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Three Tears

by grinch 

Posted: 09 August 2005
Word Count: 1542

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Three Tears

Travelling at over one hundred miles an hour, it would still take over one mile to stop. Steel on steel doesn’t give the best braking medium. By the time Jack, the driver, had seen the bundle on the rails ahead of him he knew it was to late to stop safely. As the bundle or package approached, Jack still couldn’t quite make out what it was, he was thankful that he was just moving empty carriages and didn’t have several hundred commuters sat behind him.

The steel wheels on the hard cold steel rails had little effect, the speed dropped of very slowly and Jack braced himself for the impact. He knew if the object was solid that his train would certainly de-rail, he might survive but it would be unlikely. Jack closed his eyes as the impact grew nearer by the second.

Bound gagged and terrified. The body in the bag had been severely beaten and even more severely violated in an unspeakable manner. She had wished her attacker would have just killed her and put her out of her miserable torment. Only he hadn’t. Instead he’d bound her up with parcel tape, wrapped her in polythene and what felt like roofing insulation. The fibreglass material against her naked skin was itching and sore. The pain focused her mind away from the inner pain left behind by her attacker. She was curled up, almost foetal like on her side, abandoned between two great lengths of steel that ran all the way to London.

I always liked to watch.

The chase was always thrilling, the time spent with my victims exciting, but for pure pleasure and exhilaration this was the best. The last moments of their lives sent shivers down my spine and back to my neck again. The shivers of excitement began to reach my groin as well.

I’d left her on the line, she was no good to me now and I wasn’t the type of man to actually dirty my own hands with her murder. Someone else can take the guilt for that, namely the one driving the train.

When I’d finished with her I’d bound her and gagged her, wrapped her in old Hessian cloth and then polythene which I had secured with parcel tape. Dragging her limp petrified body between the derelict warehouses without being seen wasn’t an issue. The area here was practically abandoned. Run down and derelict buildings, ear-marked for demolition provided an ideal residence for my games. The fence line between the street and the railway line was in tatters, rotten timbers breaking with the weight of her body pushed against them.

The track was only three yards away from the broken down fence, moving across the rough grass onto the ballast at the side of the track was easy. Lifting her up the embankment of ballast onto the track proved difficult. The loose ballast running from beneath my feet, I feel to my knees. I pushed at the bundle managing to roll it into the ‘four foot’, the area between the rails.

Sliding back down from the track and through the fence I was now stood on a road bridge overlooking the railway line. The bundle of material that contained my latest treasure was just visible in the fading light. The sun had fallen behind the derelict warehouses, their silhouettes casting long shadows across open wasteland and the railway track. The sky behind me was darkening the air growing cooler and still. I can feel the anticipation building. It wont be long now. I can see the tracks disappearing in the distance, as I wait for the bright white headlight.

“There” I whisper to myself as the headlight appears from behind a distant building.

Jack sounded the horn from the darkness of his cab. Silently hoping the object would move, but knowing it wouldn’t. he glanced down at his in-cab speedometer – 65mph – there was no way to avoid it, he was going to hit it. Squinting into the darkness ahead he saw the sheen off the polythene. It moved.

Her name was Karen. A city girl who took a wrong turn and got lost on an old industrial estate. Desperate to find a way out she stopped and asked the one person who ensured there was no way out. She was cold, shivering yet her face was wet with sweat fear.
Her head was lying on something cold and hard. It felt smooth on her cheek, even through the material in which she was wrapped.

The felt, more than heard, the vibration on her face. It quickly became a high pitched whistling sound. Her mind raced trying to understand what it was. Her wrapping let in no light at all, darkness was her only companion until this noise took over. The vibration became a rumble, her whole body began to shake.
The sound of the two tone horn filled the cloth sacking. She froze as her brain deciphered what it was.

Realizing, she tried to twist away from its source, filled with panic and fear she tried to scream. The muffled sound that escaped the gag was unheard under the noise of the train as it bore down on her.

