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Short Stories 365:97

I want spring to hurry up and act like it. Seriously. I want to be outside without requiring layers of clothing. I want to go for a walk and not be cold when I get back. And for all that I want the weather to warm up, my husband is going full on stir-crazy. Today we drove to Tim Hortons just to get out of the darned house for a moment. We ended up not staying, given the crowd of like minded people there, but took our hot drinks home and stared out the window with annoyance.

If I can't escape outside, I'll escape inside. I've been reading a lot, doing some scribbling on a short story idea (which actually has a winter component to it, which isn't exactly making me feel any less stir-crazy). Escapism through books is nothing new, but I find I dial it up to a fever pitch at this time of year.

"Royal Service," by Dale Chase

Speaking of escapism, the tales in Riding the Rails never cease to deliver. Since the train is my favourite and most stress-free way to travel, reading stories set on trains gives me a double-dose of relaxation. I imagine the miles drifting by alongside the characters, and smile.

In "Royal Service" a young man - Adrian - finds himself on board a sumptuously appointed carriage of a train with man sixteenth in line to the throne - royal enough to be intimidating and so far removed from the rest of the world that it's obvious Adrian feels completely out of synch. That Adrian's enjoying the attention of the royal's relentless enthusiasm is obvious, but when this princeling also keeps the shades up to give teasing glimpses for those gathered to watch the royal train pass, Adrian starts to grow uncomfortable. In the background of it all is a single manservant, who Adrian can't help but feel he has more in common with than the grander personage.

This was almost a tease of a story. As so often in Dale Chase's stories, I couldn't help wanting to know what happened next, even as the narrative closed in a way that left my heart warmed.

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