She's angry, and hurt, and playing with fire...will her twelve-year-old cousin get caught up in her games?
Photo by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Jasmine crawled through the hole and stood on the other side. She grinned at Thomas, who leaned against the wire. His face was pale. “We shouldn’t be here,” he said.
“That’s the point!” she told him. “You can stay there, you don’t have to come through, but what’s the point in living if you don’t beat anything?” She bent towards him, and waved her hands. “Especially death!”
He recoiled and squatted to slide through the gap. “I’m here, okay.”
“Cool.” Jasmine moved towards the track, stared up and down the railway line, and glanced at her watch. A big grin filled her face. “We’re on time.”
“What time is it?” asked Thomas.
“Five past four.”
“So what are you doing? Will you get back behind the fence before Four fifteen?” he asked.
“Gosh, you’re a scaredy cat!” Her eyes glistened with adrenalin. “Yes, we’ll be safe before the train comes!”
“It’s our play ground before! We’ve got twelve minutes, or maybe eleven before the train comes!” Jasmine put her foot on the closest track and grinned at Thomas.
“What about the electric line, the live one?” cried Thomas.
“There isn’t one, we’re not electrified out here,” she told him. “Look, I can stand on the track!” She stood inside the lines and giggled at her cousin’s terrified expression. “It’s fine,” she said glancing at her watch again, “ten more minutes!”
“What if it’s early?”
“It won’t be that early!” Jasmine felt her heart pound within her chest and her legs felt slightly wobbly. She stared down the rails then hopped from one sleeper to the next. “Whoop whoop!” she cried.
She twirled on a sleeper slipping off onto the gravel between and giggled.
“Jasmine,” called Thomas.
“I don’t like you on there…”
“I don’t suppose you do, my mum would have a heart attack!”
“How soon do you want to meet Freya?” Thomas quipped, with more seriousness than he meant.
Jasmine’s eyes glowered. “I don’t want to meet her, that’s the point!” Her voice rose. “I’ll beat death, she couldn’t manage it, but I can!”
Thomas shrugged and leaned back against the wire fence, gripping it with both his hands.
Jasmine danced along the track again then rushed over to Thomas. “It’s fun!” she said right into his face then waltzed back towards the rails, jumping right into the middle of the track.
“What time is it?” asked Thomas.
“Eight minutes past, we’ve got ages, the train doesn’t come until seventeen minutes…” Jasmine’s heart suddenly leapt into her mouth as the rails beside her began to whine. “What’s that noise?” she asked, spinning round.
“Jazz!” Thomas screamed. “It’s a train!”
Jasmine whirled round and the smile fell from her face. “That’s not the train I expected!” she yelled, “It’s the wrong direction!”
“It’s still coming!”
Jasmine didn’t move. Her heart pounded, and she stared straight at the train racing down the track towards her, but still she didn’t move.
“JASMINE!” Thomas’ scream filled her ears as much as the horn that hooted. The tracks vibrated and Jasmine’s legs turned to jelly.
“MOVE, JASMINE, MOVE!” Thomas leapt forward towards the track.
She stared blankly at the figure waving fiercely in the advancing train window and suddenly Jasmine came to her senses. Her legs reacted and bounded off the railway as the train squealed past, its horn screaming in her ears. She landed and skidded on all fours in the gravel by the side of the track. She rolled across the stones, unaware of the tear in her jeans and the blood on her hands. Her head spun and her mouth was as dry as the summer earth. She felt violently sick as she rolled onto her knees and stood up, and she shook as she grabbed hold of the wire fence. The train sped on, rushing by in a haze, clattering down the track. Her hands trembled terribly as she hung on and tears slipped unconsciously down her cheeks.
“Seventeen, seventeen…” she repeated, and tried to read her watch on her wrist. “seventeen…it’s not seventeen…”
Her eyes could make no sense of the numbers on her watch and she heaved a huge tremulous sigh. She looked up and the train had gone, vanished into the distance, leaving only the hint of a hum behind it. Barely able to stand Jasmine let her tears fall freely. She gazed about her then up and down her body, she smoothed down her jacket and stamped her feet, trying to stop shaking. Then the giggles came, surfacing uncontrollably. She laughed, letting tears stream down her face. She stared up at the sky and let the sun blind her. Then she began to calm down. “Thomas!” She licked her lips and shuddered. “Wow, Thomas, did you see that? Of course you did! WOW…I’ve never been so scared, in all my life!” She glanced about her. “Thomas? Thomas? Where are you?” Panic hit her brutally. “Thomas! THOMAS?”