I shall do it!
The plan: Wait for the toll of six. Look to the east for Daiden’s flare. Run. Get under the C-O car. Grab the gun.
If Sabra got hit, then the others would have to start again from Stone Hill.
I shall do it.
She looked up and saw the deep gray clouds. Beyond, she saw the blue.
I shall do it for Echo.
The ground was mud under her knees. She shifted her body backward and rested against her pack. During the fine days of Jasper, Echo would sit in the same hidden spot, reading and writing the things of a dulcess. Together there, Sabra and Echo would talk as good friends do, while the stars made their way across the sky.
I shall do it for Paapa.
Her mother had gained the Council’s favor and refused to return to the Everbrush. She did not look at Sabra as she walked away. Paapa was prostrate, pleading as his daughter suffered the punishment.
Sabra blinked back tears.
I shall do it for Fin.
The graveyard, they had called it. Trains without tracks. Old metal beasts that came alive with the midnight company of friends. Fin told her that he fell in love with her there.
The last time she saw him — his arms thrashing, his fists clenched, and his face enraged. But he would not speak to them.
When he fell, they made her watch while his blood flowed and mixed with the dirt.
She spread her hands and saw it there. It fell on her jacket and colored her socks. It clung to her hair. She tasted it with every rush of the wind. Its purpose: to depress, to heighten fear, to suffocate bravery, to mark the ones who would rather rise. How successful the Council had been with their campaign.
And then, it happened.
The sky looked like late afternoon. Soon the sun would pass.
Sabra leaned against the shackle. From her pocket, she took the note, carefully unfolding its delicate state. She had memorized the words long ago, but looking at the torn, thin parchment reminded her of how they came to be her own.
She closed her eyes and moved her lips: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”
I shall do it for Him.
Nightfall. She moved under the coupler and held tight to the rung. Beyond the drumming of the rain she heard laughter and breaking glass. Inside she felt like she would soon explode.
I shall do it because it must be done.
On Writing: I wrote this story for no other reason than to have fun writing from an image. When I saw the photo, my first thought was “A person is hiding here.” If you’re a writer, then you know how strange things can happen between the first and the last words of a new story. This story ended up far from what I planned. Quite a mixture of things. And that’s what makes fiction writing so enjoyable. Sometimes you just go with the flow.
Sabra’s Note: The words read by Sabra are from a Bible verse — Psalm 27:10, the verse that changed my life when I first read it about 30 years ago.
About the Image: I found the image after being referred to a photo blog, BlueEyesBrown. Click here for more shots from her abandoned train photo shoot.