The break of dawn. The air is motionless and fresh. Everything is silent. A thin layer of peach is splashed across the blue sky. She hasn’t opened her eyes yet. The aches from her bruised body have not yet registered to her brain nor has the events that brought her here. She lies splayed across the train tracks face down in a vacuum of silence. She distantly hears the sound of a train horn and feels the rumble reverberating in the tracks against her scathed cheek. Her eyes flit open. Large, green, orange and alert. The train is fast approaching and the vibrations are obvious now.
"Where am I?" she thinks to herself as her eyes adjust to the stark morning light.
She tries to move and notices first the pain and then the cold metal tracks that her bruised face is pressed up against. She tries to push herself up with her palms but notices that something is clenched in her left fist.
"AH!" she exclaims in pain. "Oh my god, I can’t open my hand."
She’s been holding onto this object so tight that her hand is sealed shut. She pries it open with her other hand. There are nail marks that have cut into her skin and…a key.
"A key? But to what? And why do I have it?" she ponders.
The train is now loud and clear, rapidly getting closer and closer. She flpis herself over quickly despite the pain and struggles to stand but her body won’t compromise. She instead manages to frantically body-roll herself off the train tracks down the small slope skidding through the gravel and kicking up a cloud of dust. She watches in shock as the train rushes by, seconds after her come-to. The air clears, revealing her disheveled sharp features and dark hair tangled with debris. Sensing the importance of the key she verifies whether she has lost it in the tumble.
"Good," she exhales.
Fumbling her neckline for the chain hanging from it, she decides to attach the key to the thin gold chain. Her mind begins to race.
"Now what? How did I get here, everything hurts. My body, my face especially, my heart--aches. My clothes are torn, this key...my heart is broken I can feel it. Something’s missing, someone, or a part of me, I’m not sure. Something happened. How did I get here? Something brought me here."
Her thoughts spiraling to the inevitable question: "What now?"
She has no recollection of any of it. The events that led her here. She rises from the ground despite the pain, picking the gravel out of her bloody nail-marked hand.
"Well, there’s nothing left to do but to get up and start walking," she decides. "Okay, now which way? I guess it doesn’t matter."
She picks the direction the train came from and begins walking. As she walks into the distance she feels that her arrival here is important, that it might be a new opportunity. Maybe even a new beginning.
"Maybe I’m running from something. Or chasing something," she considers. "Whatever it is, or whatever happened, this place....and how I got here, it’s like a different time. "She continues to ponder: "Could it be time travel? A glitch in the universe? A paradox? That sounds crazy. Time travel? Could I... be crazy? Even if I just lost my memory what would cause that? I don’t even know my name. My only clue is this key."
The key that now dangles from her neck swings slightly as she takes each step forward, as if it were taunting her with it’s secret. The feeling of loss is now overwhelming. In this whirlwind of emotions the feeling of déjà vu creeps in.
"How is that possible? Deja vu? I’ve never been here before and nothing makes sense. Or maybe I did just go a little crazy. Whatever happened, it’s over and I’m here and I don’t remember any of it. But I’m pretty sure it pist me off," she concludes. "Okay. My first order of business. Put together the pieces. However long it takes, no matter how dangerous it gets or what I have to do, I will find out what happened to me. I have no choice."
Walking into the distance barefoot, the sun now shining high, she follows the tracks. A name echoes in her head as she walks along the tracks. Shondra.
"Shondra...what? Maybe that’s my name? Okay. Shondra must be my name. Or at least, it is now," she decides as it’s the only familiar thought she has.
The tracks look endless as they curve into the distance while Shondra aimlessly follows alongside. Her mind races to try to remember something. Darting from one possibility to the next, mapping out one scenario then introducing another--"Ow!" she exclaims, "What the heck was that!" She steps hard on a rock. It cuts into her bare foot, causing her to jump in recoil.
Simultaneously, a huge explosion is heard in the distance. Shondra hits the ground for cover. Lying on her stomach she squints, looking far into the distance. Something is there. Or someone. What is it? It begins to move. It’s coming towards her direction. "Oh no. oh sh--!"
A loud bang is heard in the distance.