Autumn had set in Aas, a village hidden somewhere in the southern half of the globe.
Trees looked more yellow than green, about a fortnight away from turning blood-red to nude.
As far as the sight could go, the rice fields were left barren by the fresh harvest.
None of it was a treat for the eyes.
Aas, along with all of its inhabitants, was preparing for its typical long, harsh winter. Everything was turning colourless and dry. Everyone carrying a frown.
Sarah, however, was happy, because she could march through the fields to stand right next to the railway track.
She loved doing it every year, between the bloom in the fields in summers and the winters’ first snowfall.
For her, the harvest meant she could have the fields all to herself.
There she stood right in the middle of one of them. A pigtailed 7-year-old figure looking west to catch a glimpse of the approaching train.
Chug, Chug, Choo, Choo!
She heard the sound. Her heartbeat matched the sound.
As the train came closer, the wind made her pink frock rise in the air.
Sarah chuckled in excitement.
“Can we go now?” asked her mother, who stood behind her, patiently watching her excitement.
“Where does this train go, Ma?” she asked, still looking at the train chugging past her.
“It goes everywhere.”
“Where do these passengers go?”
“They go to work. They go home. They go shopping. They can go wherever they want.”
Sarah ended the conversation without any words.
She held her mother’s hand and walked home, where dinner tasted better than usual and sleep came quickly to her.
She knew what the next day was going to bring: another opportunity to cross the fields to watch the train.
But her mother woke her up early in the morning.
“Ma, let me sleep. It is Sunday,” pleaded Sarah.
“We are going somewhere.”
Sarah jumped out of her bed.
“Are we taking the train?”
“Hmm!” answered her mother, with a smile.
Sarah hugged her tightly and rushed to prepare for the trip.
A horse cart awaited them at the gate to take them to the train station.
As Sarah stepped onto the train, she could not believing what was really happening.
The train soon began to move.
Choo, Choo, Chug, Chug!
Sarah could feel her heartbeat.
She looked out the window to see the barren fields of Aas.
She smiled and kissed her mother.