1951: Vision From God

Alex Martin, guest writer

CLACA CLACK, CLACA CLACK, CLACA CLACK, CLACA CLACK, the deafening sound of metal clashing with metal.

            Cold sweat runs down my forehead, “There is no need to kill these people Jack, they have done nothing to you!”

             Jack tightens his grip on Elizabeth’s neck, “there can be no witnesses Andrew, I don’t need any loose ends blabbing information to the cops, besides no one cares about me!” Thoughts racing through my mind trying to find an edge in any of Jacks movement patterns only to be interrupted by the unstableness of the runaway train (the Broker) buckling on the edge of its track. I have no advantages, having the young girl at point blank range is a dangerous attempt on her life, but standing on an unstable train at maximum speed is really pushing our luck of surviving. The only option I have left is to save myself by jumping off the train while I can.

            Jumping with as much power in my legs as possible I leaped out of the train only to face plant the hard grass at 65 miles per hour, breaking my neck and a variety of other bones. Light fades into darkness and the sound of the train transforms into silence.

*   *    *  

            BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. My alarm screeches loudly waking me up for school.

            “What kind of dream… never mind that, why would Jack go bonkers and try to kill people to get revenge for his dead parents? It was only a dream so it’s not like it will ever happen, besides it’s time to do my morning devotional, Dear Lord, thank you for your blessings day in and day out, thank you for my friends, and thank you especially for the privilege of education amen. Ok, weird dreams like that are rare for me but that one was so life like, so realistic, so vivid. I should really tell someone.

             Riding on the Iron Maiden of the land let alone is loud enough to make you deaf, besides the other passengers on board having to talk over each other to understand each other is unbearable. All anyone is talking about is how the Soviet Union beat America in international Basketball. I’m not really a sports guy, but I do enjoy my fair share of football. Every day, back and forth on the “Broker” is starting to feel like a never ending cycle. If only I had a car. Speak of the devil here comes Jack driving in his new car, “Hey Jack, how you been?”

            “Everything is fine if you count my parents being dead.” Jack hasn’t been looking great since his parents funeral. Both of his parents died in a car crash due to the other driver being drunk as a sailor. I can’t imagine how he has been feeling. He’s now living with his aunt in her apartment, but that doesn’t mean his inheritance from his father wasn’t minuscule. He’s more of the high class in New Jersey, a spoiled child due to his his parents getting him everything he wants including his new car, a white convertible.

            With a big smirk on his face he says, “Anyways Andrew, look at the new car my father got me!”

            Rolling my eyes I replied, ”Its mighty impressive but until you actually earn enough money to buy your own car, your not fooling anyone on who really bought that car.”

            Jack speeds ahead of the train as if he was trying to race it but gets slowed down because of traffic, trying not to burst out laughing as I wave to him goodbye.

             I beat him to the university train stop. Preston University, my hometown college is usually a ghost town but there is a lot of younger kids and buses today. There must be an event going on… of course, high school students are being toured around campus to see if they would like to sign up for classes for their freshman year in college. I unfortunately didn’t get a chaperon position so I’m off to History class.

            “Uhh dude world history is such a drag, who cares about what China and Korea are doing. We are in America, not Asia of Europe.”

            Looking at Jack for several milliseconds and then rolling my eyes, “We may not be politicians but we should pay attention to what goes on around us.” Jack has been slipping in all of his classes lately and not responding to professors if they ask him a question.

            Lunchtime, 12:00, the best period of the day. Hope Jack doesn’t mind that I didn’t sit next to him today, I realized who I could talk to about my dream. During lunch, instead of eating with Jack I started to head off to the college counselor to talk to her about my dream.

            “Hello Andrew how can I help you today?” She’s always so nice to me, and as I tell her my dream, she stares at me with such intense thought making it feel as if she is reading my mind. After all is said and done she tells me “Only you can determine your future, it can be swayed or moved but we will always have a choice to get it back on track.”

             Like always she offers me a Hershey from her bowl of treats and as I go out I think about the many times I have come to her office to talk about my personal walk with God and always getting another way to look at a situation, I really should have offered Jack to come with me and not let him eat lunch alone.

