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segment fourty-one

We headed farther into the town of Christiansburg while the four of us played car games, and a little truth or dare. To avoid evening traffic, Ike turned onto a side road which was actually almost abandoned. We were the only ones driving down it except for an occasional passing car.

Eventually, Zac pipped up with a very loud comment, "Hey, I hear train whistles!" He squeaked and looked in all directions for the nearby train.

"Oh My God! Wow! That is just so amazing," I said sarcastically and covered my mouth with my hands.

"Well, duh Zac! There are tracks right next to us," Taylor pointed out.

"And where there are train tracks and cars, there's bound to be a railroad crossing," Ike stated suddenly. I slumped.

"You're right. Look ahead. There's one a crossing just a mile up. We'll have to wait forever just to get across. Especially if it's a long train."

Just a distance away, the road changed directions and crossed pathes with the track. We could hear the train coming down it fast since the track was right next to us.

"Oh well," Tay said, "I guess we'll just have to wait. Let's keep playing."

We started up our game of truth or dare while Isaac drove up to the crossing. It was Zac's turn and I could see his sneaky grin that was beginning to form. "Oh, come on Zac! What do you have planned now!?"

Zac turned to Ike who was quietly driving and minding his own business. "Oh, Ikey-poos... truth or dare?" he said with a now evil grin.

Ike, keeping his eyes on the road, told Zac that he was too busy to play. "Pppplllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaasssssssee!" Zaccy whined until he pulled the car over to the side.

"What? Fine, I'll play. It's your fault that we won't make it before the train now. I pick dare since we're gonna be here a while."

"Not necessarily." We all looked at him. "Ike. I dare you too.... beat the train so we can get home fast!" Zac declared!

Isaac shook his head. "Uh-uh. I'm not doing that. It's too dangerous."

"Exactly the whole point."

"Zachary, no! That's it. Get serious."

"Oh, you bummer butt! Better yet... CHICKEN! Buck, buck, buck... buck, buck." Then Zac got up on the seat and started to jump around and chanting, "Isaac's a chicken, Isaac's a chicken, a chicken, a chicken! Buck, buck, buck... CHICKEN!"

Finally, we managed to get him to snap out of it. "Okay, okay, I'll do it and I'll try not to speed. But if we get too close to the train and we won't make it, I'm stopping the car and the dare.

"YEAH!" Zac cried and bounced on the seat. Then the two boys up front made sure we had our seatbelts on tightly just in case. I heard the train edging closer, still at a good distance, but thought twice and decided that maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

We didn't have that far to go. Come to think of it, it looked easy to make the race. It was to simple. Still, something inside told me not to.

"Ike, I don't think we should-"

"Relax, Jen. We'll make it," Ike said while Tay and I exchanged nervous glances.

He pushed down on the gas petal and started the car. We pulled out of the little ditch that we had been in and began to speed up a little.

As we sped up even more, I suddenly saw the train come into view a ways back. I'd never seen one this close and had never realized trains were so big. It almost frightened me that this was what we were going to try and race! I paniced.

"Ike, please don't! You're not a chicken, just a sweet guy. Please, stop the car."

"Yea, come on Isaac. Stop it," Taylor said and tried to help me out.

I don't think he even heard us. The train was about a mile back when we were only a few feet away from the crossing. Then we found out that trains are fast. Faster than you'd expect. Isaac stopped to turn the corner, with a smile on his face when he spotted the locomotive out of the corner of his eye.

I saw him hesitate for a moment to go across. The conductor blew the whistle again to warn us and the crossing lights blinked wildly. My adrenaline began to flow. As Isaac slowly made his way across the tracks, suddenly... we stopped.

I didn't realize it because I had been staring at the train only a short distance away. I turned to him in frightful panic.

"Why'd you stop!?" I yelled wildily.

I saw Ike struggling with one of the petals. "I... I.. can't go awywhere. I think the engine froze or something," he said.

Suddenly I realized what was happening. Zac and Tay, also the delirious me, were all screaming at the top of our lungs for Ike to go somewhere. He looked just as bad. "It.. won't!"

"But it has too!" we yelled in unison.

"I can't do it! The petal isn't doing anything," he said as we heard the engine struggle to start up again.

I felt my heart beating faster than it ever had before. Zac frantically reached down to the petals and pushed at the accelerator to help, not that it did any good. I had been right all along. Zac's dare hadn't been a good idea.

"We're gonna die," I heard Taylor whisper to me as he clung to the seat. The train came closer. Good God, I thought. This is a convertable! What am I thinking?

"Guys, the top's rolled down. This is a convertable! Get out!" I managed to yell and I spotted the train closer than ever. I saw Zac take no time to hop out in a hurry and run a safe distance from the distress as Taylor and I struggled to get our seatbelts unbuckled.

"I got it! It's working," I heard Ike cry as the engine began to roar.

"Well, don't just sit there! Go!!!!"

Isaac snapped out of his happiness and pushed down hard. The wheels spun and the car slowly moved out of the crossing. It looked to late. The train was only a few feet away from us. The conductor was pulling frantically on his brakes to stop the train as he blew the whistle over and over.

The convertable's wheels struggled to get up off of the iron tracks and suddenly I felt the car moving up and out. We were safe! But the train was to close.

Everything after that was a blur. I saw the huge bulk coming at us and I screamed when it barely hit the side of the car as Isaac used every last bit of energy to get us away. He hadn't gone far enough. Even worse... the train hit Taylor's side of the vehicle.

All three of us cried out in fear and panic as I felt the collision. The last conscious feeling I had was of the entire car swirving sharply off the side and crashing violently. After that, everything went blank...

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