Chapter 1 - Part 3 Journey

Chapter 1 - Part 3 Journey

A Chapter by C. Rose
"

Her choice now made, Pearl begins what appears to be a journey into another time, one that she hopes will lead her to the peace she so desperately seeks.

"

I had been at the Chicago Union Station a few times before, but only for events with my aunt. It is a far different world when you are there as a passenger and not some gala attendee. The architecture was beautiful still, but here and now the faces of the people around me were different. Not there to wine, dine and mingle, this crowd surrounding me was much more determined and at times frantic. There was a sense that everyone around me had a focus and a place to go, while I stood there vacillate and truly scared. I felt absolutely overwhelmed by everything I was facing, it all started to build into a panic in my chest. I needed to be calm and rational so I dug deep into myself and tried to bring forth all the pragmatic focus I could possibly produce. I started breaking down my situation analytically, removing all emotion as I walked from the concourse to the ticket counter. First I needed to pick a location, but it was a challenge. I wanted to go somewhere obscure and distant. I wanted to go somewhere tucked away in the world where no one would ever think to look. I stood at the ticketing area looking at my options, watching all the words melt into just randomly placed letters in obscure patterns, I realized I was no longer actually reading anything, but just staring into a alphabetical fog.


"It can be hard to decide sometimes, don't you think?" a voice came from behind.


I turned to see before me a unique looking man dressed in what seemed to be predominantly handmade clothing. At first I felt like I was staring at a circus clown due to the sheer amount of color obscuring his very own silhouette, but as I gazed upon him I realized he was only wearing shades of brown wool with an orange loused bow tie and a small vibrant green handkerchief. I was amazed as I stood before this person that seemed to exude a rainbow of color with his mere presence. I realized I was just standing there staring and wanted to somehow break into an actual sentence, but his eyes, his eyes were dark a drew me in like a magnet and I could not lose focus once I met them. They were as dark as midnight but telling and honest. I felt captured by them, now I was looking into a crystal ball waiting to see a hint of my future revealed. It did not seem to bother him that I was standing there staring at him, frozen like a statuette. I finally shook my eyes free of his grasp and was able to push out somewhat of a muddled hello.


"Decision are laborious aren't they. May I be able to provide some aide to you?" he tried to once again initiate a conversation.


"Um, yes it can be hard, but I'm okay. Thank you." I said trying to end the interaction. I do not know why I was so anxious to end my conversation with this man. I was completely in awe over his demeanor and appearance, yet felt I somehow did not deserve his assistance. I turned back toward the destination board, hoping he would leave me to my decision, but I felt him move to my side, standing there silently, making it clear he was now going to be part of the process.


"You know, there are several ways to make a decision. Process of elimination using something like a pro and con system is useful to a degree, unless you are like me and tend to see the good with the bad, my always end up even." he said looking troubled by his thought. "Rock, paper scissors is an option, but I would only recommend that if you are deciding between simpler things, like whether to have chips or popcorn. My name is Hap by the way." he extended his hand toward mine.


"I'm Pearl, nice to meet you. Hap? That is an interesting name." accepting his handshake.


"It is short for Happenstance, my parents have a loving bond with concept of fate." he replied. "Now for this decision may I be of counsel my lady?"


"I don't suppose I could stop you so, why not." I said reluctantly. At this point the level of anxiety over the decision was exhausting and part of me just wanted to let go and allow this stranger to guide me. I wanted to have a path placed before me so I could be like all the people around me with a purpose.


"No, I do not suppose you could." he replied as he contemplated the accuracy of my response. "Suppose I were to tell you of a place, a place that exists in a quaint reality innocent from the vicious gaze of commercialism and greed. Does that interest you?" he inquired.


"I would have to say it interests me, yes, but I do not believe it exists solely how you describe it. I doubt there is such a place that exists with pure innocence anymore. Trust me, the vicious gaze of which you speak exists everywhere, lurking and waiting for each of us to be vulnerable enough to be taken into it's grasp. No one is safe." I drifted off as I began to think about Fisher and the monstrous night I had endured.


