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The End of the Line


The End of the Line
by Tom and Johnny Lichtenberg
copyright 2013 by Tom and Johnny Lichtenberg
“Trains
Don't run forever.
Fire goes out sometime.
Got to tell you baby,
We've come to
The end of the line.”
J.J. Cale
One
"Let me get this straight," Ember said with a scowl of disapproval on her face. "You
simply walked on out of here? And then you walked back in? Just like that?"
"Just like that," replied Soma with a grin that showed off her truly enormous teeth.
Soma towered over Ember, something else the smaller one didn't like. Not long before,
the two of them had been the same size, both eight-year old immortals trapped in the
forest prison world for what seemed like longer than forever. Ember was not the only
one who'd wondered whatever happened to Soma and her constant companion
Squee. The two of them used to always be around, high up in the treetops, scampering
about in their never ending game of “Watchers”, a secret spy mission run by the mean
old man Bombarda. He, too, had vanished along with them, but no one bothered to
worry much about him. They figured he'd gone recluse, like so many other bitter
elders.
The forest world never changed, like the people trapped inside whose bodies could not
age or develop any further than where they'd become stuck, at the arbitrary ages of
eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four and, in a few very unfortunate cases like Ember's
grandmother, one hundred and twenty eight years old. It was a strange place,
rumored to be the artifact of a university botany experiment gone wild, populated by
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