Tunnel vision


The whistle from the steam locomotive was followed by an imperceptible tug on the couplers connecting the cars. The slow, but steady acceleration out of the station left the platform in the past, along with their worries.

She had convinced him that this was exactly what they needed, a relaxing ride across the countryside. Between the lost luggage, botched hotel reservations, and steady diet of inclement weather, this was not the ideal way to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

He reached over to wrap his hand around hers, the wrinkles showing battle scars each had endured over the years. The memories of a child that was never conceived, despite their persistent attempts, was never fully purged from their weary hearts. A resilient couple, each took a turn to help support the other. It was her turn, after his perfectly planned getaway turned out to be anything but.

The gentle sway of the open car along with the cool autumn breeze assuaged his anxieties. With elevated pulse finally beginning to subside, he leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek. She gazed into his eyes and smiled. No words were exchanged, but the message was clear.

The grating sound of metal on metal along with an abrupt deceleration pulled their attention from the silent conversation. The unrest exuded by other passengers was not unfounded. This unplanned stop found the train in enveloping darkness. The damp and musty smell of whatever was growing on these tunnel walls permeated the senses.

The murmur of voices in the black void escalated, along with the distressing cries from children and their vivid imaginations. Just to the right, he discerned a pinpoint of light that shouldn’t have been there.

Taking her hand, still intertwined with his, he led her confidently through the dark aisle towards the light. As the distance dwindled, the source grew more luminous, appearing like a portal to another world. Together, they stepped over the threshold, darkness transforming into radiant brightness reminiscent of a fairy tale.

tunnel-of-loveThe dirt pathway stretching out before them went on for as far as the eye could see. Framed by the arch of trees, limbs reached to connect overhead, creating a canopy of protection from adversity. With each step, the stale scent of stone walls was replaced with the intoxicating scent of blooming gardenias. In this world, there was no pain, no burden, only love.

Feeling the ground shuffle beneath her, she wrapped her free hand around his waist. She was dancing with him, swaying to and fro in the most glorious ballroom at the turn of the century. It was then that she heard the misplaced sound of a whistle, and sensed the emergence of natural light in the train car.

As the train continued forward, his baby blues locked on her hazel eyes, he tossed a smile in her direction. She returned one, as if bobbing a curtsy to thank him for the dance. The darkest tunnel would never dampen the light shining inside them.

Author’s Note: I composed this story through a weekly prompt provided by a new online writing community that I have subscribed to on Amazon. WriteOn is a great way for writers to expand their comfort zone by experimenting in different genres, incrementally releasing stories, and soliciting feedback on what is working/not working from other members. I highly encourage aspiring writers to check it out. I am presently pushing my own envelope by working on development of a short story in the thriller genre. Stay tuned, and as always, best wishes for an inspired day!


7 thoughts on “Tunnel vision

  1. Writing to Freedom June 24, 2015 / 11:17 am

    Another gem Dave. Your stories always seem to capture both my imagination and my heart. I’m glad you are honing your craft, expanding your gift for words. blessings, Brad

    • davecenker June 24, 2015 / 12:38 pm

      Thanks Brad, I always appreciate how you take the time to read my stories and offer such encouraging words and comments. Best wishes, as always, for an inspired day!

  2. heraldmarty June 24, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    What a charming story, and I just love the images you used Dave. The writing group sounds really interesting, I’ll take a peek. 🙂

    • davecenker June 25, 2015 / 8:28 am

      Thank you Marty, I appreciate your kind comments. It’s amazing the quality of public domain pictures when you dig deep to find them 🙂 There are certainly many talented individuals who are more than willing and gracious to share their talents. The writing group seems to be geared towards fiction, but I have seen the occasional non-fiction piece pop up. Thanks again Marty, charming is exactly the tone I was going for in this story, so I am pleased to hear you describe it as such 😉

  3. roughwighting June 28, 2015 / 10:02 am

    This is an absolutely beautiful story – written with subtlety yet great emotion. Perhaps this should be your genre? !

    • davecenker June 29, 2015 / 8:06 am

      Thanks Pamela, I was feeling the same way too, that this could potentially be my chosen genre 😉 Of course, I am currently working on a story in the mystery/thriller genre. I guess you could say that I am in my exploratory state right now 🙂 But, I agree – this type of story flows so well, and easily for me. Thanks for reading and best wishes for an inspired day!

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