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Trains

by Carina


Trains: a giant uncontrollable machine, a big mechanism destined to go on for vast long distances, a heavy rolling piece of equipment that never seems to die out of power, but will keep on going, and going, and going. It drives along the tracks and goes through the cities and mountains and fields, and it sees many sights but will never stop to stare and bask in its beauty.

That is what I am in charge of. That is what I do. I control this, and I sit behind this.

This is a train. It never stops until it reaches its destination, and it conserves and eats its fuel so it can keep on going, and going, and going, never-ending. People say I control this moving contraption, but that is untrue. I simply watch over it.

It is moving. It is uncontrollable. It is irrepressible.

I see many things while sitting at the front with its wide clear windows. It is noisy, the moving train is raucous while it churns out its old chains and keeps on going and going, but the views are planted in my mind, planted in my brain.

I do see many things. I see fields of grain, open fields of prairies and flowers, a city of happy people, a sunset against the forest in the distance. I see the vast blue sky looming ahead of me, the train tracks blend into the faraway distance, animals and people nearby as the lights blink of a train crossing with safety as its priority.

I see beautiful things, many things. I see little children in the cities point and wonder what this long moving boxed thing is, and I see the moon high up in the sky to give me the company that I yearn in these long lonely nights. I see clouds that depict curious pictures as they wander away from me, and I see big gray clouds that cover the day as a thin beam of sunlight shines its way through. I see the light mist and the heavy stormy rain, and I see the prism rainbow that comes out after a battle in the sky. I see many wonders in the world, many life adventures through this journey of watching through this controlling operator occupation that I have befell upon, and these are the memories I hold true to my heart.

But with every good thing, there is always something evil.

There is always something bad, something so atrociously disgusting and sick that will crush and tear the heart away from the chest until there is nothing left but a big gaping hole.

There is always the evil force that will offset the good and beautiful to what was once important to this heart that was torn away, and it will always be there.

It is always there, that evilness. It is always there to haunt, to hurt, to destroy.

I see something in the distance. I see something beautiful, something good and precious.

I see that goodness, and I see evil encasing it.

They are colliding.

Mixing.

Intertwining.

A giant uncontrollable machine, a big mechanism destined to go on for vast long distances, a heavy rolling piece of equipment that never seems to die out of power, but will keep on going, and going, and going. This is an uncontrollable machine, a mechanism that is out of my reach and would fail to adhere to my commands until it is too late.

But still, I try. I see the beauty. I see the evil.

The chugging machine is going at a fast steady speed.

I pull on the brakes, and I hear the screech and hiss of the friction against the tracks.

But still the train moves forward, and still it does not stop.

The law of the world and motion is not in my favor, and the law of the world and motion will not change for anyone.

The train rumbles and shakes as if it sees the good and evil ahead on the tracks that was supposed to be forbidden to anyone else, and it whistles—a high pitched screech that echoed in the broad daylight and gave out its warning to go away, leave this place, leave before it is too late.

Move! the whistle cried, piercing the air. Move! Leave! Get out of the way! Move!

The once relaxed and never-stopping machine continued to rumble and shake as its steadfast momentum draws it closer to the good and bad, the precious and the evil, the dead and the living.

I want to scream. I want to do something.

“Get out!” I scream.

I cannot be heard.

I am voiceless.

I am worthless.

I am powerless.

I am just a man in the train.

A man with no power, no control.

The whistle screamed.

The good and the evil collided into one.

In events like this, good will always win.

The good will always reign over the evil.

It is law.

It is world’s law.

But still the train does not stop.

The precious goodness was a boy. A beautiful boy, a precious life of a boy. He was young. He had life in his eyes. He had so much potential, so much to live for.

And here he stood at these old tracks, here in the dead of the woods, here with his formerly scared but assured eyes that this was the end, and this was what he wanted.

He wanted evil, but didn’t he know that good always reigned over evil?

He was tormented by himself, and unlike goodness, evil does not destroy itself.

He comes closer and closer, and all sounds seemed to muffle as I go over him.

