Travel Advice

“Whoa,” Terri wasn’t prepared for the sudden darkness. The train had just pulled away from the station before it suddenly entered a tunnel. She didn’t see anything that looked like a tunnel as she boarded. Terri was very aware of her shortcomings; paying attention to her surroundings was not one of her strengths.

She felt a slight concern flutter in her stomach when no lights came on in the cabin once they entered the tunnel. She sat still in pitch black, unable to see her hand in front of her face. Terri managed to keep her calm by trusting the other passengers around her; they weren’t panicking so she wouldn’t either. Then, sunlight filled the train again. Terri faced out the window to watch the landscape roll by. In the back of her mind, she wondered if the sun was a little bit lower in the sky than when she boarded at 10 in the morning. She spotted something white in her peripheral vision before she spent too much time thinking about the sun. She faced forward and gave a sharp, surprised inhale.

A mountain of white fur was seated in front of her; she glanced up and recognized the polar bear’s head from behind. Terri swiveled her gaze and checked the strangers seated across the aisle. None of them seemed the slightest bit concerned about a bear among them.

Terri noticed the woman one seat ahead of her, across the aisle, turned and faced the polar bear directly.

“Could I trouble you?” the woman asked the bear while she pointed at it. Terri watched the towering animal shake his head; she heard a low, gravelly voice.

“No trouble at all,” the bear said. It stretched out its paw across the aisle holding a newspaper.

“Thank you,” the woman smiled and took the paper from the bear. Terri considered herself to have a very level mind; she felt that staying calm was her best strength. She wanted to imagine that she wouldn’t have sat down behind a polar bear if she had noticed him.

If he wasn’t a polar bear when she sat down; and, no one else seemed concerned. Maybe he wasn’t one at all. Terri sighed and dug her node out from her travel bag.

[Hey, so. I’m pretty sure I’m insane now. -Trri] She sent a Whisper to her friend. Terri wanted to ensure Katie would be prepared for her oncoming irrationality.

[LOL. What’s going on? – KT] [I get on the train to come see you. No bear. – Trri] [We went through a tunnel, now there’s a bear. – Trri] 

[No one else can see it. Only one explanation. -Trri] [My brain broke. – Trri] [LOLOL! You’re not crazy! -KT] [Explain the polar bear.  -Trri] [You’ve never ridden Sharp Railroads? – KT] [No. Why?” -Trri] [You’re safe and not crazy. -KT] [Enjoy the ride. See you soon. -KT] [K. – Trri] She felt relieved for a moment before she was swallowed by darkness again. The tunnel did not feel as long as the first one; though, Terri chalked that up to her knowing what to expect. Instead of light filling the train; it simply became less dark suddenly. Terri could see. She glanced out the window and spotted a full moon in the dark sky.

“Huh,” she said to herself. Terri looked forward. The mountain of white fur was replaced by a balding, tan head that looked vaguely familiar to her. She remembered sitting down behind a bald man.

“Thank you,” the woman that borrowed the newspaper said suddenly. Terri looked and saw a black-furred cat-person returning the paper to the man that was a polar bear moments before.  Unsure how to deal with it, Terri turned her attention back out the window. Movement caught her attention; several somethings ran alongside the train.

“I’m not crazy,” Terri smiled to herself with a slight chuckle. She trusted Katie, but she wished her friend gave her more information.  She stared and made a mental note to ask Katie about it later. With that decision made, she let herself relax and watched the herd of unicorns racing the train by moonlight.

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