The horn emerged from the darkness, screaming its intent. Bearing down on my victim with astonishing speed. I wondered if the driver had seen what lay in his path. How will he feel when he realises what is was that he crushed beneath his dozens of wheels. I feel no pity for him, after all, she was as good a dead before I placed her in its path.

She wasn’t the best victim I’d ever had either. She lay there, still, almost frozen with fear and let me play. Some of them fight back, get feisty and scream.

They’re the best. I need to be in control of the situation and with them I can exert my strength and power over them. This one with her cold frigid body was to clinical. I felt no remorse for her, she deserved to be where she was now. No other man would want it, not after I’d finished with her anyway. I think I’m doing her a favour, putting her out of her miserable misery.

I watched as the headlight of the locomotive reflected off the plastic covering. It moved!
Now she fights back. A last desperate struggle for life. She knows what’s about to happen to her. The horn from the train gave it away.

“Too late now, bitch” I mutter to myself.

Inside the sack cloth she knew it was too late. She was bound so tightly there was no chance of moving from the path of the steel beast that was so close now she could almost taste its fumes. The earth rumbled beneath her, the vibration through the rails hurt her head.

No one heard her final cries. From her young eyes fell a single tear. There wasn’t time for a second.

Jack braced himself for the impact. Secure in his cab he had nowhere to run to. No choice but to sit tight and ride it out, wait for the derailment and pray that if his time had come it would be quick.

For twenty five years his worst fears were about to be realised. He thought of jean at home waiting for his return. His youngest daughter at university, his eldest and his grand-children.

In the fleeting seconds before the impact he dismissed the movement of the object a trick of the light. Instead thinking of vandals getting a kick out of placing things on the line. He imagined there faces, wide eyed and waiting for the carnage they had instigated.

The sickening thud as the train hit the girl at fifty miles per hour was the sweetest thing Jack had ever heard. In that split second he knew a soft impact meant no derailment.

When the train finally came to stop some half a mile later, Jack sat back in his cab seat. Overcome with relief that he was still in one piece his emotions flowed through.

The tears of relief came fast. There’d be more to follow soon.

I heard the thud as the train hit my package, and I watched in awe as it was sliced open. Its shredded contents spilling out, getting caught up in the following wheels, then in the wheels that followed them and so on and so on.

I had to stand on tiptoes no to see over the parapet of the bridge as the remains of it were dragged beneath me. My heart pounded and my jaw was aching from the grin that was firmly placed upon my face. I wanted to jump with joy as I watched her destruction.

Annihilation of victim number five.

No matter how many times I did this it became more enthralling each time. I realised I was actually hopping from one foot to the other as the carnage was spread out across the tracks. Placing my hands over my face to stifle a delightful cry I felt a wet spot. I was actually crying, so over come with my creation of death I hadn’t noticed the tears.

© Richard Bell

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 08:57 on 09 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Richard,

I enjoyed this story overall.

I noticed you tend to repeat words quite close together, and quite often. ‘Over’ in the first sentence and ‘impact’ in the second paragraph. ‘Severely’ in the third paragraph. And ‘The pain focused her mind away from the inner pain’ etc.

I noticed this a few times Richard, and I don’t want to pick apart an otherwise fine story, but it is distracting, and not really the ‘done thing’. A thesaurus could help you out, to add a different flavour to these words, or even just delete the repeated words entirely. I don’t think the story would suffer. i.e . The pain focused her mind. Much snappier.

I loved this sentence: 'She stopped and asked the one person who ensured there was no way out.'

That really summed up the horror for me.

In this section, you build the tension wonderfully. The POV slips actually work in the scene later on, but earlier in the story, the initail switch of POV is disorientating. You skip from the viewpoint of the train driver to the murderer without a breath, and I think you need to write a few lines to let the reader know this has happened. Something along the lines of ‘meanwhile…’ and then establish a location.

I also loved: 'A soft impact meant no derailment'. Gross!

But it helps us visualise the horror so clearly. So much so, in fact, that I felt the blood and carnage at the end was a little redundant, and I’d advise you to rely more on colour and sound here than actually coming right out and saying ‘carnage spread across the tracks’ if that makes sense? Show don't tell. We're all guilty of it, but when you are 'SHOWING' in the story, it's great!