I destroy him.

The train has destroyed him.

He was no more.

I watched it.

I could do nothing about it.

I watched him die.

I watched the life go out of him, the train crumble his body in a quick flash, felt his bones and life crumble away into nothing as I roll above it.

Evil does not ever go away, but it transfers. It transfers to people, to bodies, to other vulnerable living things.

And I see it. I see it all with wide-eyes, my former vision of beauty and preciousness of this adventurous journey burn and replaced with a scratched and soiled and horrifying image of this evilness, this wickedness, this horrifying scene.

And here I stay, here the train slowly rolls to a stop, and nobody else is around to see what I have seen, what I have witnessed.

And here I stay with my heart pounding against my ears like war drums, my blood draining from my face, my breath going out cold, my vision blurring.

I have seen the evil.

And now I cannot unsee the evil.

But still life goes on, and it goes on, and it goes on.

It is moving.

It is uncontrollable.

It is irrepressible.


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Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:04 pm
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ChocoCookie wrote a review...



Carina!

I know I'm a little late to review this but couldn't help it. This will just be a short review.

First off, I loved this and as I expected long back, you're a great writer! It kept me hooked and writing something on trains will need to have a lot of imagination and creative writing which you've already applied here.

My opinion about trains was quite boring but you've completely changed that. It kind of was a mixture of dread, scare and a view about how life can be sometimes. And when it came to it being a boy, I was like, woah. I think I kind of expected something big so it took me by a little surprise.

But no worries! I wouldn't change anything at all.

Keep Writing! ~

--
Mel ~




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Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:15 pm
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BookWorm97 wrote a review...



hey there Carina

You are extremely gifted and talented writer!
I liked the way that you personified the train as if it was alive and breathing and I like the way it was presented in short sentences and short paragraph to give a succession of rapid thoughts and actions.
I also agree with my fellow writers that the theme good vs evil was well portrayed.

Well done and keep on going!!




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Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:58 am
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Snoink wrote a review...



SO. I was thinking just now... and I know I just gave you a review and everything, but I thought of something else that I wanted to tell you, and I don't want to take the chance of you missing it!

I wrote that you can't insert a conflict halfway through a story -- this isn't necessarily true. However, there has to be build-up. Walk Two Moons is a good example of this, and this angsty blog entry of mine kind of does that too: blog/Snoink/i_know_what_you%CA%B9re_thinking%C7%83_b-50926.html

If the pain is so intense that it is unbearable to speak about it, then it is very possible to not speak about it, or only hint about it, and then it comes out later as this huge dramatic thing. Sometimes, if you do it right, not talking about it outright and then inserting the conflict can be even more powerful.

But, there has to be build-up! And, you have to connect the two separate ideas with each other! And... it didn't quite work with yours. I think if you want to make it work, you would have to separate the subjects more (talk about the suicide and then talk about something else that seems entirely different, and then tie the two in).

You may be kind of close? You might be able to pull it off if you talk about the speed of the train and how things tend to blur by as an engineer. Then you can talk about time passing by. Then, when you talk about the suicide, it is in stark juxtaposition with the time passing by theme, because time seems to have stopped there. And, you can connect the two ideas with each other by time and comparing how beautiful things pass by so easily, and how these grisly images stay in your mind forever.

Right now, you are trying to connect these two ideas with each other by hinting that they are the same... not good. Make the stark contrast and be proud of the dissimilarities!

...okay. I'm done now. Promise.




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Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:32 am
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Snoink wrote a review...



Hi Carina!

So, Grif pointed out this story to me, since he is my twin brother, and he wanted to brag that he made an awesome review. So, in the spirit of sibling rivalry, I figured that I would also make a review.

When you have conflict, real conflict, sometimes it's better to start off with that conflict because it will drive the story forward and will launch the reader into wanting to read more. So, inserting a conflict halfway through the story is probably not a good idea. I mean, you can totally do it. In fact, this is what happens in The Great Gatsby! So, wonderful writers have done this before. But, then the conflict seems a little random if it just gets inserted. You at least have to build up to it. So, for instance, in The Great Gatsby, Nick first introduces his father's advice and then continues from there.

