As the last of the passengers boarded, the conductor blew the whistle and started the engine. The train hissed out it's discomfort at making a second trip across the countryside, but nonetheless began to move grudgingly forward and out of the station.
Amongst the passengers, a little boy sat quietly in his seat, staring straight ahead. Next to him was his mother and older sister Jane, and across from them sat the boy's other siblings, the twins Emma and Cathy, big brother George, and little Annie, all crammed onto one bench, looking as reluctant and contrary as the train sounded.
His mother put one arm around him comfortingly. "Don't worry, Elijah. We'll be there soon. You'll be fine." She said, giving him a loving squeeze. Elijah only sighed and looked out the window.
It was so early in the morning that the sky was still dark, and sunlight would not show it's face for some time. As the train chugged along, away from the shrinking station and out onto the dark green countryside, Elijah imagined that the whole world itself was dwindling away from him. He watched until all signs of civilization disappeared save the clatter of wheels and shrill whistling, and then...
A light appeared. A very small, tiny light, off in the distance. The light grew larger and brighter, until it seemed almost blinding. It rushed ahead, towards the train and Elijah. Closer, closer, until it seemed it would swallow them whole, cars, wheels, and all.
But, quite abruptly, it fizzled out into a tiny shimmer of sparks that slipped through the window and landed, swaying to and fro much like a feather, in Elijah's open hands. The boy blinked, once, twice, rapidly.
A most loud cra-ack! forced him to look out of the window again. For there, galloping alongside the train, were innumerable riders on horseback. There were cowboys firing their guns in the air, and Indians whooping and hollering war cries. Elijah turned around. No one else seemed to notice that there was a full-fledged frontier battle going on!
As Elijah looked again, he saw that they were going over a bridge. As he watched, the cowboys were traded for swarthy sailors, the horses for ships, and the Indians for loot-tugging pirates engaged in a vicious cannon fight. Mermaids jumped out of the shimmering water, twirling and somersaulting in the air as Elijah watched in amazement.
They cleared the bridge far too quickly, and they all seemed to disappear. Elijah felt horribly disappointed. But suddenly, he saw someone's arm, stretched out like a sail. Soon a boy came into full view, holding the arm of a girl in a nightgown. Both of them seemed to fly like birds, soaring through the air with the train. The girl turned and smiled prettily at Elijah, before being joined by an army of knights in silver armor.
Elijah watched in awestruck wonder as a king wielding a sword led a charge of knights forward, where the train was headed. Arrows whizzed through the air, firing at his unwanted destination. The sailors, pirates, mermaids, Indians, and cowboys all returned to join the fight. It seemed that they would succeed in their cause, but-
He uttered a cry and sat upright, breathing heavily. He sucked in air greedily, his heart beating like a drum, then realized.
It was only a dream.