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Last Train
Last Train

Last Train


Waiting at the lighted ticket booth I met an old man behind it. His skin wrinkled and worked, eyes not lively and tired, but his little bit of white hair atop his head was combed to the side showing he tried. The old man’s voice seemingly breathing for air,
“What can I do for you?”
“Any trains coming in?” I asked.
The old man turned to his side looking at a time-board and he squinted his eyes scanning the board.
“...doesn’t seem to be- oh, wait,” he replied, “there is one more train coming in. A one-way trip and it’s the last one for the night.”
“What is it?”
“Not sure.” the old man said, “Doesn’t have a name, but it’s coming at eleven-fifty-eight.”
The old man turned back to me, “Want a ticket?”

As the old man got a ticket that is warm and fresh off the press, he handed it towards me when I began to dig for change and he waved his hand giving an assured tone, “no need,” and reached above the counter to close the shutter and turned off the lights.

Clutching the ticket in my hand I went my way towards the station deck. The sky was orange-red consisting of few black puffy clouds. Looks like a fire far in the distance coloring the sky with a small amount of smoke. It’s when I took those steps the world around me became dark, a surrounding force that reveals little ahead of me, barely the deck I walk upon. A single light illuminated what is to be a short distance. A glowing ball shining down reveals a victorian-styled lamp post. Making my way towards it hearing just the sound of my footsteps on the boards, I turn around to see that the ticket booth I was at is gone.

Arriving at the light post, I wait directly underneath the lamp as the darkness feels as if it wants to consume the light and me. So waiting for the train to come, I look at my ticket to see that it’s blank. Just a plain piece of paper. Examining the ticket, I check my watch to see it’s eleven-fifty-eight and that’s when a whistle cries and the station deck begins to give a subtle rumble, “just what the old man said. Right on time”. Down the train tracks a stack of smoke was building making a line that extended as far as I could see and a beam of light was soaring through the dark becoming larger and brighter as the deck grew louder and louder. The train was coming.

The train’s brakes were heard being used with all it’s force as it slowed down coming into the station. The rotund steel wheels squealing and sparks flying off the tracks, it took a while for the train to slow down and come to a complete stop. When it did, the engine was heard to shut off as the smoke stack tailed off to end the line it made.

It’s an old steam train. Blood-red engine with a metal-grate plow in front pulling a chain of crimson passenger cars behind. The paint is chipped and fading, but the deformed letters could still be read writing, Courier of Souls. The cars could be seen with dim lights through the windows as it extends for quite a ways. And along the path of the cars, the station deck lit up with a stretch of lamp posts lighting up never seeming to stop. A porter came out from the far end of the passenger car in front of me leaning out and tipped his hat, “climb aboard The Great Reward."

I ain’t ever coming back.

Stepping out from the light and into the dark I had luggage or bags for the man to stow away, so I make way to a series of large steps on the train, I climb onto the train and enter in a small, dim, dreary boxcar that can carry only so many with a pair of seats on each side. Slowly walking down the aisle, there was no one else and I decided to take the seat that was in-line with the light post I was waiting at. So sitting down with a breath I lay my head against the cool glass window and stare back out at the station deck. A person, someone I don’t know, then sat next to me without a word.

The conductor called from behind, “tickets. Present your tickets. The One-Way Ride to The Other Side,” as he slowly makes his way. I turned back, held up my wrinkled ticket and the man who was sitting next to me suddenly grew afraid. The conductor came by and graciously took mine. Asking for the other man’s ticket, he then asked him to leave for not being able to present one. The man blubbered in grief and sadness and my heart filled with sorrow as I watched him guide the man out from the car and back out onto the station deck.

Few drops of rain fell as it tinged against the train ceiling and windows as it gradually and quickly became a light rain shower with drops pattering the window and trickling down. With that, I look back out the window to see that the man who sat next to me is under the lamp post. He was crying in the rain.

The conductor went up towards the engine and the porter followed stopping just before exiting the car. Once the train engine sounded to start it’s steam and the wheels slowly moved the train leaving the station, the porter tipped his hat once again going down the steps of the car in front of me carrying an umbrella and disappearing into the dark. He left, leaving me alone in the passenger car. This is the end and it all begins, I ain’t ever looking back.

As the station deck went away along with the crying man and lamp post, the rain stayed with the train along with darkness moving straight ahead slowly gaining speed. The steam train let out it’s smoke and whistled once again with pride. Looking out the window towards the fire sky, I think of what I’ve done and accept the outcome. Though you’ll never find me when I leave the world behind me and take the last train. Destiny forgot me as I climbed aboard and finally took the last train. That blood-red engine pulls a chain of crimson and takes me home.

Author Notes: Story in line with the song lyrics, Last Train, by Holy Soldier.

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4 Dec, 2021
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5 mins
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