"Well I suppose it is good to see you are not so gullible as not to understand the important parallel that the pure and the tainted play as symbiotic roles. So I will admit this place is not without it's nefarious dwellers, but the good, the good is so wondrous that it's influence can be felt vibrating through your very skin." bursting with excitement, Hap grabbed my hand and twirled me in a circle, like my father had done when I was a little girl.


My cheeks became red with embarrassment as I realized how much attention we had called to ourselves in this display of youthful affection. Realizing that I was still in Chicago and not yet free from the absolute need to make a decision and move forward on my new path, to take firm my control of this new life I was now embarking upon.


"I am looking to go somewhere that is small and as quiet as possible. I am kind of starting over and well..." I turned toward him to try and explain my situation without sharing any actual information and he was gone. I wondered if I had offended him when I took my hand away and ended the moment we were sharing. I looked around and saw no sign of him anywhere. It was as if he had dissolved into empty space. It was such an odd interaction and he was such a unique man and I stopped there, disappointed that it ended so abruptly. I waited for a moment to allow a chance for him to pop back into existence, but I stood alone. I had to shake off whatever that was in order to make my decision and get out of town. I looked over the ticketing signs trying to decide which place to go, I wondered what city Hap had spoken of, I wondered if I would somehow pick it as my destination. As I moved closer to the front of the line I was still scanning all my choices, trying to muster my plan before meeting with the ticket agent.


"Next in line please!" rang like a gong in my ears as I realized I was next. I moved toward the annoyed agent that continued to shout "Next please!", knowing I was approaching. As I came within a few feet of the agent I extended my identification and was about to request a ticket to the next location my eyes connected with when I felt a tug at my sleeve pulling me out of line and off toward the departure concourse.


At first I did not even see who had grabbed me, I prayed it was not Fisher, but as I looked to my side and saw Hap running along side of me toward a boarding train. I didn't know what to think in that moment. Was I being kidnapped? It didn't feel that way. I felt myself instinctively run in unison with him as if I had been the instigator. We ran with alacrity and as we approached the train I screamed "I don't have a ticket!"


"Yes you do, I have it with me." he replied as if it were an obvious, well known fact.


"But where are we going?" I shouted in reply as we came to a slow job and began our approach to the train.


"Morristown, you said it interested you." he explained as he handed two tickets to the agent. I resisted his pull causing Hap to stop as he hopped onto the steps. He turned toward me, baffled at my fear. "What is wrong?" he inquired.


"I don't know about going. I do not even know where this place is or if I can live there. I wanted more time to make my choice." I pleaded my case to the world standing there frozen, time standing still when all I wanted was to move forward.


Hap looked at me for a moment and then simply extended his hand toward me. "You have already made this decision Pearl. It is time to start looking again don't you think?"


"Looking?" I said. "What do you.." my question ended as I suddenly recalled why it sounded so familiar. I remembered being in my aunt's backyard talking to Mr. Davidson the bartender. I remember sitting there so flippantly as he told me I would find my true purpose as long as I kept looking. I looked to Hap standing on the step to board and realized I could not argue or at least I did not want to. It made me think of the fearless courage of Sully and how he would get on this train. I felt that maybe if I did I would be able to see him again and at that moment the souls of my shoes released their suction to the ground below and I glided onto the train. There was a rush of exuberance flowing through me knowing I was taking such a risk. I was living in it now, I gave myself the chance to see what happens on the other side of that choice and it was brilliant. As soon as we boarded we began making our way to our seats, when I noticed the train was more unique then I had pictured a basic passenger car to look like.


"What kind of train are we on?" I asked Hap, who was walking ahead preoccupied with the movement of the other passengers in the car.