Here are a few typos and things I noticed (a spell checker will easily sort them out):

To late - too
To clinical – too

The steel wheels on the hard cold steel rails – repeat of steel twice? See my comments above.

Dropped of - off

Miserable misery? I don’t think that works at all. Clunky. Can you say that sadness is sad? It's a bit too obvious.

He imagined there faces - their

You build tension terrifically towards the end of the tale, and on the whole, the story works well with some good description. I feel the narrative could be tightened somewhat, and the ‘obvious’ aspects of the psycho and the carnage toned down to give the action full effect. I think with a little work, you could make a good story really fantastic!

I hope you don't think I'm too harsh. I genuinely liked the ideas here and wanted to help.


Becca at 06:59 on 12 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Richard,
I thought the story would have more impact from one POV, and I reckoned the girl's is the most difficult to do. The murderer is a little bit of a stock character, isn't he? So I felt in the end you could make something really gripping if you wrote from the POV of the train driver. When he's relieved that the train isn't disrailed, it's grimly horrifying to the reader who knows what's in the bundle. Is it true, though, that a body on a line is that soft? I wondered if you'd done any research?
Here are a few more typos for you:
'I feel to my knees'--> fell?
a comma is needed after 'darkening.'
a comma is needed after 'this one.'
'jean' --> Jean.
'he dismissed the movement of the object (as?) a trick of the light.'
'Bound gagged and terrified' is only one half of a sentence.
'The felt more than heard'--> is this an unfinished sentence? Or what about 'she felt more than heard, so the sentence has got a subject?

I think also it would be worth thinking about the use of adjectives. I think you just need one good one to replace two less imaginative ones, say in 'limp petrified'--> I think here you need to imagine yourself in that bundle? Would you be limp? Near the beginning, as well, you have severely, unspeakable and miserable all in quick sucession. My own view on adjectives and adverbs is that used really sparingly they are powerful, overused they bring a story down.
'Silently hoping'--> is silently of much use here?
'Miserable misery'!

I think JB mentions 'steel wheels on the hard cold steel rails', that is two steels in the same sentence; it was hard to read it fluently. There are four 'her' in quick sucession somewhere further on.

Changing tenses can work, but not mid para as at 'I can feel the anticipation', if you changed it at 'Sliding back from the track' it would work better.

I really liked the image of 'abandoned between two great lengths of steel that ran all the way to London.' I could really visualise the bundle on the tracks.

Another thing to keep a check on, if I can say it, are expressions such as 'from the grin that was firmly placed on my face', because it makes the reader ask by whom?

I think if you worked on one POV, and got right inside the mind of the MC, you could really pick up with this story.

crowspark at 00:22 on 14 August 2005  Report this post
Hi Richard,

What a good story. I agree with the points made above but that shouldn't detract from what you have achieved here.

I'm sure that Becca's advice is correct, but I would still be tempted to carry out some hard editing to make the the shifting POV work. To avoid confusing the reader you will need to make each change very clear. For example, you have the victims POV in one paragraph and start the next as follows:

The horn emerged from the darkness, screaming its intent. Bearing down on my victim

It is only when we get to the words "my victim" that we know that there has been another POV switch.

I spotted another typo somewhere, I think you used the instead of she, but I cann't remember where it was.

An enjoyable read and well worth investing some more work to improve it even more.


grinch at 10:03 on 15 August 2005  Report this post
Hi folkd,
many thanks for all the comments, of which they are all duly noted. I have to say that it's great to get the constructive critism from you all. As a new writer I guess i'm still trying to find my feet and my own style. With your help and guidance maybe i'll get there.

I think I need to spend more time reading through my work instead of being in such a rush to post it for you all to read.

My research in this particular story is based on a personal experience. I work for Network Rail and have, unfortunatley, been witness to two people being hit by trains, one a close friend. Believe me, the soft sickening thud as a person body is just shattered and ripped apart lives with me each time i step onto the track to carry out my work.

Thanks again people


Becca at 13:36 on 15 August 2005  Report this post
Oh, Richard! You didn't need to do the research.

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