Word Count: 827
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Alone she sat in the compartment as the train rattled on through the rain. It complained at each and every turn of its wheels. A whine here, a groan there. She tired to ignore the disturbances as she tried to remember why she was there. She thought back on her last memory. Skating on the frozen late toward the mysterious spinning wheel in the center of it. She remembered the little shot of pain as she touched the needle. The feeling of the blood on her finger before the ice came up to meet her.
She shook her head, still confused. She blinked as the train came to a sudden stop. She gazed out the window, seeing that her car was right in the middle of a bridge that ran across a wide river. How, odd, she thought, that the train would stop here. She decided she should explore the train to see what was happening. Perhaps doing so would also help her remember what she was doing on there.
She made her way to the door of the compartment and opened it, looking around. It was an average passenger car, with a hallway and doors leading off of it into compartments. But a quick glance into the compartments told her she was alone in the car. She stepped over to the door and the end of the car. She opened it and stepped on to the tiny platform, grinning at the feeling of the cool rain falling upon her skin. She took the big step on to the other car’s platform, opened the door, and gasped.
Inside looked just like a rainforest. The trees sang as the rain pelted through their leaves. Critters scampered about, chattering about finding food and shelter. But everything stopped when she stepped in. The critters hid and the trees stood still despite the rain still pelting against the leaves. She wandered the forest, wondering why nothing seemed familiar. She would have remembered a rainforest inside a train! She sighed and made her way to the end of the car, opening the vine-covered door she found there. She did the same as before, opening the door and stepping from platform to platform. She didn’t even notice the rain falling upon her skin.
The next car housed a garden. Fountains littered the small area as the flowers giggled and gossiped. She grinned and stepped in to hear the flowers better. But they all fell silent as she did so. The fountains stopped spouting water, and the invisible lights that had made the car so bright dimmed. They dimmed more and more as she walked through the car, the flowers seeming to cower from her feet. She could barely see the door at the end, but she found the knob and opened it slowly.
It was still raining outside. But the raindrops began to burn as they touched her skin. She rushed to the next door, deciding she would no longer be surprised to see what was behind it.
Inside resided a group of trees encircling a pond. She approached the pond and cupped her hands in the water. It didn’t burn her hands like the rain outside had, but when she poured what she had caught in her palms into her mouth, she spit it out, tasting dirt. She began to think her mind was playing tricks on her, and she skirted the pond to the other end of the car. Again, the rain burned as she jumped over to the other platform. This was the last chance, she thought. If this car did not bring back any memories, she was going to go straight to the engine to find the engineer.
She opened the door to what looked like an elegant bedroom. In the center of the room stood a four-poster bed with the curtains drawn. The only other things in the room were a mirror on the far wall and a window on the adjacent one. She made her way to the bed and pulled back the curtain. There lay a beautiful princess with long blond hair. Her hands lay across her chest with a single flower tucked between them. But she could see that the princess was still breathing. For some reason, the sight of the sleeping princess brought her great joy. She laughed aloud and dropped the curtain. She made her way to the window and saw the body of a handsome prince drifting along the river. This also brought her great joy, and she laughed and laughed, making her way to admire her own image in the mirror.
The mirror made her memories finally come back to her. The pale woman in the mirror laughed with her at the realization. The threw back her head as she laughed, her ebony hair falling from its bun. She was the evil witch. She had put the princess to sleep for a hundred years with the spinning wheel. She had won.