Christmas doesn’t exist. Maybe if you live in a three-story house in the suburbs with a fireplace, two cars in the garage, both parents at home for the holidays.
But we live in a two-bedroom, Section 8 apartment in the city. Our Albanian landlord doesn’t speak English. The ceiling leaks when the upstairs neighbor flushes the toilet. The only Christmas present I get each year is the tap of coal pebbles against my window from the ghostly locomotives that power down the abandoned railroad behind our building, and the false hope that my dad will be released.
Tonight, I don’t hear the light hum of a passing train from history.
The furniture rattles as it slows. The horn startles me out of bed. I lift my window, the cool air and dirty snow rush inside.
“I’m on a tight schedule!” the conductor shouts from below.
“Where does this train go?”
“725 kilometers north of Greenland! 90 degrees north latitude! The middle of the Arctic Ocean!”
“The North Pole,” I whisper, and I leap from the ledge.
word count: 173
Ah, is it Christmas yet? One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is The Polar Express. I just couldn’t resist with this week’s prompt for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thank you, Louise at The Storyteller’s Abode!