Runaway Train - Part 3

Cory Green is 48; Rose Green is 35
July 2025

Soundtrack: "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum

"He's through here," the police officer said to Rose, gesturing to a side room. "We still haven't got a statement from him, but he wants to talk to you first."

Rose took a deep breath and stepped past the officer into the room.  Cory stood up quickly from a chair in the corner, when he saw her.

No one said a word.  The door closed behind her, then she took a step towards him.

Cory clutched the stinging side of his face.  "Shit, Rose, " he gasped, "I know I had that coming, but... we're in a police station, for crying out loud! It's not going to help anything if you end up with an assult charge."

"I don't care," she said. "How could you do this to us? Did it ever occur occur to you how worried we'd be?  Especially so soon after what happened to Dad.  What about your kids?  Your kids want to know where you are and when you're coming back, and I can't tell them.  And your father - did you ever think about what that would do to your father?"

Cory visibly paled.  "Oh, god... Dad?"  He took an awkward step back, almost missing the chair as he sat down heavily.
"He's ok," Rose said quickly, alarmed by his reaction. “I mean, he's not ill or anything like that, but he's taken all this hard, all the same."  Until she walked into the room, she hadn't even realised how angry she still was, but she knew it had been a mistake to attack him again.

"I didn't... I... I never thought..." he stammered.  "I think I panicked... I wasn't thinking about anything, really. Rose, I'm so sorry... I never wanted to hurt anyone. I just never thought that Chris would call you... "

"He didn't call me," said Rose. "I called him."  She got up, hesitating before adding, "I mean, I called you."
He looked up, struggling to compose himself.  "You... called me?"
“I needed to talk to you.  I needed to hear your side of what happened.”

I'm here now,” he said.  “Ask me anything. What do you want to know?”
"Did you leave Chris's place with Samantha?"
"No! She visited me there, before she left... to say goodbye, that's all.  She got on a train.  I don't even know where she was going... "

"How many times did you kiss her?”
Only once... on New Year's Eve.” 
The  same thing Samantha had told her... but maybe all that meant was that they'd planned their story. “Did you sleep with her?” Rose asked.
Did you want to?”

“Yes,” he said quietly.
What stopped you?”
You. I couldn't do that to you.”

Rose just stared at him.  Cory knew what she was thinking.  He wouldn't have expected otherwise. It's the truth, Rose, I swear it," he said. "Please believe me.”
That's the thing, Cory... I don't know if I can believe you any more... I don't know if I can trust you again...

... but... but I know I want to try.  I want you to come home.”
"You what?"  In all the times he'd thought about seeing her again, he'd never once imagined that she might say that.

"Crazy, isn't it?"  she said, with a laugh that turned into a sob.  "Even after everything... I thought I'd lost you, Cory. That kind of puts everything in perspective. I want you to come home.  I don't know where we go from there, but... I can't just let you go like this.”

Cory took a deep breath. God, it would be so easy! Just go home. It was a chance he'd never expected, and one that he shouldn't waste. Things would be better now, Samantha was gone, Rose still wanted him... He could control his drinking, he'd done it before. Sharla hadn't found out for years into their marriage...

But Sharla had found out, eventually, and Rose would too. She'd suspected it already, in the weeks before he left.  He knew what it would cost them, when the truth came out, but more than that he knew what it cost to live with the secret.  Even if he could be certain she'd never know, he couldn't go through that again.

"I can't come home," he said.
"I can't go home with you. Not when - "
"But... whatever happened with you and Samantha, we can try to work it out. We can - "

"It's not just about Samantha, it never was," He shook his head. "I'm sorry... "
"I don't understand..."
He gestured to the chairs on the other side of the room. "Sit down," he said. "There's some things you need to know... "

It was dark by the time Serdar and Aaron arrived in Bluewater Village. 

Serdar was grateful for the long journey, though. It had given him time to think things through.  He'd underestimated his son and, this time, he was glad to be wrong.

Partly wrong, he corrected himself.  He'd never believed that Cory and Samantha were together.  It had been suggested more than once, and even he had to admit that it seemed like the obvious answer, when they had both disappeared at the same time.  But Serdar had never believed that either of them would do that.

At the time, part of him had actually wanted to believe it, because at least then, Cory would have been with someone who cared about him.  He wouldn't be out there alone.  Not that it had mattered in the end, or so it seemed.  Or, maybe, being alone was even what Cory had needed.

