Hannah never liked trains. She had a fear of them falling off the tracks and off of a cliff or a bridge. The train was the only transportation she had to travel between her house and her grandmother’s home in a secluded mountain village. Most times, she could immerse herself in a book or playing with her sister but this time she did not have that luxury.
The train had stopped in the middle of the mountain tunnel. There was some sort of problem that they had to fix before they could continue and were stuck there in the dark until that time. Her sister, Sierra, was happy as a clam playing with her doll in the low lights while Hannah fidgeted and tried not to have a panic attack.
Closing her eyes, she practiced the breathing technique that her mother had told her to use. It was not helping but it gave her something to focus on.
“Hannah!! Look!” Sierra’s voice broke through what little focus she had. Her sister sounded excited but Hannah couldn’t bring herself to care. “I saw a little man outside the window!”
“It was probably one of the train’s crew. Nothing to get excited over.”
“No it wasn’t!” Now Sierra sounded offended and Hannah had to sigh. If her sister was upset, she’d be hearing about it all week from her grandmother.
“Then who was it?”
“A dwarf? Sierra, those aren’t real.” She had tried to convince her mother to stop reading all of those fantasy books to Sierra before bed. So far, nothing had worked. Opening her eyes, she met Sierra’s stubborn glare. For a ten year old, the girl had the stubbornness of a mule. She even had that tilt to her chin that meant she wasn’t budging.
“Yes they are.”
“No they aren’t. They are just myths.”
“Then how do you explain that?!” She pointed at the window and Hannah glanced over just amuse her. Expecting nothing but the blackness of the cave and the dull glow from their window, a screamed ripped through her throat the dirty face staring back at her.
The bearded man seemed to laugh at her reaction as she scrambled away from the window. His teeth were yellowed and his skin wrinkly but there was a friendly look in his eyes that cut her scream short. She could form any words but Sierra put her hands against the window to return the man’s smile.
“Is this your mountain?” She practically bounced in happiness as the dwarf smiled and then pointed downwards. Sierra tilted her head and Hannah wasn’t sure if she wanted to know what was down there. “Oh! There are more than one of you.”
“Hannah! Come here, come say hello!” Sierra turned to beam at Hannah but she was still plastered against the door to their little compartment.
“I’m fine right here.” She squeaked, still trying to process what she was seeing. Dwarves were real. They lived in the mountain pass to her grandmother’s village. This was beyond insanity. Lifting her hand, she managed a small wave to appease her sister. “Hello.”
Sierra laughed and turned back to talking to the dwarf through the window. “Are you the reason why the train is stopped?” Again the dwarf nodded and Sierra crossed her arms unhappily. “That isn’t very nice of you. My sister doesn’t like trains and you are just making things worse. Can you please fix it?”
The dwarf frowned and seemed to ponder her request before nodding again. Sierra smiled and pressed a kiss on the glass right over the man’s forehead. “Thank you!”
“Now we’ll be at Grandmama’s house in no time!” Sierra moved over to sit next to Hannah as the dwarf disappeared from view.
“Maybe she will give me some of her old bourbon…”
“What was that?”
“Nothing Sierra, nothing at all.”
Well that was a fun piece ^_^
Tomorrow’s Creature: Elf