"I'm not quite sure." he replied. Perhaps we can meet the engineer later and he can tell you." commenting as we collided in a common isle with a rather bovine woman who was exploding out of her couture and adorned in overdone jewelry and make-up. She was obviously wealthy, brandishing it like a badge, showing she is above rank of those around her and all should behave accordingly. She had a cold presence, one that sent a chill throughout my skin when I looked into her eyes. They were ice blue and piercing.


"Please stand aside." a man beside her requested in a scolding way. He carried the demeanor of a servant to her wealth. Opulent in his dress, he was frail and gaunt in his features. The designer labels hung on his boney frame, I stared at this creature wondering what if any soul he had left as I felt Hap's arm gently press against me moving me to the side of the isle. The two past with no benediction for our courtesy.


They continued on through the car and as I watched them move away I began to look around at the other passengers. It was odd, the place I found myself standing in, those around me seemed to be from a different time. Some, like Hap, appeared that clothes were simply a means to an end and not significant to their life. Others, like the rich woman and her attendant seemed to be consumed with their shell, embellishing it with enough proof of their wealth to ensure their place on the upper echelon of society. Aside those differences, not one of them looked to be from current time and I began to realize that amongst all the oddity, I was the one that stuck out like a rock in a bag of marbles. In fact, as I stood there I began to notice, that nothing looked modern. The amenities, people, and even the lights were eclectic, emitting a faint sense of nostalgia that hovered around my flesh and filled me with a euphoric medley of sensations. I felt, as if with that leap onto the train, I had entered another time or reality. No longer in the world that I once knew, I was now a drift in something more celestial. I do not know how long I was standing there, it felt like time stood still for me so that I could absorb this new found reality. Allowing me a brief second to embrace this odd environment, and how I loomed within it. The energy of all these things, all these inspiring things, filled my veins, my blood finally warming from my frigid existence, now left behind. I felt a tug at my sleeve and time returned to the movement of the passengers moving about and my focus returned to Hap.


"Lets get to our compartment, then we can submerge ourselves in parley about your trip." Hap said as he held my hand and guided me toward our seats.


I barely gave an acknowledgment still consumed by my surroundings. We arrived at our seats to see that Hap had booked us in a private compartment. It was a pleasing accommodation, with dark hunter green velvet upholstery and wood trim with modest amounts of gold leaf that twinkled in the sunset beaming through the window. I tossed my only carry on bag onto the upper storage shelf and sat across from Hap wondering what my destination would hold for me. I soon decided to write about what had happened to start processing the days events. As I pulled my journal from my bag, another passenger entered the compartment. She was another unique looking figure, beautiful and possessing a whimsical grace. Her platinum blonde hair looked stiff, held in place with a sheen of fine finishing spray. Her clothes were simple yet polished, complimented by her roseate cheeks and ornamented scent. Yet, with all her beauty there was a familiar hollowness in her presence, one that I knew all too well. She quickly scanned the car and screeched in a moment of glory when she saw Hap sitting across from me.


"Well Happenstance McFinley, it is fancy meeting you here." she said in a coquettish way. It almost reminded me of the coy behavior the women in the South used when greeting gentlemen callers.


"If it isn't Rose Tippenny! What part of the world were you cavorting through this time?" he asked her as she fumbled to get all of her bags into the compartment. Hap rose to aide her with her luggage and quickly got her settled next to him in the car.

"Well, I had to go out for inspiration and so I am returning from a trip to Montmartre, Paris." she said.


"Ah Montmartre! Tre Magnifique!" he exclaimed.


