The Lure of Smashing Pennies

Posted: December 5, 2018 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , ,

Time was, Rita loved the clickity-clackity of steel wheels on metal rails,
the long, low sound of a whistle at midnight and noon.

For many, the coal-oil scent of trains,
the sight of rails disappearing over the horizon
quickened the heart, caused feet to roam.
Not for Rita. She spread roots and settled.

Then the hoot of the whistle turned to squealing brakes.
Metal grinding on metal replaced the rhythmic clickity-clack
and an iron-scent of blood filled the air.

How many times had she told little Tom, “Keep your coins in your pocket.”?
She hefted her suitcase and locked the door.

 

Comments
  1. James McEwan says:

    In many ways a sad conclusion. Although we all eventually settle, it is a shame about the consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. neilmacdon says:

    I loved “the long, low sound of the whistle at midnight and noon”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 4963andypop says:

    What a tragic end to her little boy. She’s leaving now. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jade M. Wong says:

    Your descriptions are superb here, although I am just slightly confused as to what had happened to Little Tom. I had to re-read the story a few times to conclude that perhaps he died and she is leaving to escape the memories?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How sad that this is what moves her on. The sound of a train will always bring back horrible memories. The description is moving, well told.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lisarey1990 says:

    This is so tragic but very beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excelent tension in this piece. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jillyfunnell says:

    Beautiful descriptions in your tragic story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. granonine says:

    There’s an underlying sadness here right from the start, and it crashes into reality with the iron smell of blood. Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Lish,

    There’s nothing more tragic than a mother outliving her child. Beautifully and poetically told.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Traveling is okay, but home–with its scents and sounds and more–feels so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Iain Kelly says:

    A bit of a shock at the end, poor Tom. Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Abhijit Ray says:

    Someone came under the wheels of train? Why is she leaving?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sandra says:

    This was quite a remarkable re-run of my childhood. I remember crouching by the rail-tracks, laying coins on the rails and never really moving very far away as the train came. Looking back, even if we didn’t get killed by the on-rushing loco there was a good chance we’d have been killed stone dead by a flying coin. Beautifully done, Alicia.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kestril Trueseeker says:

    Heartbreaking. I can’t say I blame her for moving on. My heart would break every time I heard the train too.

    Like

  16. Oh poor Tom! She’ll never escape that no matter where she goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This really took me back to my childhood. The railway ran past the bottom of our garden and my mates and I loved putting halfpennies on the track so they got flattened into pennies that fitted a sweetie slot machine! Thinking back, we did take risks!

    Click to read my FriFic tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. draliman says:

    Such a tragic end. I remember kids at school showing off their train-crushed coins – it could have been them…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. pennygadd51 says:

    You tell that story beautifully, Lish.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dale says:

    Living next to a railway, I can’t tell you how many times coins have been placed on the rails. Never heard of a child dying but I my dog did lose her head. Literally. Thankfully we didn’t see her but her body was found and my husband identified it. But the next day the railroad people gave us her collar which confirmed it all. I only hope no children saw the remains… ugh.

    As for your story, I think I would move on, too… so tragic.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. plaridel says:

    it must be disheartening to lose a son like that. well told.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Alice Audrey says:

    Did he do that thing where you put an coin on the track to see what will happen?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Violet Lentz says:

    Having put a few pennies on the tracks myself as a child, I’m glad to have avoided this scenario.. But maybe that’s because I never met Rita…

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wonderful imagery. Us kids used to put pennies on the tracks all the time growing up. Nicely done

    Like

  25. Thanks very much! Happy Holidays!

    Like

  26. Such a tragic end… and I feel in the end you learn that roots are not the soil or the landscape but also the people around you… when they are gone you have to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Her calm demeanor is disturbing.
    Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Heartbreaking story, Lish. I can see why she wanted to pull up her roots and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. jwdwrites says:

    Poor Tom, what a thing to have on your conscience, no wonder Rita is moving on.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. jwdwrites says:

    Great story by the way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. You create the mood and sense of place so vividly. Liked the way you build up the sense of unease right from the start. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Laurie Bell says:

    Oh my gosh. So sad. The noise of a train always reminds me of work. Soumd and noise is a powerful memory trigger. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

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