At a old ragged train station, a young child with clean but worn out clothes can be observe tightly gripping her small luggage with her right hand while gently holding the hand of a skinny sick man with her other hand. She seems to pay attention to the sickly man with great concern as if scared that he might disappear any moment. The sickly man affectionately squeezes the young child hand as he notice her worried gaze. But before he could reassure his niece that his okay, a coughing fit seizes him.
"Are you feeling okay, Uncle?" full of anxiety the young child tries to pat her uncle's back to help ease his coughing fit. Who else can this child be, but Lyra.
"I'll be fine. just give me a moment, Lyra." Fum tells Lyra with a weak smile.
"Take your time, Uncle." Lyra leading her uncle to a bench full of bullet holes. She takes out a thermos filled with hot water and offers her uncle a drink. Fum couldn't help but let out a mocking chuckle.
"Its funny, Lyra that I intended to show you that I'm okay. But, it seems I'm only making it harder for you. Your Uncle really is troublesome."
"Don't be stupid, Uncle. I never thought of Uncle being troublesome. Just a little bit annoying!" Lyra pouts. Fum let out a hearty laugh.
"Ha!ha!ha! Oh, Lyra." Fum give Lyra's head a soft pat. " I'm glad you only view me to be just little bit annoying." he smiles.
"Attention all passengers, the train is arriving in approximately 20 mins. Please make your way to the boarding platform within that time period. Once again, attention all passengers the train is arriving in approximately 20 mins, please make your way to the boarding platform. Thank you."
The sudden full of static announcement about the train's arrival from an old speaker above their heads, startle both the Fum and Lyra.
"I guess its time for us to go there, Lyra. I'm pretty sure this time I'm fine."
"Okay..." Lyra, weakly replies while putting the thermos away and slowly getting off the bench.
"Do you want me to help you to carry your luggage?" Lyra shakes her head slowly. "Alright then, lets go." Holding her uncle's right hand tightly , she slowly walks towards the boarding platform. Fum notices her unnatural slow pace but he couldn't help but indulge her in this moment. He could only wearily smile and lead Lyra slowly to the boarding platform. Boarding platform, the place that both of them hope to never reach so they could walk side by side forever.
Alas, even with their slow pace they have reached the boarding platform. They are just quietly standing there. Both hoping deep in their hearts that the train would be delayed. And yet, once again with a loud announcement that echoes through out old train station,
"Attention all passengers, the train is arriving in approximately 5 mins. Please make your way to the boarding platform within that time period. Once again, attention all passengers the train is arriving in approximately 5 mins, please make your way to the boarding platform. Thank you."
"I guess this is it, Lyra. The train is about to arrive." Fum looks at Lyra with teary eyes. Lyra grips her uncle's hand with no intention of letting go. Fum couldn't help gently squeeze her hand back. "Lyra, I know it will be hard adjusting to your new hom-"
"IT WILL NEVER BE MY HOME! it can't be my home since you won't be there, Uncle."
This time Lyra shouted and hugged her uncle while crying with all her might. This shock Fum since Lyra never cried so aggressively before even after her parents died. She only let silent tears run down her cheeks. Fum tightly hugs Lyra and let her cry while gently patting her back.
"Lyra, I'm sorry." Fum tighten his embrace and whisper "I'm sorry I can't be with you. Although, what I really want to say is, Thank you. Thank you for being my wonderful niece. Thank you." and tears starts to run down Fum's cheeks.
"Attention all passengers, the train is now boarding please make your way towards the conductor now. To all passengers please start boarding the train. I repeat, Attention all passengers, the train is now boarding please make your way towards the conductor now. To all passengers please start boarding the train. Thank you."
Hearing the announcement, Fum really wanted to ignore it but knowing that ignoring it won't solve anything, he reluctantly loosen his embrace on Lyra.
"Lyra, its time for you to go." Fum gently reminds Lyra while wiping her tears and snot with his sleeves.
"I really don't want to go, Uncle." *sobs,sob*
"I know. I don't want to let you go either." Fum pats her head, "But, for your brighter future will you agree to this selfish request of your Uncle to go, please." *cough, cough*
"I...I... I don't want to...." Lyra looks down, "But if Uncle really wants me to then I can't really argue."
"Good girl." Fum lifts Lyra's chin and smiles at her. "Now, let me help you board the train." Fum suddenly picks up Lyra. Lyra hugs her uncle's neck and buries her head on his shoulder. Fum walks toward the conductor while carrying Lyra and pulling her luggage with his free hand.
"Her first time riding the train?" ask the conductor.
"Yeah. Its her first time. Would you mind looking after her?" Fum asks as he lets Lyra down and hands over her ticket to the conductor.
"Of course, Sir! It would be my pleasure!" The conductor saluted while grinning widely.
"You have my greatest gratitude, young man."
"Leave young miss safety to me, Sir!" the conductor confidently taps his chest.
"Uncle," Lyra standing still not moving an inch towards the train doors. Looking at her uncle with her swollen eyes and puffed cheeks she says "Will you promise me, that you'll call me often?"
"I promise." Fum noticing his niece somber face, lifts her up and embraces her one last time and kisses her forehead. "I promise to call you often and even send you letters the old fashion way." Fum let Lyra down and urge her to board the train quickly. Lyra multiple times looks back at her uncle. Fum could only restrain his grief and smile as brightly as he can. Even as the doors of the train closes, Lyra sight never left her uncle. She even went to sit near the window making sure that she could see her uncle.
"Attention all customers, the current train is now departing. All doors on the train are now securely closed and boarding is now unavailable. If you wish to board the next train, the next train is estimated to arrive within 26 hours. I repeat, Attention all customers, the current train is now departing. All doors on the train are now securely closed and boarding is now unavailable. If you wish to board the next train, the next train is estimated to arrive within 26 hours. Thank you."
As the train starts to move Fum's face can barely maintain his smile but he couldn't let it go since Lyra is still intensely looking at him through the window to the point that her face is almost plastered on it. If it was another time maybe he would let out a hearty laugh seeing her face almost plastered on the window but right now, all he wanted to do when he saw her anxious and innocent face looking at him as the train departs is to take her back and let her stay in his arms.
Lyra on the other hand tries to burn the image of her uncle in her memories. Her eyes tries to focus on her uncle's figure even as the train leaves the boarding station. She sees her uncle trying to run along side the strain and frantically waving his arms with tears in his eyes. Even, though she couldn't hear the words he's shouting she could clearly imagine what he is saying.
"Take care, Lyra. I'm sorry!"
"Stupid Uncle, no need to apologize. I understand. I wasn't strong enough to stay by your side." Lyra whispered while tears in her eyes clouds the image of the fading figure of her uncle.
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