Bill sat in his living room with his Ice and Coke. It was blistering hot inside and the stand up, rotating fan seemed to hurt more than help. Maybe it was the dreary browns of his one bedroom manufactured home.
What lead to this? How did he get here, he wondered. It’s amazing how years of his life just melted together to form one long summer. A summer that was really, really fucking hot.
Clink! The ice shifted. The heat is beating it into submission. He isn’t really watching the game, just staring at it wondering what to do. His life is essentially meaningless. No friends, no family, a boring repetitive job. He starts to wonder if he really does exist, or if he’s just a figment of someone’s twisted imagination.
Then he ran out of coke. As if robotic he stood up to replace it. Wondering why his kitchen was so inconveniently out of range.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Three knocks, people seem to knock in sets of threes. Bill answered the door. There he stood in all his sweat covered, boxer wearing glory. The postman glanced down, he seemed very unimpressed and held a package. Bill, standing a bit straighter slightly offended by the nonchalant insult grabbed the package. The postman wished Bill a good day and walked to his car and drove off.
Bill stood there momentarily looking at the package. There was no return address, it was very light, and seemed almost empty.
The packaging smelled new and wasn’t all that tussled. Bill opened the box. Inside was a bunch of feathers. Not those cheap colored ones you buy at craft store, but real soft white feathers. Bravely he stuck his hand inside, cautiously he felt around not expecting to find anything with how light it was. His fingers grasped something small, was that a key? He quickly pulled it out. It was a small bronze skeleton key. Attached was a note.
Dear Sir Bill (I think your name is Bill, if this is not Bill, then well Dear Sir or Madame will work),
Thank you Bill for opening the package, this saves me a great deal of trouble. There will be a woman appearing momentarily, would you mind giving her this key? I’d do it myself but as you see I am not there.
Sincerely with Regards,
Mr. Earnest Guy Blunderspotts
“Is that for me then?” said a bubbly voice.
Bill looked up. A younger girl, probably in her early 20’s stood before him. She had golden hair, and the happiest smile he’d ever seen. Her sundress flowed gently with the air from the train.
Wait..train? Where the hell did that come from? Bill forgot about the girl and noticed a large antiquated train behind her. He brushed past her and stared in awe at the steam-powered train that appeared out of nowhere on his lawn.
“Excuse me!” said the girl in an annoyed tone, “I believe that is my package you have there.”
Bill looked at her and handed her the key. “What the hell is this train doing here.”
She looked at him confused, “It’s here to get me my key.”
He looked at her confused at her confusion. “Listen lady, trains don’t just appear in yards nowhere near tracks, especially without warning.”
“Well actually Bill, I think this situation just proved you wrong.”
Bill looked at her with an ounce more of confusion, “How did you kno-“
“It’s on the note Bill. Now, I would explain this train for you but unfortunately neither I or the train have time so this is how it’s going to be. Either you get on the train and find out what this train is for, or you stay here sipping on your ice with Coke staring at a television.”
“That wasn’t on the note. Who are you.”
“Right now? I’m Fate presenting you an option, reminding you that you have the power to decide. But usually they call me Alice.”
“Like from Wonderland?”
“Bill, time is a factor here.”
Could this really be an opportunity? What’s on this train? Where is it going? Who’s on it?
“I see. Welp, it was lovely chatting, thank you for my package and Bill? Get a new fan, yours just died.”
Leaving only a slight hint of smoke and lilac, Alice and the train were gone.
Bill slightly dazed walked back inside with the feather filled box. It was really fucking hot in there. The fan was off.
Bill went to the kitchen, got his glass, filled it with ice and opened the fridge.
He was out of Coke.