But, when you build up to it, subtlety is absolutely key. If Nick waxed on about how love and how it could change people's lives in rather dramatic ways in the beginning, as a kind of foretelling of the romantic craziness that happens later on, the story would not be as powerful. However, he doesn't do this. Instead, he introduces it by saying that his father told him not to judge people. So, that doesn't give too much away and it makes you wonder what this advice has to do with the story.

What I am trying to say is that your story kind of hammers the evil bit so much that when the evil part actually comes, with the boy trying to commit suicide, it is a bit random.

Another thing... once when I was in a bus, the bus driver was talking about a suicide that happened on her bus. This was kind of the conversation:

Bus driver: "Yeah, I'm really glad that I have this route now. Nice and local. You get to know people. It's better than other routes. I drove one route on the freeway, but I couldn't do that anymore."

Bus patron: "Why not?"

Bus driver: "Once, while I was on the freeway, a boy threw himself out of the bus."

Bus patron: "What?!"

Bus driver: "Yeah, I'm still recovering. He was the only one in the bus at the time. He opened up one of the emergency exits and threw himself out. I tried to stop him, but he wouldn't listen to me and I couldn't get there in time. I pulled over immediately and tried to save him, but there was too much blood. I knew he was dead as soon as I saw him."

Bus patron: "How did he fit through the emergency exit?"

Bus driver: "I didn't think he could, but he was skinny enough. Only about 17. He fit right through."

Bus patron: "That sounds crazy."

Bus driver: "Yeah. I'm still recovering. That was horrible."

...so, this was her story. But, notice how the conversation progressed. It started off subtly: she was talking about how she was glad for her new route. And, by talking about this, her story came out slowly, with more and more details as she continued.

Also, note where her emphasis was on and how solid it is. There is nothing abstract about it at all: it is just raw story. The horror that comes from her story is from what actually happened. No literary tricks, no gimmicks. Nothing like that. It is pure story. She didn't need to add anything more to it to make the story more horrific.

...I am speaking of this, of course, because your story is similar in plots, but the way they were told is completely different. This is okay, of course. If I were to write your story, for instance, it would be completely different because I have a different style than you do. This is a good thing.

With this said, I think that your story spends too much time waxing about evil in the abstract than it does telling the story. What you wrote about is really dark and morbid and very horrific. Don't detract from the horror by blurting it out mid-story after rambling on about evil.

Also, you spend a lot of time talking about evil... but is this really the horrific part of the story? To me, what is most terrible about what happens in this story is the helplessness involved. Your engineer probably loves driving trains. I know someone whose goal in life is to become a train engineer, and this is pretty much his passion in life. His focus. So, the engineer probably loves driving trains. But, every once in a while, something awful happens. Sometimes, animals are run over. Other times, cars stuck on the track are demolished. Train engineers see a lot of terrible things, and they must feel very helpless at times!

But, among the most helpless feelings is killing those that are on the tracks. If it were accidental, then at least the engineers could feel as if it was an accident, and they can justify themselves in saying that it wasn't their fault, really. It was just an accident or fate, or whatever. One of the bad parts about being an engineer. To put it in the bus driver's story, if someone had a heart attack in her bus and died, she probably would be upset, but it really wouldn't be her fault.

But, when someone deliberately puts themselves on the tracks to die? This is not an accident. This is not fate. And, in a way, the engineer converts from just being a mere engineer to an executioner.

This is the horrific part about the story.

Emphasize it. It will load up your story with power, it will make the conflict seem that much more horrific, and it will direct your story. No more abstract ramblings of evil! The evil of the situation... the injustice of the engineer becoming an executioner... will be apparent enough.

Another thing! Your juxtaposition with life being like a train is a bit odd, considering that you are writing about a suicide. Obviously, life does not go on at times.

...okay! Positive things! Your writing is absolutely lovely. It's clear. It generally has a good progression of thoughts and pacing. It's actually quite good, and you definitely know your craft well... which will only grow better when you play with the actual content! This is a good thing.

