(excerpt 7. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)
“I know what you mean. I'm going to New York to be the editor of a fashion magazine,” she said.
“That's not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel,” I replied. When I looked at her for a response she simply winked and smiled.
We talked for a while as the train chugged through the darkness. The rain beat rhythmically against the window as the chill of the night air infiltrated the insulated walls of the cabin.
“I'm getting cold. Do you mind if I sit next to you?” she asked.
I slid closer to the window to make room for her and to shield her from the elements. She sat down next to me, lifted my arm above her head, snuggled in against my side, and allowed my arm to fall on her shoulder. She put her arm around my waist and leaned her head against my chest.
“That's much better,” she said. “You're very warm, Parker.”
“Uh huh,” I said.
“Look at that,” she said.
“I fit perfectly.”
While she slept in my arms I watched the night scene unfold outside the window. The bitter rain had changed to snow and the ground was now covered in an endless, downy blanket. Streetlights glowed while couples strolled down the sidewalks, their eyelashes punctuated by vanilla crystals. High on a hill in the distance, I saw a giant merry-go-round - as big as a city block. It spun and played festive music while the animals leapt and lunged as they ran in circles. Its lights, bright and soft, cascaded down the hill through the snow, picking up intensity as they tumbled down through the powdery landscape.
The train rolled on.
In the distance up ahead a farm glowed under the lunar luminescence. The full moon, looking larger than life, hung low in the sky over the red barn and silver silo. As we got closer I noticed cows standing around in the soft light munching on the bright green grass in the pasture. As we rolled past I looked back to see a cow jump over the moon.
Picturesque farms and quaint small towns gave way to dirty city streets and dilapidated dwellings as we drew near to the big city. The pristine snow changed to a grimy rain. Two malevolent young men, wearing sagging pants and sweatshirts with the hoods pulled far over their faces, stood toe to toe. After a brief verbal exchange the faceless thugs pulled pistols from their waistbands. A flurry of bright flashes and loud pops ensued, and a moment later both were lying lifeless on the ground in a pool of blood.
On a street corner stood a young girl -- she looked to be about fifteen or sixteen – dressed in high heels, a crimson miniskirt that would make a Vegas showgirl blush, and a skimpy white halter top. Her face was painted like an opera singer, but the makeup couldn't hide her drooping eyes, lips which were turned down at the corners, and sunken cheeks. I wanted to jump off the train and rescue her and take her home to her parents, but as the thought floated through my mind the scene changed to one of towering skyscrapers and bright lights and throngs of people walking down spotless city sidewalks.
About that time, Janelle woke up. She yawned as she stretched her arms above her head. Her fuzzy sweater bristled as her curvaceous body undulated beneath it.