Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of The Vampire Diaries.
Dedication: To Sara, may happy times always find you.
Can vampires outrun trains?
I've seen some pretty amazing things in my life- the undead half of it, anyway. The first part was relatively normal. The kind of beautiful that you can't or don't appreciate until the moment passes. There were some instances that stuck with me, things like stars on the night of a blackout, or the way water ripples in a stream when you stick your foot in it. Sometimes it's hard to remember ordinary beauty like that matters in comparison to hybrids and werewolves and witches and Originals.
Oddly enough, it's the ordinary that landed me on this train.
Tyler was and is gone. He's been gone for months. A lot of long wretched days. At first I tried desperately to think of a way to get around it. Scheme after scheme after half-baked idea came up and then landed in the trash pile. I think it was denial. Actually, I'm almost certain it was. Trying to save my boyfriend from an Original's hit list was like trying to get out of the mob and then going on a television show about it. My days of tricking and distracting were done; not only was my target wise to it, but I just didn't have that kind of heart anymore. Some things wear you down.
I refused to sink into depression, though, even when I felt my fingertips slip from the ledge that was calm. I decided to point my middle finger at the supernatural drama for a day and went to do the most ordinary thing I could think of.
I went to the movies.
I can't remember the title of the movie-I'm pretty bad like that-but it was about a girl in the 50s. At one point in the movie, she bought a ticket at the station and hopped on a train on a whim. I thought, "That's pretty gutsy. Wish there were more trains these days. Wonder if vampires can outrun trains?"
I can't say how the idea blossomed from a stray thought. Maybe it was watered by desperation. Maybe I was just tired of living the same life in the same endless cycle of futility. But the idea wouldn't go away.
Can vampires outrun trains?
More to the point-can Originals?
I sat in the dark theater, staring at the filmed scenery rolling by in the window's reflection, totally gripped by the possibilities. Part of me was scared. This was pushing it. This was the final straw on the camel's back. Yet...he always had me on his radar because I stayed where he could see me. What if I didn't? What if I just...left?
It was a dangerous idea. I'd be starting over. Somehow that seemed crazier than tempting an Original with a deadly bite. I had to ask myself if that wouldn't just send him looking harder for Tyler. Then it occurred to me that he was already looking. Why not distract him? Why not run and divide his attention?
Would he come after me?
I didn't have an answer. Faced with the choice of taking a chance and succeeding or sitting still and spinning my wheels, though, I knew what I had to do. Running meant running for a long, long time, but better to keep busy running than stagnating.
Like Yoda said-Do or do not. There is no try.
Funny. That's the only thing I remember from all of Tyler's secret stash of nerdy posters.
Turns out there are plenty of train stations in Virginia. Just not near me. I outlined the plan to my mom piece by piece, mostly scribbled on scraps of notes that I burned on scented candles. God, I'll miss her. She got me as much money as she could in cash. We didn't know if he was watching or not. So I started making some out of town trips overnight. Then one night I met up with a contact in another city and he drove me to a train station two more cities over.
Here I am, sitting on my very first train with a ticket stamped for the farthest destination. Dawn is creeping up in the sky. The black bleeding into pink is like the biggest timer on earth for me right now. There are about five million transfers to be made and a mind-numbing lot of hours between here and my "stop". I don't know if I'm going to the final mark on the map. More than likely I'll get off someplace else. Somewhere nice. I'll get a job. I don't think my experience as Miss Mystic Falls or chair of the one hundred and one committees I led will help. I've got a new name now. Terra Yates. I'll have to practice introducing myself; my blood freezes a little when I think about it sometimes. Seriously, though? My blood's been running cold since I thought of this. It's crazy. It's nuts. It's new. I'll be nobody. I'm taking a chance on the level of a reconstructed Titanic voyage.
And you know what? I feel alive. For the first time in a long time, I feel like the wheels have finally gained traction.
The train hums to life. Oh god. It's really happening. I'm really doing this.
I shift in my seat. It's one of those two-seaters tucked behind the window just enough for me to hide my face or see out, depending on the angle. I'm torn between pressing my face to the glass to search for Klaus and leaning as far back as I can.
My fingers tangle in my lap. Cool it, Caroline. You might draw attention to yourself. Just stay calm. This is all going according to plan.
Two minutes to departure.
"Excuse me, is this seat free?"
My heart leaps into my throat and I jump, turning with a gasp. Like a ninny, because I scare the bejesus out of the poor guy who was just trying to be polite. "Oh god, I'm so sorry!" I laugh, feeling totally stupid and relieved.
A commuter, judging by his clothes. He's got a nice jacket on and he ironed his jeans. Sure, he has a backpack, but it's the expensive kind and nobody pairs those with anything other than the loafers he's wearing. He's tall, thin, and has the whole older gentleman thing going on. Oh, damn, he cut himself shaving. Nicked himself right next to the sideburn. Thank god I've already eaten. I even have a thermos full of blood to tide me over for a while.
Moms. They do that kind of thing for you.
God, I miss her already.
He smiles back at me and I move my coat out of the seat. The train is filling up fast, and the man settles in as quickly as he can.
I get comfortable again and sigh, pretending that my eyes didn't mist at the thought of my mom. I'm being paranoid. With good reason, yes, but nothing said Hey, I'm on the lam! like jumping out of my skin at every little sound. I rest my head against the cool plastic of the train, checking my watch again. 5:45 am. Go time.
As soon as I realize that the train starts to pull forward. I expected it to lurch, but there's a high-pitched whine of modern mechanics at work and then we smoothly transition from stillness to motion. I let out another shaky sigh. I'm going. I'm moving. Inertia overcome.
Not sure what I'm feeling, I glance up-and there he is. Standing on the platform, looking straight at me.
I flow past him like water alongside a rock in what feels like a slow motion frame of a movie. Him looking at me, me staring at him. My mouth open. Stunned. His mouth pressed together, a knowing smirk curling his lips. Challenging.
I know that look.
Can vampires outrun trains? I wonder again as time speeds up and the train zooms past.
I guess the real question is-Can a vampire outrun an Original?
To Be Continued...
This originally began as a one shot but I was inspired to add a second part. More will likely follow.
Please know that if you've taken the time to read this, please leave a review. I have no idea if anyone is interested in the story otherwise :)
If you liked this story, check out my other Klausoline Moonlight and Clarity!