Anyway, this review is too long already. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!



P.S. Your name is totally misspelled. Just sayin'!




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Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:07 am
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Griffinkeeper wrote a review...



When I read the title, I immediately thought of this:



Trains are exotic and have been rich settings for spy films, mysteries, and the occasional disney film. It also invokes plenty of happy memories for those that have been on train rides or have waved to a train as it passes by. Train Engineers tend to enjoy the job because of the beautiful sights and the kids that look up to them. They even blow the whistle when they see folks wave at them.

I waved a lot.

One of the darker issues are those that surround fatal train collisions and their effect on railway engineers. The main character seems to be one of these unfortunate people.

Should be interesting.

Trains: a giant uncontrollable machine, a big mechanism destined to go on for vast long distances, a heavy rolling piece of equipment that never seems to die out of power, but will keep on going, and going, and going. It drives along the tracks and goes through the cities and mountains and fields, and it sees many sights but will never stop to stare and bask in its beauty.


Oh boy. Where do I start?

First, trains refer to everything, the locomotive, the cars, and the caboose (if applicable.) You are thinking about a train engine. Second, no self respecting train engineer would think of his locomotive as uncontrollable. On the contrary, train engineers have a deep knowledge of how to control the train. They know all about the physics behind it, they have to otherwise the train would derail. The job requires quite a bit of concentration. Third and most importantly, they wouldn't think of the train as just a machine. It would have a character behind it, not an inanimate object. This is particularly true if it is a steam locomotive. You didn't specify a time or type.

They aren't energizer bunnies either. They stop frequently, especially when they are waiting for the train ahead of them to clear the line. They stop at stations. It occurs even more frequently depending on the type of cargo: passenger trains stop way more frequently. These things are constantly in the mind of the engineer as well.

It is both fortunate and unfortunate that the themes in this paragraph are extended throughout the entire work. Fortunate because consistency is a useful quality in a writer. Unfortunate, because the entire work is now based on a set of faulty premises, rendering it useless as realistic fiction. This is why you always research things before you write realistic fiction; a beautiful dream can be destroyed by reality.

But hey, most people that read this don't research trains on Wikipedia to verify that everything you are writing is realistic. So let's continue!

The major problem that this piece has as a story is that it doesn't really work with the ABC's of writing. They are: Action, Background, Conflict, Development, and End.

The best way to start a story is with action. This way, you can grab the reader's attention. Once you have it, you give them a little bit of background, just enough to give them context, otherwise you'll bore them. Then, you introduce them to the conflict; which is basically something that the character wants but doesn't have. Development is where you describe the journey of the character to get what he is seeking, with the end wrapping everything up.

The action, so vital to capturing the reader's attention; is not found anywhere in the first couple paragraphs. There is some background information, but it is all given in a very ambiguous and general manner. The main character is a railway engineer. He is driving a train. Trains are big. Etc. Absent is any mention of the character's background. There is no description as to his age, appearance, or his personal ambitions.

As a result of this, the protagonist is nothing more than an empty shell for the writer to speak through; without having any character whatsoever. He doesn't even have a proper name.

Let's talk about conflict: there isn't anything set out. He is clearly conflicted and he is tormented, but he doesn't appear to be looking for anything. He just allows himself to be tormented, without seeking redemption or forgiveness, or even peace. Such things would definitely give the character multiple dimensions.

There is no character development occurring here because he has no aspirations, therefore no journey, and as a result the ending leaves his character in the same place we found him.

What you have a lot of is imagery, but if your imagery doesn't advance the plot or characters, then it is useless. Worse, the imagery made it seem like the train engineer was reliving a memory; but it wasn't clear which part was memory and which part was reality; or if they merged momentarily in the mind of the engineer. This tells me that the imagery is out of control and needs to be reined in so that it serves the plot and characters, not the other way around.