As the two continued to talk about this city of Montmartre I felt as if I was suddenly invisible. I wanted to know more about this place they both seemed so thrilled and inspired by, but I could not get the gumption to interject myself into the conversation. I had read many stories of Montmartre, Paris, it was the birthplace of the bohemian revolution, the center of so much wonderful art, beauty, love, and expressions of cultural freedom and I had often daydreamed of traveling through the cabaret lined streets of Montmartre in the 1900's. It had been my plan to make a visit to Paris while overseas to see this city of inspiration, my ticket canceled to travel instead to Greece with Sully for an impromptu trip with friends. My mind began to drift and I forced it away, I could not let myself travel to that time, not yet. Instead I opened my journal and began writing about the bold gesture of independence I had just made. It was difficult to write as the two chatted and I found myself only staring into the blank page, listening to their convivial stories. I so wanted to have those stories, my blank page before me, a tear fell down my cheek, finally breaking the silence of the page. It was then that Hap lured me into the conversation.


"Oh and my poor urbanity!" he digressed from the conversation. "Rose I want you to meet a new friend of mine, Pearl. She is going to Morristown for the first time today." he explained.


She and I met eyes and shook hands. "Well now a newcomer to Morristown! How long will your visit be?" she inquired.


"Oh I am not sure. I am really looking to get settled somewhere and Hap here seems to think Morristown is the place for that, so we will see how it goes." I tried to explain realizing that most people would think me a drifter or vagabond with that type of story. I worried that I should begin preparing a back story for my travel reason. Just as I was about to add to my explanation, she responded in somewhat of a terse way.


"Well I wouldn't get to comfortable with the idea of settling in Morristown. We don't have much room and try to reserve it with those that can contribute to the cause." she explained as if I should know what she was referring to.


"What cause?" I inquired.


"Rose," Hap interrupted, "did you see that fine looking gentleman in the dinner car this evening? I do believe he would be quite taken with you. Why don't you go reserve us a table for this evening and take yourself a look at him."


"Oh, I will do that!" she said immediately distracted from our odd, first encounter. With that she was grooming and exiting the compartment and off to the dinner service. I knew that Hap wanted to change the topic of conversation from this "cause" of Morristown, but being such a curious person I had to understand what Rose meant by what she had said.


"So may I ask what the cause is?" I inquired.


"There are many causes in life my lady. All a valuable gesture of the struggle to make the world a better place." he answered.

"Right, but what is the cause that Rose was referring to? Why is there only room for people who can contribute?" I asked, insistent on getting information from him.


I could tell that Hap did not want to share the details with me, but I didn't know why. Did I come across as a person unable to grasp the complexities of social struggles? Was I not trustworthy yet? Here I risked my entire future by taking the leap onto this odd train with an even odder person, yet I was not trusted to share this information with. I became a little annoyed at his lack of response. It seemed like he was hoping for any distraction to enter into our compartment to get off this road that I was most determined to travel.


"Hap, I trusted you and got on this train." I stated firmly.


"I know Pearl, and you made the right choice. This is complicated for a few reasons: First; Rose tends to be a bit dramatic and doesn't like to see other women move to Morristown as she hates competition, Second; Morristown is a complex menagerie that doesn't lend itself to the type of explanation you are looking for. All I can tell you is to please just enjoy the ride and you will understand what you need to in time." he explained.


"I will tell you this, the more I hear about Morristown, the more baffled I am. I will drop it for now, but I do worry that you are not leading me into a nightmare." I replied.


"A nightmare no! A fantasy, maybe." he said in a curious way and changed the subject to dinner.


We made our way to the service car for dinner and sat at a table that Rose reserved for our compartment after becoming acquainted with the handsome fellow Hap had pointed her in the direction of like a romance bloodhound. The two we sitting together, he was already completely enamored with her and barely noticed Hap and I join at the table. I looked around, as we waited for the attendant, at all the people dining that night. The car was not full, but the waiters seemed preoccupied with serving the first class guests. There was a man drinking alone at the bar that seemed to ooze depression and a woman at his side who was using every female charm to get his attention with no success. A table of young men next to us was load and boisterous with toasts and jeers. Listening to them share their escapades with gay applause made me miss Sully and the night of our engagement. I turned my attention to not allow myself to dwell on that memory and met eyes with the rich woman that I encountered earlier in the isle. Her stare burned through me and I quickly turned to Hap to inquire more about her.


