“Train Wreck”–Erin Beason

Staff Fiction

Dear Sam,

Sometimes people say that their lives are like train wrecks. They say everything is one huge mess. It is a chaotic collection of missed opportunities, mistakes and failures. Maybe that bad break up is the train wreck. Maybe it’s falling behind in classes. Maybe it’s just not having all the right answers. Maybe it’s knowing the right answer and doing the wrong thing anyway. Or maybe…just maybe it is a combination of those. Maybe because of those, I somehow caused that train to wreck. Maybe it’s my fault that you aren’t here anymore. I was so stupid…so stupid to try and make us work. I was so stupid to climb that fence with you with the yellow signs all but screaming at us not to. So, terribly stupid to think that just being near you again would make everything okay. Its not okay…NOTHING IS OKAY! You’re dead, Sam. You’re dead, and I am still here, still stupidly wishing that this all never happened. Still stupidly wishing that just being with you would make everything okay. Why didn’t you jump Sam?! WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU JUMP TOO?! You left me here all alone…you left me. Why did you leave me? Why didn’t you take my hand when I reached for yours? Why did the train choose that moment? Why…?




Dear Sam,

It has been a week since you left me. Seven days since I last saw that crooked smirk and those laughing eyes of yours as you looked up at me when you tried to give me a boost onto the fence. You said something rude about how maybe if I worked out a little more I could get myself up. I kicked you and you just smirked at me.

Why didn’t I fall and break my ankle? Why didn’t I try harder to convince you that it was a bad idea Sam? Maybe if both had happened you would still be here. Would you be here Sam? Would you still be here with me? Why did this happen to us? I know we weren’t perfect. We fought, and we fought hard, but I loved you just as hard as we fought. Why didn’t you fight to stay with me? Why did you leave? We were supposed to grow old together Sam, and now what do I do?













Dear Sam,

Twelve days. It’s been twelve days. It’s been twelve days of endless noise. It’s never quiet here. There is no escape from the whirrs of the monitors. The constant beeps from this machine or that one, or maybe both. And the clicking of the ventilator rising and falling and rising and falling. There are always footsteps, sometimes slow sometimes fast. The steps are slower right now; it must be near shift change. In the next room all sorts of alerts start going off and those slow steps turn into running. I wish it were me in that next room. Maybe if it were me, I could see you again. Maybe if I hadn’t jumped off the tracks I wouldn’t be here wondering what if…

The noises from the next room stopped a few minutes ago, but this world is far from quiet. Just as the noises never stop, this place never sleeps. All I want to do is sleep Sam, sleep like we did on that tiny twin mattress of yours at your parents’ house. It creaked when all I did was blink, and the poster of that half naked girl stared at me all night, but it was still one of my favorite nights with you. I’d give anything for you to lay here with me right now. Anything for one more of your sweet, slow kisses.









Dear Sam,

Today marks two weeks since the accident. Accident is a stupid word. I hate it. I wish people would stop using it to talk about what happened. I’m starting to think you did it on purpose. You told me you wanted to get some shots of the trestle for your portfolio, and thought I’d make a great model. Dragging me up to the tracks and making me climb that fence. It was all just to watch you die wasn’t it? What kind of idiot follows another idiot onto active train tracks? What kind of idiot doesn’t jump when they feel the vibrations of a train coming or when they see the train coming for them? One that wanted to die, that’s the kind of idiot.

Two weeks ago, I hated you for leaving. And I didn’t understand wanting to die. I still don’t understand why you wanted to die. But I think I understand the want of dying. Being here makes me want to die. I can feel all the death that’s happening around me, everyone here is dying. It might be in fifteen minutes, or two days, or maybe a couple months, but everyone dies here. I can feel myself dying; the weight of everything that happened is crushing me. Everyday now is just another stone in my pocket, weighing me down bit by bit as I drown. You’ve left me here drowning, Sam. I am drowning…








Dear Sam,

I don’t think I can do this anymore. It has been four weeks now and I can’t just lay here waiting to wake up. I can’t just lay here in this in between. Here, I am always awake without waking, and sleeping without sleep. I can’t sit here and watch everyone else I care about die because they are waiting for me to wake up. I don’t know what to do Sam. I’m so tired of this.

Maybe I should have stayed with you up on that train trestle. Maybe you were trying to tell me to stay. Is that why you took me up there with you? Did you want me to stay with you? I wish you would just answer me sometimes. At least I can count on getting silence from you in this world of endless commotion. I’ve been here so long Sam. I barely remember what anything outside sounds like. Except the train, its thudding, and the squeal of metal on metal as it tried to stop. And the air whooshing past me as I jumped and you stayed behind.

I should have known the moment you looked back at me when you saw the train coming. I should have known then that you weren’t going to jump with me. You never were. I wish you had told me what was wrong. I wish I could have seen what you were hiding.







The Blacksburg Times

November 10, 2014

On October 8th, two teens were struck by a train while trespassing on a trestle more than 200 feet above a rushing river. One teen, Sam McCollum was killed instantly. The second teen, Amy Sanders, appeared to have jumped from the trestle into the river below. Sanders was airlifted to a local hospital where she slipped into a coma due to brain trauma. After a long and trying few weeks for both Sanders and her family, she passed away yesterday afternoon. It is unclear why the two were on the trestle in the first place. It has been suggested that both shared a love of photography and may have been using the trestle as inspiration. Both families of the deceased wish to spread awareness about the danger of trespassing onto active train tracks in the hopes of preventing the tragic incident that befell their children from happening to others.