Giovanni Cartucci Part 10

I am woken by a tug on my arm; a young child stands with puffy eyes and smears of dirt cowlicks where tears had been dragged from his face. When he sees my face he looks horrified. His body looks at my eyes; his own stare at my chest when he speaks, “my seat is over there.” He points at the empty stretch of chair beside me. I stand up and move into the aisle carpeted with an industrial rag. The boy takes his spot and stares into the night sky, the very dark view from the window, the oblivion view from the window, the unnatural view from the window. I am on a train, the links of it extending as far as I can tell, and only a handful occupying each. I turn back to the boy.
“Where are we?”
He doesn't turn to look at me, only unglues his face from the cool window and speaks to my reflection. He looks pale and scared, but within that strives a youthful tint of the expectation of adventure.
“We’re going to a better place. And there will be men in suits to wait on us. At each door. with bowls of chocolate, like Jack and--,” here he frowned, “and when we get there it will be daylight all day long.”
“Is Jack your Dad?”
The boy shakes his head.
“I never liked my Dad. He spanked me once and so I ran outside. Jack saw me crying and he came to me and is bringing me to a better place with the train he owns,” the boy pointed vigorously at the floor, “this train.” He says it with a strong tone of pride, as if it was he that owns it. “He told me that my Dad was a very bad man,” the boy smiled mischievously as he turns to face me, his hands shoved in stained pockets, “then he gave me chocolates.”
Here I understand. The five-year-old was being preyed on by a pedophile. I said bye to the boy, reassuring him that I would be right back, then head down the aisle. When I get there, I would use the emergency phone to call the police and get this boy off and back home at the next stop. We were going fast enough that the doors take all my strength to open. There was no gap to cross as all the cars are connected. I shuffle from cabin to cabin, careful to avoid dozing heads and inconsiderate, protruding arms. I walk for a long time, passing scores of people and scores of links. I walk into a bathroom and dry heave until I am dizzy. This must be the longest train in history. After I pee in the toilet, I examine myself in the mirror. I take into note the bruises, the cut lip, the swell in the brow about my right eye. I watch as my pupils dilate before my mind forms the words. Deep shit. These are the words. I am in major deep shit, and as I stare into my battered face, as those memories unfold, they form a pile of major, confused and deep shit. I am in the middle of it. I had been attacked and woken up on a train in the middle of a land without morn by a boy who is to be raped by a pedophile named Jack. And the train is really uncommonly long. Too long. I would have to head back to my seat so that I would have water to drink besides the recycled crap from the tap. I lean over the metallic bowl. This time I puke. After that I rinse my face with water. Wash the blood and the bruises and my mind for a moment clean into the sink. Then I open the door and take one last look down the cabins to see if I can catch a glimpse of the engine. From this arises a final problem; I can see the boy leaning out of his seat and staring back at me, wide-eyed and genuinely puzzled.

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