             Feels like the day is passing by two times slower, especially since our calculus professor dragged the class 20 minuets over our normal class time talking to a group of kids about how Albert Einstein said If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

            Heading off to chemistry I see Jack sitting by himself, so naturally I walk towards him and before I can sit next to him he gets up and walks away with his hood pulled over his head as if to keep his identity secret. Guess he doesn’t wanna talk to me right now, can’t really blame him due to the week he’s having.

             Sitting in chemistry trying not to fall asleep as my professor tells the class about the nuclear test in Nevada, looking around the room I notice that Jacks not in class which is strange because he usually sits next to me.

            After chemistry I would usually have calculus but our professor is having a family issue so he canceled our class and now I get to head home early.

            Walking towards the train station I see a cute girl boarding the train, hope she won’t mind if I sit next to her.

            Getting on the train I notice Jacks car is still parked in the parking lot, usually when we are let out early he races the train while waving at me through the window but he was nowhere to be seen. So I walk up the trains steps an remain to have a sharp eye for that gal. Walking through the rows of people I finally find the nice looking gal sitting alone in a train car for four.

            “Do you mind if I sit here?” Looking quite surprised the girl motioned for me to sit across from her.

“My names Andrew, what’s yours?” 

            Looking at me straight in the eye she said “Elizabeth Shoomate nice to meet you.” She appeared to be sad about something but I did not ask about what,I still had Jack on my mind wondering where he was.

Suddenly, the train buckled backward and started to gain speed. Noticing my surroundings, I begin to understand what is happening.

“Hey get down, I think the train is being jacked!”

She got on all fours and asked “What makes you think that, the trains only going in another direction?”

“I know this because the train tracks end going this direction, there is an unfinished bridge with a deep waterfall below it, we have to get off now.” Trying to be subtle and moving towards the end of our train car, Jack emerges from the engine room of the train covered in blood.

“Andrew, I’m sorry you had to be here for this but I have had enough of people ignoring me. My parents only bought me things to keep me away or preoccupied, never spending time with me. I hated them, I wanted to love them but it’s impossible.” Seeing his fists curl up I notice he has a gun, he pulls the young girl I sat next to towards him.

“I’m going to crash this train into the waterfall at the end of the tracks and use this girl as a hostage.”

I The only option I have left is to save myself by jumping off the train while I can. This time as I jump I’m stopped in mid air, the feeling of weightlessness is mind blowing.

“What the, what’s going on?”

“Andrew, have you learned nothing? Can’t you see how to save your friend Jack? Don’t let him sit by himself at lunch, ask him to accompany you to counseling, talk more to the young girl, and most importantly don’t just save yourself. Jack is in a very dark place right now and only you can change his and others future.”

The only thing in my mind I can think of is “Is God speaking to me?”

“Andrew, when I wake you up I want you to think about what you have dreamt tonight and change what happens today.”

“Wait, this was all a dream? Are you sure only I can save Jack?”

The dream starts fading and an aura of white surrounds me, “I believe in you Andrew, I have given you a vision of what could happen. First you must comfort Jack as soon as you see him, second invite him to counseling, third keep track of Jack during chemistry, and finally don’t abandon the hostages on the train.”

*   *   *

            BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Grabbing my alarm clock and smashing the snooze button, I sit straight up in my bed and I know for certain how the day is going to play out step by step. Knowing exactly what Jack would do today if I don’t interfere with his fate. Now I only have to worry about how he may react when I do change his fate for the better, like Franklin D. Roosevelt has said, “All we have to fear, is fear itself.”


Works Cited

Beitler, Stu. “Woodbridge, NJ Commuter Train Plunges Off Trestle, Feb 1951. ” GenDisasters.                                     n. d. Web. 21 Jan. 2018.

Bilby. “1951 Woodbridge Train Wreck. ” patch.com. 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2018.

Gorman, Robert. Great Events from History The 20th Century 1941-1970. Pasadena California:                             Salem Press, 2008. Print.

LaPenta, Frank. “Resident recalls deadly Woodbridge train wreck of 1951.” myCenrtalJersey. 9                             Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2018.

Shapiro. “The Wreck of The Broker: The Story of New Jersey’s Deadliest Train Wreck. ”                                            tapinto.net. Web. 7 Sept. 2017. 2 Feb. 2018.