Last updated Wednesday 3rd April 11:03 GMT
Towards the Time to Talk
A Thomas & Friends fan-fiction
Sodor's National Anthem
They came to be,
As did we.
As they evolved,
So did we.
Similar in shape,
But not in size.
Our faces the same,
Us far more wise.
They came to us,
Unbeknownst to us.
Unbeknownst to them,
A surprise were us.
Surprised they were,
But more afraid.
No threat we posed,
With our home we paid.
In eyes like ours,
But filled with color,
We saw great evil,
But lacked in valor.
In efforts in vain,
Our island they took,
As with all other homes,
There was no use to look.
Though sober we suffered,
They forced us to hide,
For the smaller but larger,
Our anger we did bide.
No legs or arms or fingers but wheels,
Funnels and buffers and boilers so warm,
A surprise to us to them and potential,
Our Lady had changed our forms.
Tracks Told, Never Needed
Song: Don't You Worry Child (Acoustic Version) - Swedish House Mafia
As he finally let his eyes lids slip, Edward felt a spasm of relief across his face. His boiler tingled and his frame sunk into the ground slightly as he finally allowed himself to succumb to the well-earned rest.
Fate didn't succumb to this sleep however, it would seem.
A sound rattled his sub-conscious mind, so much so he found himself mimicking it. He called it a mimic once his mind was settled enough that he pondered over what it was. It was a gasp ridden with shock which Edward had copied in both the physical and mental state. As fast as it has caused him to open his eyes, he closed his lips and pressed them together so much so that it ached a little, a punishment at the realization that he may have woken the other engines up. In that few seconds he spent in silence, it enabled engines he had disturbed to settle but also in that silence and focus, he detected a slow, deep panting, the tint of vocal similar to that of the gasp. He reversed as slowly and lightly as he could towards the sound, speeding up ever so slightly when he saw Percy out of the corner of his eye opening and closing in mouth in sync with the panting.
Edward opened his own mouth but hesitated in releasing sound. He didn't want to shock Percy even more than he already seemed to have been. After all, he hadn't appeared to have acknowledged Edward's movement. He deemed it wise however to enquire as to what the problem was.
"Percy," He addressed him quietly but not as a whisper. Percy hated it when people whispered, it reminded him of some kind of ghostly voice and to use it now, Edward was afraid he'd reverse through the back wall of the shed. He kept his voice at a volume where Percy could recognise it if he was surprised by the noise.
Percy gasped at the mention of his name and his cheeks flushed a crimson red at the sound of Edward's voice. He looked at the bigger blue engine and despite his gentle smile, quickly ceased his panting and wore a face of pure apology.
"I-I'm sorry Edward!" He said quickly and let off steam suddenly. He crept away from Edward slightly (only by that much because the buffers where there) in an attempt to escape the embarassment.
Edward replied quickly but still retained that reassuring smile, "Shhh! You didn't wake me Percy, don't worry. Keep your voice down though so you definitely don't wake anyone up, James needs his beauty sleep apparently." He chuckled quietly and now Percy mimicked him, albeit he still remained embarrassed and his crimson cheeks showed this, a slightly lighter shade than before however, "Now, how about we head out of the sheds and you can tell me what's the matter eh?" Edward meant to smile reassuringly again after he had said this but Percy's actions led him to a glance of concern instead.
Percy's gaze was no longer on Edward but at no one, nothing in particular. He had acknowledged him speaking however, he answered, "What? No! Nothing's wrong, I swear!" He lied, not because there was something wrong, he wanted to forget he was upset, why he was upset.
"Percy shush!" Edward repeated, with an unintentional hiss, only because he didn't want Percy to be on the receiving end of any grumpy, half-sleep engine. He lowered his voice again and reverted to his original tone, Come on out here with me." Edward lifted his drowsy frame and hauled his wheels clockwise with his aching side-rods out of the shed.
Percy now felt obliged to move now, Edward had, for him. He hauled his frame forward also, his wheels shaking rather than aching from his frightening ordeal. Edward heard his frame creak repeatedly, like his own when he was really feeling the pinch of his age. It continued for a short while after Percy had come to a stop next to him.
Edward's smile returned as did a small one from Percy, but his gaze was sympathetic, "Now come on Percy," He began, again not as a whisper but in a quiet voice, "What on earth has you so spooked?" Percy stayed silent again, his gaze on nothing in particular. He pondered over the question, and answer. It didn't scare him anymore. He was only wondering how on earth he would explain it. Edward couldn't tell what Percy was thinking but respected his silence, "Talking about it can help you know, but of course, you don't have to tell me anything you don't want to."
Percy's voice began to quake before Edward had finished speaking, not to contradict him, but because he'd finally figured out what he was going to say, he didn't want to let it go, "It was strange. It was a bad dream but, it felt so real..." He stopped to think about it again, his uneasiness also returning. His expression showed this; his eyebrows were raised as far as his face would allow and his mouth hung open, his bottom lip trembling slightly. The worry drained back into Edward's face.
"The bad dreams always are, they're always the more realistic-," He began but Percy wanted, needed to continue.
"But it was, it was so real but..." He'd another wall, the barrier he was dreading. He took his time in trying to word it, Edward remained respectfully silent. Percy let himself continue, he'd left himself a small plot of dialogue to put Edward on while he thought of how to word the most daunting aspect of his dream. "We were all in it. Everyone was in it. We were at Tidmouth Sheds, you, me, Thomas and Toby, Donald and Douglas, Duck and Hank too!" He paused again for a short while, the wall had yet to fall. Edward let Percy know that he was listening.
