hour.


© 2008 IMOGEAN



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Featured Review

I've always had this thing for any song,poem,story with pain...rain, or train somewhere in the lines. That kinda blue comes in three's. Reminds me of so many lost souls I've known. I liked the way you wrote this piece...just how it will be read. It is a strange world we live in Master Jack, when the engineers are treated for trauma, for the hobo's dreams smeared on the track. Upu until a couple years ago I carried a yellow, torn clipping of a pair of womens shoes , neatly placed side by side. She leaped from a tower at Texas University...21 years old and couldn't take it anymore. Her name was Moment Armstead,1968. Sometimes you read and something about it won't let you forget. I always wondered ,why ? This piece touched me the same way. Brilliant. Rain..

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Hauntingly written - enough objective distance / detachment to tell the tale yet enough detail and intimacy to change a faceless name into a flesh and blood human being with whom we can all - to one degree or another - relate. Have you read my poem, on the suicide of a friend? You may find the same undercurrent there.
Tragedy touches us all, and our paths all end with one destination. What happens after that is the result of what choices we have made in this time. Let us pray that this man's soul found the peace that had escaped him in life.

Posted 9 Years Ago


A quite sad story, tragic. Sometimes hopelessness, feeling lost, of being alone can drive us to act to certain extremes. And we have our moments when we feel life has no meaning and to end it would only be the only thing left to do. It is up to us whether to act on that desire or to merely give it a thought and then put it to rest. I always feel that in death, it's not the person dying who has to deal with pain in the end. It's those he/she leaves behind. I hope the person in the story finds peace in him. And is sent to a better place. Kudos to the writer, this was portrayed nicely. I can picture the whole incident happening as if I was one of the witnesses.

Posted 9 Years Ago


I read this a few nights ago and left in silence with a heart full of woe for the victim, his parents and for you and your daughter.



Posted 9 Years Ago


A touching story that is very well written.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Aw. This is heart-breaking. It's sad to see a life go like that. Such desperate attempts, and them BAM! A train hits you, and you're dead..
good job with this

Posted 9 Years Ago


This story moves along in slow: fast time... like that; the man's background - how he is, what he does or is going to do, meanders throughout, building up the character so well; the words written at the end add to the tragedy, almost highlight it. This is a great story and, thank you for sharing.

Posted 9 Years Ago


"screeching breaks throw..." I believe the word should be "brakes"
Isn't "Newspaper" one word?
"several people in the neighborhood of the incident..." I believe you could leave out "of the incident" without any loss of meaning, if you wanted to.

A fine, well-told story, Imogean, but a sad one. I have been to such dark places that I can understand how he might have felt. People often try to soothe their pain with drugs and alcohol, but it only takes them deeper into the abyss, so I have found. Thank you for writing it. Sam

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

An awful thing to come upon on a Sunday afternoon. You have described it with great sympathy and feeling. Although you have obviously not witnessed the happening, you have described it probably with great accuracy, calling upon your knowledge of the man and the location. You have not over-dramatised, but the piece picks up its own very real drama as it progresses. Your use of the newspaper report strengthens the story with its semi-cynical, rather flat vernacular which is the hallmark of this medium. I wouldn't dream of making any suggestions here; I merely wish to thank you for what is to me a fine piece of writing and a suitable obituary for a tragic life.
John

Posted 9 Years Ago


I've always had this thing for any song,poem,story with pain...rain, or train somewhere in the lines. That kinda blue comes in three's. Reminds me of so many lost souls I've known. I liked the way you wrote this piece...just how it will be read. It is a strange world we live in Master Jack, when the engineers are treated for trauma, for the hobo's dreams smeared on the track. Upu until a couple years ago I carried a yellow, torn clipping of a pair of womens shoes , neatly placed side by side. She leaped from a tower at Texas University...21 years old and couldn't take it anymore. Her name was Moment Armstead,1968. Sometimes you read and something about it won't let you forget. I always wondered ,why ? This piece touched me the same way. Brilliant. Rain..

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Since the average review is
just so much blather, let me
say this is good writing and

RATE: 100%
---- Eagle Cruagh

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on April 8, 2008
Last Updated on April 8, 2008

Author

IMOGEAN
IMOGEAN

Chico, California, CA



About
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, serenely, divinely aware... And this is why I write: AWARENESS... It is not in the moment that I tasted the delicacies of life .. more..

Writing
Trust Trust

A Poem by IMOGEAN