Ren steered his small yellow beetle into the old warehouse. The rain was still coming down hard, echoing loudly in the empty building. In the distance, a train whistle cut through over the rain. Ren cut the engine and climbed out of his car. He flicked on his flashlight and scanned it over the area. "Ariel?"
Only rain answered him. Ren turned and started walking toward the far end, toward the railroad. His shoes kicked up the old dust, sticking to his wet shoes. He zipped up his jacket and brazed the down poor. He jogged through the rain toward the tracks. Mud and water slushed around his boots as he jogged toward the tracks.
The light of his flashlight fell upon the abandoned train car. The 'yearbook' car. Its doors were still open, still dark. But there was someone nearby. On the tracks. Ren shined his light on the figure. It was Ariel! She was standing on the tracks in the pouring rain. She was completely oblivious to the light on her, staring down at the ground.
"Ariel!" Ren called.
Ariel remained still, like she hadn't heard him.
A whistle of the train sounded, closer this time. Ren turned quickly. The train was fast approaching down the tracks, right for Ariel. Ariel looked up from the ground, watching the approaching train.
"Ariel get off the tracks!" Ren yelled.
But Ariel stayed. She stood perfectly still, watching the massive stream of steal and metal come speeding toward her. Suddenly Ren realized that Ariel wasn't playing chicken with the train. He dropped his light and sprinted toward the tracks. The train whistled loudly at Ariel, urging her off the tracks, but Ariel stayed where she stood. Loose gravel flung beneath Ren's boots as he raced the train to Ariel. He prayed Ariel would come to her senses and jump off the tracks before he reached her, but she never blinked. Ren pushed himself to run faster. He was close, so close. But so was the train. He watched Ariel lose her eyes, ready for the impact. Ren jumped across the track, slamming into her. The train whistle blew loudly as it raced across the tracks where Ariel had stood not two seconds prior.
The force threw them off the tracks, rolling in the gravel. Ren rolled to a stop several feet off the track. He landed on his back, looking up at the downpour. The heavy drops landed on his face. Ren groaned and sat up. The rain fell down the back of his neck and down his shirt. He turned Ariel, who had rolled onto her stomach beside him. She was already on her knees. Her hair was dripping, hanging around her face. Her clothes were soaked and hung to her body.
"Just what the hell were you thinking?" Ren demanded.
Ariel said nothing.
"Ariel!" Ren called.
Ariel brushed her hair from her face, giving Ren a full view of her appearance. Her lip was split and swollen. The dried blood had been washed away in the rain, but was still on her ripped shirt. Mud ran down her face and caked her shirt. Her wrists looked raw and red, even in the dark.
"Oh my god." Ren said. He moved closer toward her. "What happened?"
Ariel turned her head from Ren and stood up. She staggered a few steps, but remained on her feet.
Ren stood up behind her. "Ariel what the hell happened?"
Ariel still said nothing. She started walking from Ren, toward the railcar.
Ren reached out and grabbed Ariel's wrist, stopping. "Ariel-"
Ariel turned. "What the hell did you stop me?"
Ariel slammed her fist against Ren's chest, trying to pull her wrist free. "What the hell did you stop me?"
"Stop you from killing yourself?" Ren asked. He snorted. "Do you have any idea how freaked out your parents are right now?"
"Like they give a shit about me." Ariel snapped, still trying to pull her wrist free.
Ren still held her. "I know they called me asking where you were. I know they've got the cops keeping an eye out for them. And I know they're freaked out waiting for you."
"Well you shouldn't have stopped me." Ariel replied.
"You expect me to let that train just run you down?" Ren asked.
Ariel pulled her wrist. "If you only knew. Let me go."
"So you can try that again, not a chance." Ren said. Something was wrong, that much was clear. Something was very wrong. Sure when he'd first met Ariel she had attitude bigger than he did. But after the council meeting and the dance, she'd changed, he'd changed. What she was doing now just didn't make any sense.
Ariel slammed her fist against Ren's chest again. "Let me go, Ren!"
Ren caught her other wrist before she could hit him again. "No gonna happen Ariel."
Ariel squirmed in Ren's grasp. "Ren-"
"I'm not letting you go, and I'm not leaving you here Ariel. Deal with it." Ren said.
Ariel's hands clenched into tight fists. She tried to hit Ren's chest again, but his grip was just enough to keep her from doing so. She lowered her head in defeat, giving up her resistance. She leaned her head against Ren's shoulder, crying against him. Ren released Ariel's wrists and wrapped his arms around her. The rain continued to pour down on them, but neither cared.