A Rocket Fantasy

A Rocket Fantasy

A Story by William Richards
"

Moving forward in life is tough, but sometimes we find escape and love in unlikely places.

"

The sunlight illuminated the spare room where I was frantically packing. My smartwatch told me I was running short of time. 

I placed my 200 page dissertation into my suitcase. It lay on top of freshly ironed shirts: 'TAXES: ROBBERY OR ROBIN HOOD?' It was my economics thesis in which I argued for a fairer system for paying public amenities. I graduated with honors. Now I was preparing to leave my home town of Colchester, to start a new life in London with an international firm. Dad would have been proud of me. 

Looking around the spare room one last time, I realised I hadn't checked inside the cupboard. I found a cardboard box. How had I missed that? Inside it I found a train set my dad had made for me when I was a kid. He'd been an excellent carpenter; I often got wood-crafted toys for presents--until one day I asked for a PlayStation. 

I felt a pang of grief: memories of the sudden headache, followed by a brain haemorrhage, filled my thoughts. They couldn't save him. I became alone in the big house with debts to pay. I almost shut the box. 

But he was such an exquisite craftsman; the beauty of the pieces drew me in. On the engine, he'd carved 'Rocket' in tiny letters. Representations of bolts could be seen on the exhaust chimney. Even the wheel spindles were individually placed. I so enjoyed playing with it as a child I hadn't appreciated its intricacies. 

In an instant, all the pieces were out on the floor. But there was a problem--they were grubby after years spent in storage. I rushed to the kitchen and found a cloth, white vinegar, and a bowl. I mixed the vinegar with some water and returned to clean the toys. 

Before long, the circular track was constructed: the Rocket and two carriages were in the station and wooden scenery, including trees, cows, and sheep, littered the countryside. 

And then my father and I were up front at the engine, hurling logs into the fire as we slowly pulled away from the station. 

'Quick son, more wood. Let's get this engine steaming!' Our faces were black with soot, and the heat from the furnace was stifling. We chugged around the circular track several times, hooting the whistle and leaning out of the carriage to enjoy the warm breeze. 

An alarm went off, distracting our attention and we derailed, colliding with several cows and sheep. 

I smiled, coming out of my fantasy. I switched my smartwatch alarm off. This train set was definitely coming with me, it would go on display in my new house. So I packed it. 

It was time to go. I had a real train to catch. But this time I would not be going around in circles. This train led to my future.

© 2016 William Richards


Author's Note

William Richards
This little piece was entered into the MASH flash fiction competition. Entry criter: less than 500 words and contain the words: 'Taxes', 'Carpenter' and 'Vinegar'.

Image from Wikipedia.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

This story gave me the most fantastical images as I read. I'm not going to pretend to have a great bit of experience reviewing works of this caliber. I will say that your style of writing, the easy way in which this story flows, and your outstanding visuals really had me sucked in, and I'm interested in reading more.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Richards

4 Years Ago

Thank you Briana, I really appreciate your review. It is nice to hear you enjoyed my writing :-)



Reviews

This story gave me the most fantastical images as I read. I'm not going to pretend to have a great bit of experience reviewing works of this caliber. I will say that your style of writing, the easy way in which this story flows, and your outstanding visuals really had me sucked in, and I'm interested in reading more.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Richards

4 Years Ago

Thank you Briana, I really appreciate your review. It is nice to hear you enjoyed my writing :-)
Hi William, I'd like to offer my two cents in regards to your writing here. First off let me say: your prose is very good. You definitely have a knack for being able to flesh out the details surrounding this young man's voyage and his reflection on times long gone. Again, great job with the descriptions.
However, I must also say: a considerable amount of information could have been condensed within the story itself. For example - "Now I was preparing to leave my home town of Colchester, to start a new life in London..." Yes, you told us this information, but this would have been better to SHOW. Here's an example of what I mean: "My eyes glazed over as I stared at my papers, my mind more focused on my memories than the words in front of me. When I heard the automated voice come over the intercom - "Next Train, leaving for London" - an emotional pain gripped me and took my breath. 'Goodby Colchester' I said, looking around the station." That's a fairly bad example (IMO), but do you see the difference? Instead of just offering information (read: exposition) we've now integrated this information to make it part of the story and (with any luck) seamless in its reading.
My last point would be: there's no story here. I don't say this to be mean, but to be honest. While your writing is good, there's no story here; no conflict save for a young man's desire to reflect on his memories. His feelings also seem bittersweet, and in my opinion, readers don't like bittersweet. Instead, it's better to have characters that are either very happy or very sad about the transition, and usually facing conflict that forces the other quality out of them. For example: He takes a really lucrative job (good thing - pulling him toward London) but he has to leave his childhood home (bad thing - pulling him back). NOW we have some conflict. Anyway, these are things to consider, even if you do write something short. Try and keep in mind the conflict you can interject even in something as simple as a recollection of memories. Keep it up William. Great job!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Richards

4 Years Ago

Thank you Zach for taking the time to critique. I see what you mean about a real lack of conflict..... read more
I'm often not a fan of stories written on a challenge, but this one seems void of any obvious contrivances and is quite good. Maybe because there's so much kid in me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy of playing with trains, much as I did so long ago. An excellent little story, William, and I like it a lot.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Richards

4 Years Ago

Thank you Samuel, I'm very pleased you enjoyed it and understood what I was trying to do with this p.. read more
The storyline is tender and filled with pathos. I'd love to see you expand It and instead of just "telling" what happened, I'd like to see and hear, almost taste and touch. Lots more detail interspersed between relaying the storyline.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Richards

4 Years Ago

Thank you Taylor. I appreciate you've taken the time to critique this for me. Will certainly try and.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

246 Views
4 Reviews
Rating
Added on September 6, 2015
Last Updated on June 18, 2016
Tags: fiction, short story, train

Author

William Richards
William Richards

Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand



About
I am a guy who enjoys writing. I dunno why. It's just a thrill when you create something believable which conveys emotion and to know you made it all up. I have a wonderful wife and blessed with a .. more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Lovesick Lovesick

A Story by Philip Muls


A Widows Request A Widows Request

A Poem by Gee