"Who is that woman?" I asked as I made a motion toward the woman being waited on by three of the attendants as the rest of us waited with no service at all.


"That is Agnes Thirtlemeyer Pearl, one of the nefarious dweller's of Morristown I spoke of before. Rich and cruel that one is, you would be wise to keep your distance." he remarked. It was that comment that broke Rose out of her gaze and into the conversation.


"The entire Thirtlemeyer family is evil." she said with disgust in her voice. "You better listen to Mr. McFinley and keep your distance, unless you like the wicked." she said as if she was trying to determine if I was kin to such a type.


"Well I have had quite my fill of the wicked lately, I do not believe avoiding them will be too difficult, for the time being." I responded.


"Time being?" Rose asked.


"Well I simply mean that there is no world or life that can completely avoid the wicked or cruel. We all have to face them in due time, don’t we?" I tried to explain, but saying it aloud made me feel like a hypocrite. Here I was touting the importance of facing the wicked and I was the one that ran from every wicked moment that had tormented my life up to that point. My anxiety must have been palpable as the rest of the table sat there looking at me curiously when Hap broke the silence.


"Well put fine lady! Although discussing the wicked and evil things of the world is not what I prefer as my dinner colloquy so lets discuss which morsels we plan to devour tonight." Hap inquired about the table as I gained relief that the attention was no longer on me or my comments.


The dinner service picked up once the attendants were no longer distracted with the wealthy woman and I must admit as we dined that evening I enjoyed myself. I was anxious to make it to Morristown and see what my new surroundings would be like and had a hard time relaxing back in the passenger compartment. Hap and Rose seemed to not be bothered by the fact that I chose to read for the rest of the trip to keep myself calm, they carried on about art, music and philosophy and I knew that if this was an indication of the rest of the town I was in for an interesting experience. It was nightfall and I could no longer see the scenery through the compartment window. It had seemed like a long trip already and I wondered when we were to arrive at our destination.


"How much longer until we arrive?" I interjected into the conversation.


Hap pulled a gold pocket watch from his coat and peered at the time. "It will be soon" he replied and went back into his conversation with Rose.


"I'm sorry for interrupting, but may I ask exactly where is Morristown?" I inquired realizing that I had not gained any knowledge about where geographically I was heading. I felt annoyed with myself that I hadn't bothered to gain this information sooner, knowing that know I was really at the mercy of a person I knew nothing about.


"That is an magnetic inquiry." he replied and looked toward Rose as if he was looking for help in the explanation. The two looked completely baffled by my question and it made me feel uneasy as I was starting to realize that the prospect of me heading anywhere normal to start my life over was, in fact, itself over. They both started talking over each other with odd explanations after odd explanation. There was nothing familiar about the information they provided and I began to feel overcome with fatigue. My eyelids became instantly heavy like iron curtains and no matter what I tried I lost the fight to keep them open. I remember right before falling into a deep slumber I thought to myself that somehow Hap and Rose caused me to feel so tired, but that thought drifted listlessly away into other dreams, dreams of being in Dublin with Sully.



© 2011 C. Rose


Author's Note

C. Rose
*new edits -02/2011*

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ROSE, talk about a cliffhanger, I must have more! :) You write with such elegance that I'm embarrassed to show my own stuff. This is good, more than good! And I don't have anything but praise. I love how you start the story quite normal and then let it slip into something Harry Potter-ish or similar. I love how you describe everything so well, how you manage to make the reader (me) feel for Pearl and how Hap enthralled me.
The only thing that bothered me was that there wasn't a fourth chapter! :)

Posted 8 Years Ago



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Added on July 6, 2010
Last Updated on February 15, 2011
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Author

C. Rose
C. Rose

Albuquerque, NM



About
I am a poet and writer that pens under the bohemian dogma; "Truth, Love, Beauty and Freedom" and believe any form of expression is precious. I am a thirty something, living in the American Southwest .. more..

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