There was a lot about good and evil, but these ideas didn't translate over well. Generally, you represent good and evil in the form of a choice, one which the character has to make. Otherwise, you need to have a physical entity that represents good, while another distinct entity represents evil. Speaking of them in the abstract isn't doing you any favors. His repetition about seeing good and seeing evil makes him seem insane.

Which is a bad thing when you're driving a train.

So much for the story. Now let's see how we can improve it.

1. Research your character more. Find out about his occupation, his family, his hopes, dreams, and his aspirations.
2. Outline the story. This will force you to write according to a plot, rather than an image. Use imagery for symbolism.
3. Tone down the character angst. Railway Engineers are professionals; so even if he felt emotional, he wouldn't let it effect his task in the here and now. The idea of "powering through it" is very much a part of the prevailing professional culture.

While writing this, a plot bunny came by and gave me this idea for your plot.

A railway engineer has recently returned to work after a traumatic accident. During this accident, a person was killed when his train collided with them. He is on a late night run and the weather is lousy. After the details of the accident are described, the engineer spots a white figure on the tracks ahead. He hits the brakes as he catches a glimpse of the ghost of the deceased. The train comes to a complete stop in front of a bridge, which fails moments later and is washed away.




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Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:51 pm
Carina says...



Thanks you all for the reviews and likes! :)
(And if you liked it, you can tell your friends that you like trains.)

Cows go moo.




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Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:27 pm
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kingofwernogs wrote a review...



I thought this was an AMAZING story. It really captured the emotions of the character, the scenery, and the feeling of helplessness and grief that those who have accidentally killed somebody experience. I like the theme of good vs. evil, which was well depicted. I also agree with Iggy that the repetition of "It is moving. It is uncontrollable. It is irrepressible" was good. There are just a few things that I would change. First, trains take about five miles to come to a complete stop, but in your story, it seems to take just a short stretch of track to do so. Second, you say "formerly vision", which should read, "former vision". Thanks and keep writing!

~Kingofwernogs, Fact Checker




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Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:49 pm
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Iggy wrote a review...



Hello and welcome to YWS! My name is Iggy and I am here to review your very first work. :)

So! I only have one major nitpick: why wasn't this a poem? It has the flow of a poem, the way you spaced out certain sentences as it went on, mainly towards the end. Take my advice and see if you can make this into a freeverse poem. ^^

Other than that, this was nice to read. I especially loved the way you touched upon opposing forces, good vs. evil. The repitition of "It is moving. It is uncontrollable. It is irrepressible" was very nice, it wasn't overly done.

One thing I didn't like was the sudden death of the boy. Why was he even on the tracks? Was he simply standing there, or was he just passing? Did he know the train was coming? Did he welcome death willingly? Was this a suicide? That part left me hanging, I want to know why this boy was killed. And what did the train conductor do afterwards? We know the train stopped, but what did he do?

Overall, it was well-written! As far as I saw, no grammar errors or fixable nitpicks. Good job and keep writing!

Again, welcome to YWS! .. ;)

~ Iggy.




Carina says...


Thank you for welcoming me to YWS. Very much appreciated, d'oohhh.



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Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:39 pm
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whitepencil wrote a review...



That was incredible. Very well done! It was beautiful and intense. There were a few grammatical errors and... interesting choice of words, but barely worth mentioning.

For some reason the way you chose to reveal what the train hit bothered me. With your style of writing I think we could have figured out what the train hit without you flat out telling us "It was a boy!" We know the train is going to hit something from the moment you say "With the good, there is also bad." We know the narrative is building up to something as the train approaches something. The way you build up to that point, the crescendo as the unstoppable train takes the life of this boy is fantastically done. However, for me, it just feels like you're taking away from that when you then write, flat out, "it was a boy."

I think that's just me being picky, but there you go. Think on it, dismiss it entirely if you will. It's more my opinion than a real review, so I apologize for that.

I enjoyed this work a lot. Well done.




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Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:18 pm
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Veeren says...



<3




Blackwood says...


We did it.



Carina says...


Ignorance is bliss.



VeerenVKS says...


IT WORKED OMG.



Ignorance says...


You rang?




“I'd much rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea.”
— Carrie Bradshaw