Peter Steward's Web Site
Michael and Rebecca had no trouble climbing aboard the strange but magnificent train. The carriage door seemed to open before their eyes and they were drawn inside a wonderful carriage.
At first it seemed to be empty. The carriage contained a table that was set for tea with dainty sandwiches cut in triangles and orange juice poured into special little beakers.
And the beakers had names written on them. Printed in large capitals were the names Rebecca and Michael.
"Look Becky those are our names on the beakers," said Michael. Rebecca just stared at the highly coloured chairs, the lush carpets and the total unreality of the carriage in which they were standing.
By now Michael and Rebecca were fully awake again. They should have been grasped by fear and panic but instead felt an inner calm and peace. They couldn't be afraid of something that they couldn't understand but something that was so marvellous.
"Where are we?" asked Rebecca who had always been more inquisitive than her brother.
"It's some kind of train," replied Michael. "But it's not like any we have ever seen going past our house. Becky you don't think it's daddy's ghost train do you?"
"No of course not. Daddy made all those stories about the ghost train up. Mind you how did we get here and why are we here. Are you afraid Mike?"
"No. Are you?"
"No, but what happens now?"
"I suppose we should eat the food on the table as it's obviously for us," said Michael who had always been a practical sort of boy, especially when food was involved.
"I think we should open the carriage door and have a look outside," said Rebecca.
So saying she walked to the door and tried to twist the handle, but it wouldn't move an inch.
"Michael we are locked in. I'm beginning to get a little bit frightened," Rebecca said moving towards her brother and clutching his arm rather too tightly.
"Stop that sis, leave me alone. I'm sure there's some explanation for this. It's probably you having a dream and I'm just in it," said Michael.
"What about it being your dream and I'm in it," replied Rebecca as if she wanted to start an argument.
"Perhaps we're both having the same dream and we're both in it," replied Michael who was now becoming a little concerned himself.
"I suppose if we are locked in we may as well eat the food and drink the juice. I'm rather hungry. If this is one of your dreams Michael I'll never forgive you for forcing me to be in it," said a rather angry Rebecca.
The two children then ignored each other and decided to sit at the table and enjoy the feast that had been laid out for them.
Rebecca decided to sit on the blue chair but, just at the moment she was about to sit down, the chair slid from underneath her and she ended in a crumpled heap on the floor.
"Michael why did you do that?" she said looking accusingly at her brother.
"Sis what are you doing on the floor," asked Michael who had sat down on a red chair with no trouble. "I wasn't anywhere near you. You must have knocked the chair with your leg when you tried to sit down."
"I did not," said Rebecca as though she was about to go into one of her famous sulks.
But instead she got hold of the chair and puleld it up to the table and then sat down without any trouble.
"No more tricks Michael," she said.
Michael ignored her. He had finished the orange squash which had tasted wonderful. He picked up the jug containing the squash and was about to refill his glass when the glass moved away from him and across the table and he spilled the liquid all over the furniture.
"Be careful," scolded Rebecca.
"But Becky the glass moved"
There certainly seemed to be some strange goings on in this mysterious railway carriage. But the sandwiches were delicious and however many Rebecca and Michael ate there seemed to be so many on the plate. Eventually they both felt as full as full could be and still the plate was full.
"That's strange. I'm sure we have eaten enough sandwiches for there not to be any left. Yet the plate is still full," said Michael.
"There's a lot of strange things happening here," said Rebecca. "I think it's time we went home."
"But how can we when the carriage door is locked," replied Rebecca who was no longer enjoying the adventure.
And then suddenly there was a grinding noise - the sound of metal on metal. Slowly but surely the train began to lurch forward, gathering speed as it spat out smoke.
And from a loudspeaker in the corner of the carriage a spooky, ghostly voice rang out.
"Lady and gentleman, or should I say boy and girl, ha ha, the Christmas night express is pulling out on its journey to who knows where,"
Michael and Rebecca looked at each other and then held each other tightly.
"Sis we're moving. I don't like this anymore. Where are we going to. I want to go home," and Michael began to cry.
From behind the loudspeaker the same voice rang out again.
"My dear boy there is work to be done tonight. A great deal of work. Work of great importance. You and your sister have been chosen. You alone can undertake a very important mission because you have been chosen.