Driving into the deserted parking lot, my stomach filled with butterflies. I always felt energized and excited, when I could see the trail leading to the beach. I searched the dark for hidden dangers-before parking my car in the usual spot. Once again, the lot was completely empty.
I opened the car door and climbed out. The sea breeze filled my senses, and I found myself smiling. The fall weather was bringing a chill to the air, but I was dressed for the cold. Bending down, I tested my laces. They felt nice and tight, so I turned my attention to the path in front of me. It felt good to start the incline, and I never tired of the view at the top. I was walking at a fast pace when it happened. It was like an assault to my belly. My feet almost went out from under me. I felt like a crumpled piece of aluminum that had been tossed by the wayside.
It hurt... Not physical-it was emotional. A desperate act of a crying soul, he reached out in the dark, and dragged me to my knees. I didn't know who was he was, but it scared me to the core. My mind was racing, but I was afraid to move. I stayed where I was on the cold path, and waited for answers.
This wasn't the first time this had happened to me, and it wouldn't be the last. Time always feels like it has stopped, but I could hear the tick-tick-tick of my wrist watch. This simple sound alerted me to stay aware of all sounds engulfing me. I could the hear the far off horn of a coming train, and surf sounded like crashing bottles of glass in my ears. I started to shake.
Wrapping my arms around me, I stood. It was hard to catch my breath, and I could see the plumes of steam from expelled air into the night cold. It was desperately cold now, and I finally caved into the emotions pushing its way inside me. I sucked in a deep breath, and I felt him draw close. I could hear him growling with sounds of relief. His voice was coarse with age, and his face was but a few inches away. I stared into the foggy eyes of someone, who had stayed drunk far too often in life.
He said, "Find my body...don't let me rot over there " and he pointed to just over the ridge-somewhere in the vicinity of a bordering fence. The fence separated the train tracks from the trail leading to the beach. I tried to understand, I wanted to study the area he expected me to go, but I needed to know more. It was a big area he had pointed to.
I looked back to him, I needed some answers, but he was already fading away. "Wait!"...I cried out, but he couldn't. I struggled to see him. I would be on my own in less than a minute. I stared into his eyes as he faded into oblivion. The look in his eyes, it still haunts me to this day. I could read the regret, the deep sorrow of a life spent in wasted moments. I watched until he was gone, then it was time to get moving.
I could have turned away and headed back to my car, but I couldn't do it. Not once, not ever, have I turned away from a ghostly request for help. Staring into the dark, I moved off the path and headed into the brush lining the path. I searched along the fence, but I couldn't see anything that remotely looked like a body. As I was about to give up, I smelled it, and there is no mistaking the smell. The smell of death crawls over you with an odor that permeates your living flesh.
As I followed the smell, I placed a hand over my nose. The strong stench communicated, he had been there for a while. The closer I got... I started to see what happened to him. I saw him as he struggled on the train tracks, but the cheap booze flowing through his veins didn't allow him to move fast enough. I watched in horror as the train hit him. I won't describe what I saw next, but it was horrific, and I felt my stomach lurching at the colors flashing before my eyes. He didn't feel a thing, thank goodness.
Pulling out my cell phone, I dialed the local authorities, and as I spoke to them, I heard a whisper in my ear,