As he stood on the train platform, he noticed he was the only one there, and in the distance down the track he could see the train coming toward him. Looking around he noticed this train station appeared to be very old, paint was peeling near the windows at the trackside. It reminded him of a station he once saw in anold 40’s movie. It was quiet, everything seemed weathered and there were no birds and no insects flying about. He looked down the tracks and saw the train was getting bigger as it neared the platform.
In a few moments, the train’s engine went past him and it was surprisingly quiet. Beyond the platform where he stood it stopped with a squeal of the brakes, and a whooshing sound as it slowed and then stopped. The doors on the car in front of him opened and made a clicking sound. He stepped forward and through the doors. As he looked left and then right he noticed there were quite a few people sitting in various seats along both sides of the car. The doors closed with a clicking sound and the train pulled away from the station platform. Nobody turned to look at him.
He saw a seat by a window and sat down. The material of the seats appeared to be leather and showed cracks here and there but felt comfortable. Dim lights attached to the ceiling ran down the middle and were spaced about six feet apart. They looked like antiques. Although the car throughout appeared to be free of debris, it looked to be very old. The car swayed slightly from one side to the other as it gathered speed and continued down the track making a clicking noise intermittently.
None of the people were talking to one another. They just sat there looking straight ahead, down towards their laps or out the windows. He looked out the window and could see nothing but blackness. There were no telephone poles going by, no landscape, nothing but blackness. It was strange, but as he thought about it, why would you see anything, after all, it was dark outside? As he thought about it, standing there on the platform waiting for the train he hadn’t realized it was nighttime? Perhaps it was the overhead lights, he hadn’t noticed. But here it was dark and it didn’t seem like a point to dwell on and it slipped out of his mind.
The train rolled on for what seemed like an hour and then began to slow, and then came to a stop. He looked out the window and there was another platform just like the one he had been standing on. Two people, a man and a woman who appeared to be in their late thirties were standing there patiently awaiting the doors on the car to open. The doors opened again with that unusual clicking sound and the couple came aboard. The man watched them walk down the aisle and took the seat directly in front of him. In a moment the doors clicked shut. The train lurched slightly as it began to gather speed and continued down the tracks.
The man who was with the woman sat in the aisle seat while the woman chose the window. For just a moment the man sitting behind them wondered why she would want a window seat when there was obviously nothing one could see as the train made its way down the track. He said to her,
”you won’t be able to see anything because it’s dark out.”
The man sitting in the aisle seat turned towards him and said,
“it doesn’t matter, we’re just along for the ride, not to sightsee.”
The woman didn’t say anything.
As the train continued down the track it made numerous stops. It had been hours since he got on board and now the car was nearly full with people. Very few children, but there was one boy who seemed to be about ten or eleven. A boy who didn’t smile and looked very sad. A couple more children also were seen but the man found it difficult to determine their ages and he realized it didn’t matter how old they were anyway.
The train continued down the track and made several more stops, and the last two times it stopped at a platform, the doors on his car did not open but he heard the clicking sound of doors opening in the car behind his. He wondered how many cars were attached to this train? The thought occurred to him along the way nobody seemed to be getting off only getting on. He wasn’t really sure but he felt like he had been on the train a few hours by this time and it was so silent. All one could hear was the clicking of the train wheels on the tracks but the people weren’t talking. He looked at the man seated to his front and left next to the woman by the window and said,
“There sure doesn’t seem to be anybody getting off the train but lots of people getting on board.”
The man looked at him quietly for a moment, he appeared to be thinking about a response and his forehead wrinkled, he cocked his head slightly to the right towards the man who was speaking to him and said over his shoulder finally in a very sad and forlorn voice which emanated regret,
“Nobody gets off this train, and nobody ever will.”
“Why is that” replied the man?
“Because were all suicides, and this is where we will spend eternity. Riding this train that goes nowhere and never will, and nobody ever gets off . We can’t, it is our destiny forever and it is yours too. ”
L Michael Rusin