#176 The Hole Left Behind

by Matthew Smart

Ever since Randy’s wife Maggie left he’d been working obsessively on his model train set. Once relegated to the back corner behind the lawn mower the model had slowly grown until it filled the entire garage.

It was an exact replica of the real town he lived in—each street, each building, each house was a precise reproduction of the one in the world outside. He studied satellite images online and kept a scrapbook of photographs as reference. He was rigorous and careful in every detail.

Randy wasn’t that interested in trains, truthfully. The solitary piece of track on the table ran from the old ore dock, across main street, and out of town, just like it did in the real world. Just like the real thing, no trains ever ran on it.

Each evening Randy imagined himself on those tiny streets, wandering around town. From the pharmacy to the movie theatre, from the lake shore up Ridge Street hill, from the sandstone mansions on the east side to the rundown shacks in the south. Alone in this perfect replica world, free to go wherever he wished.

There was only one place the model differed from the real world: instead of Randy’s small ranch-style home, with its large attached garage and green clapboard siding, there was a deep crater, still smoldering. Debris littered the neighboring yards. Fragile cotton smoke rose over the town from the ragged caldera and drifted slightly in imagined crosswinds, pushed always away.


JRVogt said...

Striking visual and emotional detail here.

Violet Hill said...

I agree with Vogt. Good visuals and a colorful presentation.