"A bit of a family reunion this is turning out to be, isn't it?" He chuckled, as did Percy despite his determination not to be distracted and to think about his answer, his answer to a question Edward had yet to ask, "But what was so frightening about it? Was Spencer in it? I can't blame you..." Percy giggled again, a little more cheerful now that he'd figured out how to describe his ordeal.
"He was in it but..." He hesitated once more, wondering what would Edward's reaction would be to his dream. He said it aloud as well as in his funnel as he played his version of events, but eventually joined reality to witness the outcome, "We weren't engines. We were still us, we had our faces but our wheels...They were there just, just not were they are now. They were tucked into our arms sort of, we had arms, and we had legs. We were standing up. We were shaped like people!" The last comment almost excited him to the point of him moving forwards, or backwards, for that reason rather than in fear.
Percy had become so engrossed in the recollection of his dream, that he didn't track Edward's change in expression or detect his emotions and thoughts. When he finally turned to face him, he wore an awestruck smile but was not facing him.
As Percy a relayed more of his dream, Edward had experienced a daydream (or night-dream) although it more him reminiscing but he didn't like to call it that, he thought of his age more than anything else. Only one vision in his dream was a reminiscence however and although it was relevant, he'd rather not have though about it and 'fast-forward' through it. The next vision was a daydream; he pictured what Percy had described with little difficulty, nothing he'd said was new to him. The pain that came with the vision was a very new sensation.
A hot wave flew down his funnel and engulfed his face with a scorching blanket of heat to which he scrunched his face up from the shock and in an attempt to squelch to flames. It didn't last long and Edward took a deep breath in and out, not in a sigh of relief but in a attempt to quell his boiler contracting after. Edward never liked to express when he was in pain, he hated people fussing over him because of his age as it was. The pain came on suddenly as it did with Percy it seemed, who had yelped just as the clench had come over him too.
He was certain it wasn't a coincidence. He glanced towards the sheds where every other engine appeared to not be experiencing the same sensation. Then again, they were asleep for now, Edward thought. He put on a brave face for little Percy, to try and get them both to sleep as well for now.
"Have you got boiler ache Percy?" He asked, concerned. Admittedly, he sugar coated it immensely; what this pain was, it was most certainly not that childish classification.
Percy didn't answer Edward directly, he knew that he already knew the answer to that question, Edward always knew and yet, he always wanted to make sure he was right.
'It just came like that!" Percy gestured with a jerk of his wheels, in any direction, just to show Edward how sudden it had been, "It's like a really bad boiler ache though!" The older engine tutted in sympathy and tried to reassure him by blaming himself.
"It's probably because I kept you up. Oh I'm sorry Percy!"
"It's not you Edward, it's fine!" Edward could see the strain in that forced smile. Percy didn't know how to regulate the pain but he didn't want to retort to the default, he didn't want to cry in front of Edward.
"Now I'm sure a bit of sleep will do us both good," Edward mentally spanked himself, but Percy didn't seem to notice that the both of them were in pain or that the entire shed, and island, had begun to cringe.
"Mm-hm." Percy managed before cringing himself as he brought his wheels round to carry him back into the shed. Edward began to do the same but winced and yelped at the slightest wheel-turn. His boiler contracted deeper, like he'd been picked up by a young giant and twisted from buffer to cab. Percy noticed this, but he put it down to just coincidence. He asked a different question to what Edward had expected, "Aren't you coming as well?"
"I'm going to stay out here a moment Percy, let the air peculate around my wheels," He used big words, just to get Percy to nod in agreement at something he didn't understand and leave him alone. "You get to sleep now, don't worry about me." He added to further reassure, and push away, the younger engine. He smiled to say okay and glanced around before speaking.
"Thank you Edward, for talking with me," Percy rather wished they were all in the state they were in his dream, he could perhaps offer his friend a more grateful gesture. Nevertheless, Edward smiled back, also grateful.
"Anytime Percy," He gave him a friendly wink and Percy closed his eyes with a smile, despite his still lingering 'boiler ache.'
Edward continued to keep an eye on Percy until he was sure the little engine had managed to doze off through the pain, either that or he's fallen into a state similar to a human passing out. He caught a glimpse of Thomas who was wrinkling his nose in his sleep. He usually did that when he too was experiencing a nightmare or a disturbance of some sort. Edward sighed at the thought of Thomas, any other, or any more engines in pain.
He turned to James but he felt there was no need to be concerned for him. He wore that pout he usually did whilst sleeping, much like an unhappy toddler but with a slight essence of your average teenage girls' impression of a smile. Edward chuckled quietly, making his pain ease slightly but probably more him taking less notice of it rather than it actually beginning to calm. James had always amused him, presumably because of their age differences or ideology.
Edward then turned to Emily whom was also displaying a disturbance within her. She exhaled as she usually did, a moan twisted within it except in the time the older engine had his watchful gaze on her, there were intervals in which she almost paused in her breathing and when she continued, her voice demonstrated more of a groan.
Edward didn't think to check anyone else, he was certain this wasn't a coincidence. He did think of those outside the sheds and how they were taking it, the pain, if they were indeed experiencing it too. He thought of venturing out to Brendham, to see Bill & Ben, Boco and Salty, to see how they were, and whether the excruciating pain was also implemented on the diesels. That he wasn't sure of, but he was almost certain of what would happen next. The only thing he couldn't pin point was the cause. The only one whom he could recall capable of causing such a thing, was no longer capable. He didn't identify whom to himself, afraid that it might trigger something far more painful for him in comparison to the contractions. The watered-down recollection didn't prevent the reminiscence he so desperately wanted to avoid. He moaned quietly in despair as it coiled round his funnel and tightened its grip on all the wrong nerves.