Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. That’s what you can expect from the “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story!

TIME: November 21, 1944. PLACE: Onboard a night train bound for San Diego.


Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


The scent of her perfume woke him.

The train rocked gently. Track clacked away into the night. The window vibrated against his cheek. He was aware of her, like a dream, before he opened his eyes.

She stood five feet from him, in the aisle, her face lovely in profile, in the light that flashed intermittently from the windows. Her brown hair curled over her shoulders, golden with highlights. She wore an expensive evening dress, a mystery in coach. He could feel her sadness.

He watched her sleepily, through half lashes, inexplicably loving her, even though five minutes before he had not known of her existence.

She turned and sat three seats up, clenching a magazine, which she twisted in nervous hands. She stared out the window, into the darkness, the softness of her cheek beckoning. In the loneliness of the deserted car she filled his heart.

Who was she? What was she doing here? He closed his eyes, imagining her, imagining being with her. Wishing that there was no war, no Marines. Wishing that his leave was beginning, not ending, and that he wasn’t due on base in the morning…

A station clanged past. He awoke with a start.

She was gone.

He went to her seat. Found her discarded magazine. Took it, held it gently. Sat in her seat, missing her. Wishing that he had talked to her. Comforted her. Known her.

For a long time, he stared out her window into the dark, holding the magazine. He could still smell her perfume on the pages.





(For more information about troop movement on trains during World War II, please check out this excellent link:



Each “Five-Minute Escape short-short story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!”

The “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story is copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013