The doll and the toxic train

Her mom just returned from one of her business trips, and brought her a doll. It wasn’t a Barbie she dreamt of, but a similar kind, close enough she thought. She liked the name – Fleur, and the doll had dark hair, which she liked more than the Barbie’s blonde. It was just a few days before her eighth birthday, but mom would have probably brought her a present even if it wasn’t her birthday. She would always bring something, like that time when from her trip to East Germany she brought the whole suitcase of chocolate bars, each different. The colorful wrappings were intoxicating. Now, she was so happy the next day the school would start only at noon, so she had the whole morning to play with Fleur. When it was time to leave for school, she reluctantly put the doll away and left. It wasn’t a long walk, five minutes if she walked fast. But that day she did not even reach a railway bridge, which was about halfway to school, when she was turned around by someone, perhaps other kids going back. All she understood was that the school is closed for today, there was some kind of accident. She was bit confused, but did not get scared, everything around looked fine. All she cared about was that she could now go back home and continue playing with Fleur. She can’t remember how long she was home alone, until other members of her family began to return, but she remembers at some point she was told to go to her uncle’s flat, which was in the same building and staircase on the fourth floor, she lived on the ground floor. It was important apparently that they would stay as high as possible. Later she got to know that a train carrying very toxic chemical substance went off the rails right opposite of her school. It was transporting liquid chlorine sent from USSR to DDR. They were told to stay upstairs while the rescue team is trying to lift three derailed cisterns back on tracks. If the cisterns were damaged in the process and there was a leakage or explosion, many people would die, including them. She now sensed the seriousness of the situation, standing next to the window watching empty streets and playgrounds. Holding her Fleur tightly in her hand, she was looking out for some signs of the deadly substance spreading above the ground.