Maybe, he didn't really know his son as well as he thought he had.

They waited in at the reception, while a nurse went to get Rose. The clinic hadn't changed much. Maybe some new paint, some new pictures on the wall. But still the same place it had been, all those years ago.

"You really didn't need to drive out here tonight," Rose said, after the nurse had gone.  "There's not much point in even talking to him right now.  They gave him something... it was supposed to make the withdrawal easier, but it's just made him really sleepy..."
"That's for the best," Serdar said,  "if he just sleeps through the worst of it."
"But you've come all this way for nothing..."

"Don't worry about us," Serdar said.  "What about you? How do you feel?"
"I really don't know," she said.  "I mean, he'd already decided to come here, and that was good... I thought he'd be ok... but then we get here, and they start telling me all this stuff about what can go wrong, and how dangerous it is to just stop drinking when you've... " She started to cry a little.
"He will be ok," Serdar said.  "They'll take care of him.  They'll manage it so that nothing goes wrong."
"That's what they said," she sniffed.  "That's why they drugged him..."
"It's ok."  Serdar put a hand on her shoulder.  "Come on, lets go see him."

Rose led them to a small room at the end of the corridor.  Through the window, they could see Cory, tossing restlessly on the bed.  "Let me try to speak to him first," Serdar said.  Without waiting for a reply, he entered the room.

"Cory, can you hear me?" he asked softly.  Although Cory had turned to face him, his glassy stare gave no indication of whether he was even aware of his father's presence.
"Son, I need to talk to you," Serdar said, a little more loudly.  Maybe Rose had been right, maybe this wasn't the time -
"Rose told you what happened?"  Cory spoke so suddenly, that Serdar startled a little.  Suddenly feeling unsteady, he found the chair behind him and sat carefully down.

"Did she tell you?" Cory asked again.
"Yes, she did," Serdar said.  "I'm proud of you, Cory."
Serdar nodded.  
"I don't understand... what did Rose tell you?" Cory asked.
"Everything, probably," he said.  "Including the fact that you arranged to come back here, yourself, before you even knew that we were looking for you. "
"Yes, but - "
"Cory, how long were you drinking for, the first time?"

"You know how long." 
"I want to hear you say it."
"About 20 years," he said.
"And this time - how long?"
He thought for a moment. "Two or three months, I guess."

"Well, then, you should know why I'm so very proud of you right now... "


Rose closed her eyes and tried to make sense of mess of emotions from the last few hours.

How did she feel?  Still angry?  Yes, definitely... despite now knowing what he had been going through, or perhaps because she knew... there were far better ways he could have dealt with it all, and she'd tell him that.  Not now, though.  She knew now that this wasn't the time for more recriminations.

Most of all, she realised, she was just relieved.  He was safe.  He seemed ready to face his ghosts. That much, she could be happy about, if happy was even a word you could use in a situation like this.

She felt someone sit down next to her.  "Are you ok?" Aaron asked

She shrugged.  "I don't even know what ok is right now..."
"You look exhausted.  You're not planning to drive all the way home tonight, are you?"
She shook her head.  ""I've got a sister near by, but I've decided I'm just going to stay here.  They said it would be ok, and my parents are happy to look after the kids as long as I need."
"Well, I'm driving Dad to his brother's house after he's seen Cory," Aaron said.  "He wants to come back in the morning, so it'll save him the drive to Richmond and back if he stays there.  I can come back here after that, if you like."
"Whatever suits you," she said.  "I'll be ok if you want to go home."

Aaron nodded. "Um... Rose... look, I don't know if this is going to help or not, but... there's something you need to know," he said awkwardly.

"I... I knew that Cory and Samantha kissed on New Year's Eve.  He told me.  I think he was feeling guilty over it, even then... and I told him not to tell you.  Looking back, that was probably really bad advice."
Rose shook her head.  "It doesn't matter," she said.  What if she had known about that kiss?  Would it really have changed anything that came after? "There's a lot more to this, than just that one kiss..."

"Do you believe that?" Aaron asked.  "That they only kissed once, I mean?"

"Yes," she said.  "Yes, I do believe it."

