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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - The Train Ride

You can listen to this story here!

The train pulled into the station. Rain beat down on its black skin, bouncing off onto the tracks below. Ian and Mac, two raccoons sat on an oak tree branch. It hung over the train station. "Letís get out of the rain," Mac said, climbing down the tree quickly.

"Where are you going?" Ian called, following Mac down to the ground.

"I say we get on that train. Itís warm and dry and Iíll bet thereís a lot of food inside," he said, smiling.

"Food? Food? I want food," Ian said, drooling.

"You always want that," Mac answered. The two raccoons waited until nobody was on the platform and ran up the steps into the train. "Down here," he urged Ian. "Letís hide in one of these luggage bins until the train gets moving." Ian and Mac climbed on top of the seats and opened a luggage bin, crawling inside. "Ah, this is much better," Mac said, curling in a ball.

"But itís dark in here," Ian whined.

"Shhh. Just close your eyes and go to sleep. Weíll wake up when the train starts to move," Mac suggested.

An hour later Mac woke up. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack went the train down the tracks. He shook Ian. "Ian, wake up. Weíre moving. Letís go," Mac whispered. He lifted the lid to the luggage bin and peeked out. There was only one person in that car and she was sleeping. Her body bounced around as the train went over the bumps. "Come on."

The two raccoons climbed down onto the seat and then walked quietly up the aisle. "Letís see if sheís got any food," Ian suggested. He went up to the sleeping lady. Her bag was open. Ian looked inside. All he could see was a bag of mints, which he didnít like, and a package of bubble gum. "Nothing," he told Mac.

"Come on, Ian. Thereís another car. Just be careful when we are in between the train cars. Donít fall," he cautioned.

They opened the door and went into the next car. It was noisy and crowded. "Yikes! Look at all the people in here," Ian cried.

"Weíll have to be careful. Letís get up into the luggage bins and move along," Mac urged.

The two raccoons climbed silently and unnoticed, into the luggage bins and shut the lid. Ian started to sniff. "I smell food," he said. He opened a bag. "Ah hah. Sandwiches," he said, pulling the bag out. "I think its roast beef. My favorite." He took the sandwich out of the bag and handed half to Mac.

They gobbled it down quickly. "What else is in there?" Mac asked.

Ian searched the bag. His nose was deep inside. He pulled out a bag of potato crisps, sour cream and onion flavored, and a package of chocolate-covered biscuits. "Yummy," he said, opening the salty crisps. Ian and Mac devoured everything quickly. They went from bag to bag, from one side of the train car to the other, eating everything they could find. They were at the last bag when suddenly the lid to the bin opened. They ducked behind a big black leather bag. A man stuck his hand into his bag and pulled out a wrinkled brown paper bag. "I smell egg salad," Ian whispered, as the man shut the lid.

"Letís get out of here and go to the next car," Mac suggested. They opened the lid just enough to squeeze out and climbed down. They went into the next car. No sooner had they gone through the door when Mac noticed they were in the dining car. Right now it was empty, as it wasnít yet lunchtime. On every table was a bowl of fruit.

"Food!" Ian called out. He jumped up onto a table and picked up an apple. He bit into it. "This one is sour," he complained, rolling it across the table.

Mac picked it up and took a bite. His face puckered up. "It is sour. Yuck." He left the apple sitting on the table. The two raccoons went from table to table, eating bites out of each piece of fruit.

They were sitting on the last table eating bananas when suddenly a net scooped both of them up. "Well, what have we here?" the conductor asked, peering into the net at Ian and Mac. "Raccoons on my train. Look at what youíve done to the tables. Youíve taken bites out of every apple. I know what weíll do with you," the conductor said, walking out of the train car to the engine. "Look what I found in the dining car," he said to the train engineer. "Two raccoons. Now how do you suppose they found their way onto our train?"

The engineer just shook his head, staring at Ian and Mac. "Weíd better keep them up here until we get to the next stop and then let them out."

Mac and Ian sat for the next hour, dangling from the ceiling in the net. Now and then the engineer poked them. Ian would snarl at him but Mac just sat there, crunched up in the net.

Soon the train slowed down. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, it went, slower and slower, until it stopped. The engineer picked up the net and carried it down the steps. Ian and Mac were juggled around. Ianís foot went into Macís ear. Macís front paw pulled Ianís tail. They were not happy about this.

The engineer took Ian and Mac into the woods. He turned the net over and dumped them out onto the muddy ground. They ran up the closest tree. "There you go, raccoons. Back where you belong," he said and walked back to the train.

"We belong on the train," Ian whined, "with the food."

Mac sat on a branch thinking. "Well, thereís not much we can do. We arenít getting back on that train!" he said. They sat and watched and waited. A half an hour later the train blew its whistle, nearly knocking the two raccoons off the branch. It chugged its way out of the station and headed down the tracks. Much to Ian and Macís delight though, another train pulled in to the station just as the other one left. "Are you thinking what Iím thinking?" he asked Ian, winking at him. The two raccoons climbed up the steps into the train.

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