The railroad goes through only a mile away from here. Usually I can just hear the trains going by, but a couple Mondays ago I heard one stop. With nothing better to do that day I took a hike to investigate. It was a really long train with every kind of car imaginable on it. I walked along it until I reached the front and saw what the hold up was about. A mudslide of course. There were a few men out there assessing the mess. After some thought I decided not to cue them in on my presence and hiked back home. I sat at home thinking about that train sitting there and wondering how long it would be there. The thoughts consumed me for hours until it became clear to me what needed to be done. I packed a bag, and after sunset, hiked back out to the train. Instead of walking to the front, I walked the other way inspecting all the cars, until I found a large boxcar. The doors were locked, but the hinge was so loose that when you pulled on the doors it created a huge gap. A gap big enough for a Jackie to climb through, and that's just what I did. The train stayed still not moving, but my heart was racing. I climbed up on the boxes of who knows what that filled that car and found a comfortable spot and curled up for the night. I had a better night's sleep than I've had in ages, and when I woke up I could feel that the train was moving. I just stared up at the top of the car and let my mind run. We moved all day, and then the next until the train finally stopped. I could still see daylight shining in the cracks of the door, so I stayed put. I waited until dark, and made my escape. First I pushed the doors out and peeked through to see if anyone was around. If there was, I didn't see them. It was too dark. I decided to go anyway and slid out through the gap and took a long fall to the ground. I hit gravel and fell to my hands. It hurt a lot. I could tell I broke some skin on my hands, but I just rubbed them together and hid behind some nearby bushes before I could be spotted by anyone. I stayed there for a while, but it was so quiet that I decided no one was around. I stepped out and did my best to look around. There were several rows of tracks, so this must have been a rail yard. Then I heard a car go by. At first that scared me and I hid, but then it hit me that if there was a car, then there must be a road, so I went over to where I heard the car. It looked like it was just up this hill on the side of the rail yard, but the hill was covered in a thorny thicket, so I walked along the thicket for a while until the hill started getting shorter and I finally found a decent spot to climb up. Once I was up there I looked each way on the road. I got out my compass and flashlight. To the north was and endless darkness, but to the south I could see a lot of lights. It looked like a city. I walked in that direction. Despite all the pain of falling out of that boxcar, it felt good to be walking and moving my muscles after a couple days of laying down. I did have to excuse myself in the bushes at some point on my walk. It actually amazed me that I didn't even feel the urge since I left my house until that moment.
I walked on until I reached the outskirts of the city. It wasn't a huge city, but much bigger than a town. I stayed on the main road and eventually got to a gas station with a shop that was still open for the evening. I tied my kerchief over my face and walked in. Funny, a year ago if a person jumped off of a train, walked into town, and then tied a kerchief over their face before entering a gas station, one might be alarmed, but this time no one knew where I'd come from, and covering your face was the new normal. I went into the restroom and was able to wash my hands and remove a few pieces of gravel that had embedded themselves under my skin. That really hurt. I had to pull out my tiny first aid kit and put on a few bandaids. Once that was dealt with I was able to fill myself up a big cup of glorious coffee. I went up to the counter to pay when I noticed the guy behind the counter talked a bit funny. Not too off, but not quite right. He told me the coffee was a dollar fifty. I pulled out some cash and the counter guy looked at me funny. "We don't take U.S. currency here." I must have gone a lot further north than I thought I did. I pulled out my card and paid a measly buck-fifty on plastic. At least I got my coffee. I sat there in the gas station parking lot drinking my coffee and contemplating my next move. I wasn't sure if I should be freaked out by being in the wrong country. I wasn't. It seemed like a good time to eat those mushrooms that Caleb gave me. I did remember to bring those along. They tasted like crap, but most dried fungus does. Then me and my coffee started heading south. It made perfect sense to me at that moment that the best thing to do would be go south to the border.
I read enough signs on the businesses along to road to figure out that I was in Abbotsford, British Columbia. After a while I noticed two things. I was feeling quite strange, and I realized I was not in the nicest part of town. I tried to keep my head and be vigilant. Some of the denizen started to eye me funny, so I eyed them back funnier. That seemed to keep them away from me. I was walking down a particularly dark part of the road when two guys jumped out of nowhere and demanded some money. I obediently handed them my cash when one of them said, "Oh man, we don't want that! You don't have any Canadian money?" The other guy just punched me, so I pulled out my knife and asked them if they really wanted to try me. "Sorry, sorry." They said and stepped back from me, and I bolted. Thankfully they didn't run after me, but I kept running for a while. At this point I was freaking out. I was in a foreign land surrounded by enemies. Polite enemies. I didn't want to ask for help. At this point I thought maybe I might be a bad guy.
I calmed myself down, and just kept walking south, trying my best to be cool. Then I saw the most wonderful thing. A twenty-four hour diner. I had to cover my face again to get seated, but it was nice to sit down and have some coffee. I wasn't sure if I wanted to eat or not, or if I could eat, but after staring at the menu for a while I ordered a burger. I took my time with drinking my coffee, and eating my food. I had all the time in the world. The waitress didn't seem to mind. Eventually she brought me the bill and I handed her my bank card. I was a bit nervous, but it seemed to work just fine at the gas station, and it did. It was nice to have a rest. I continued on my walk south. At this point most of the night has passed. It was getting really cold, as it does just before dawn. My journey had paid off though. I could see it up ahead. Customs. I didn't see a place for pedestrians to walk, so I just walked along the road. When I got to the gates, it looked like no one was there, but eventually I saw some officers walking towards me. They stopped me and questioned me as to why I was there. Luckily I looked up and saw the Welcome to Sumas sign, and fibbed that I was just wandering around Sumas and I wasn't sure how I got there. They told me to come with them. They took me into this lobby and asked me a lot of questions about who I was and why I was there. I made up some story about visiting some friends in Sumas and having a bit too much to drink, then going for a walk. They searched my person and my bag. I'm glad I didn't bother to keep any of my receipts. I had to sit in the lobby for a long time while they filled out a bunch of paperwork. In the end they kept my knife and the beer I had in my bag and sent me on my way giving me a stern lecture about drinking alcohol and being aware of where I'm at in a border town. At this point the sun was up. I was beat. After looking around a bit, and asking for directions I found the bus station and bought a ticket back to the town near where I live. I had to wait two more hours for the bus, but it was so nice to just sit and watch the road. The first thing I did when I got back to town was stop at the sports goods store and buy a new knife.
When I arrived at the compound I learned I wasn't the only one with a homecoming. Beelzebub was waiting for me. I opened him a can of tuna. It felt good to be home. I feel more like I'm in the right place.