From the moment he'd sat down with her in the police station, and told her the whole story of the past months, she'd believed him.  From the moment he'd told her where and how he'd spent the last week, and what he intended to do about it... She could see how hard it was for him, but he'd told her the truth.  Whatever other negative feelings she might still have towards him, he'd left her with no reason to doubt his honesty in anything any more.


It felt to Cory like the room was moving around him.  He considered opening his eyes, but it felt like too much effort.

A little while ago, he'd started shivering, and someone had pulled the blankets around him... now he wondered if he was too warm, if that was contributing to the waves of drowsiness that he was finding it increasingly hard to fight off.

He was dreaming, on and off, as he surrendered to the warmth.

He was no longer sure what was the dream, and what was real, and he didn't really care.  The past and the present twisted around each other in ways he couldn't understand and couldn't hope to untangle.  He'd have to, eventually, though.  He'd have to find a way stop holding on to the past.  There was so much that he needed to hold onto in the present, and he just didn't have the energy for it all any more.

It was too much for him to even think about right now, and it didn't matter anyway.  The past no longer felt so threatening, and nor did the present.  The future?  He didn't know.  He did know that it wouldn't always feel this safe, and it certainly wouldn't always be easy, but right now, that didn't matter either.  Right now, this was enough.

Enough to get through today.



  1. This whole's really been wonderfully written. He has so much excess baggage he's been dragging around....but it seems there may be a light at the end's still a ways off, but it's in sight. I'll be interested in seeing the aftermath of all of this.

  2. Wonderful, I'm glad he came clean about everything and I am proud of him as well. It takes more strength than most think to admit an addiction and to seek help.

  3. Yeah, I was going to say the same as Mizzgin - this story has been so amazing. I'm really glad that things are seeming just a little more hopeful for everyone right now. There's been a lot of darkness surrounding Cory for a long time and it's awesome that he's decided to try and pull himself out of it, rather than wallowing.

    And Serdar is awesome. I just had to say that. ;)

  4. Thanks everyone for reading, and for the positive comments! I've said before that this is a hard story to write, so I'm glad to hear that people are enjoying it.

    Mizzgin03, the biggest part (and, hopefully, the hardest part to write!) is over now, but Cory's story is nowhere near finished... like you say, he's got a way to go, and there are also repercussions for the other people involved. I'm looking forward to writing about it, too.

    Apple Valley, that's the main reason why I decided that he had to save himself this time - much of Cory's problems stem from his low opinion of himself, and that opinion has been fed, unintentionally, by everyone who's ever tried to protect him or stand up for him in some way. The best answer to all that, is to do something strong.

    Carla, yes, the most awesome part is that he decided it himself. I imagine that the first time, he cleaned himself up for Sam (and for his father) then later Rose. Which is good, except that if something changes with those people (Rose angry at him/his belief that he'd let them down anyway through his feelings for Samantha), then the incentive is gone too.

    And, Serdar :) I figured that he would be in the best position to recognise the significance of what Cory had done, given that he was there the first time and knew what it took to get Cory to this point, back then (so was Aaron, but he's preoccupied with his part in this at the moment).

  5. I think I've said it before, but I'm still going to say it again, I think you're an amazing writer! Your stories are so well written, I always get dragged in :)

    Anyway to the update!
    I'm glad Cory made the decision himself and wasn't forced to do it, because that might have caused problems. As every one else, I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for Cory, and I'm hoping he's heading towards it!
    He's got an amazing family supporting him, with Serdar, and even Rose!

  6. I'm pretty much going to say what everyone else did- You are an Amazing writer and these stories are so beautifully written. I can't help but keep reading!

    I'm glad Cory was able admit he had an addiction; like Apple Valley said, it takes a lot of strength to do that. I hope that things will be able to sort out eventually. :)

  7. Tanja, thanks... you're right, his family are really coming through for him, and having that support will make a big difference for him.

    coolkat2, thank you... and yes, it does take strength to do what Cory did - more strength than he (or anyone else) realised that he had, I think.

  8. Man this update choked me up like a crazy lady! I'm so, so, so glad that he is getting help. It just broke my heart, the entire thing for the past few months with his drinking, and the guilt, and his mother, and then his father being alive with this going on again. Poor Rose, but I'm so glad that she believes him and wants to work on things with him and be a support. That's a good woman to not throw a person away because of one kiss, that he didn't even start ether. I'm just so glad that he's getting help and has so many around him as he faces this withdrawal.


Thanks for reading and commenting!