October 26th, 2020
I had been sitting in this train for quite some time, a long time, a time that was immeasurable. I don’t think I can even remember getting on this train, or much before my velveteen prison. I can however recall, before the endless cycle of train, a party, with friends and poker and the finest champagne only a prestigious actor could afford, Belgium chocolate liqueurs potent enough to knock out a herd of elephants. Just my friends and I, only, I can’t recall their names, or what they looked like. Just scratched-out faces, fragmented voices, and one blurry memory of someone pulling in stacks upon stacks of poker chips. It probably didn’t matter anyway, if I couldn’t remember them, they probably weren’t important. Maybe they’ll be waiting for me when the train stops, wherever and whenever it stops. Did I ever board this train, or is the train just this entire universe/ There are multiple theories that suggest everything around is just a construct of our minds, so maybe the memory of a party and my existence in this train is all just an elaborate construction of my brain. I probably should take a walk, I think if there was a time before the train, I would’ve had enough existential crisis’, I bet I have the face for that. There aren’t any mirrors on this train, I think. I don’t believe I’ve left my coach. I pulled my blazer back on, and in the faint reflection in the window, fixed my tweed bow tie. Even though I’ve not seen a single person walk past my coach, I’d rather not look like a mess. Giving my coach one last look over, like I’ll never see it again, I open the glossy gold and glass door, finally stepping out onto the well trimmed candy apple carpet. My legs don’t feel stiff like I expected, they feel like I’ve only sat down for a minute. As I got reacquainted with the feeling of walking, I’d stick my peepers to the glass of fellow coaches, wondering if I was the only one left, searching for evidence. Every few or so, I would see signs of life now gone. Magazines, half-finished meals, and hats dotted around behind the doors, but not a single person. I’d been wandering for so long, disappointed that there wasn’t a face to speak to. I pulled back the snagging curtain fabric to the next compartment. To my delight, there was finally someone. A slightly shorter man with dark hair and even darker circles around his eyes. He was scratching at his stubble while flipping through a newspaper. He was so familiar, it almost angered me that I hadn’t a clue who he was. He didn’t have any luggage, and he couldn’t have carried everything for such a long trip in his suit jacket. The newspaper he was reading was titled “Murders At The Manor: A Party Gone Wrong”. I tried focusing on the picture, it was almost like my eyes were purposefully scratching one of the 5 people in the photo out. The remaining 4 figures were 3 men and 1 woman, all seemingly at one of those fancy Hollywood parties. The man in the middle was wearing a sangria tuxedo, holding a golden award. On his left arm, a young woman with her charcoal hair pinned up high. She adorned a full black unrevealing dress, as if this was a funeral, yet was showing off a humongus diamond ring. Her forced half-smile showed through the grainy print. Beside the pair was the most unsuited man to stand in that county. Nearly his entire outfit was just beige and brown. A colonel's long jacket, fully buttoned up, and half a dozen medals pinned to his chest. He had a thick ashen mustache overtop a wide grin. His Harry Potter esque glasses held a bright pair of hazel eyes that were staring at the woman with the ring. Finally, the only one dressed in something nice on the right of the award-winner. A plain tux with a white badge that read “Mayor”. He lent heavily on a cane and was just in the middle of a laugh. I kept looking between the mayor and the man reading the paper. It was uncanny, the same face, same stubble beard, and even the cane propped up beside him. By this point, I was standing there for 5 minutes, staring, and the man was beginning to stare back at me. “Do you want the paper?” he inquired. His voice sounded like 3 people trying to talk at once. Hearing something besides the constant moving of the train caught me off a bit. I didn’t get a chance to answer, he folded up the paper and placed it in my hands. He looked at me for a moment, lingering with a look of sorrow in his kind, tired wise eyes. For a moment, I pictured him, less pale, a white bowtie, slicked back hair, and a frozen laugh, but only for a moment. He stood up, grabbing the silver topped cane beside him. The train had finally stopped, and I began following him to an exit I’d overlooked before. He limped to the door, where I noticed a small circular hole in his jacket, positioned just behind his heart. Looking at it drew attention to a dull pain in my neck. I couldn’t look at it, but I could touch it. A deep, tiny hole there. It startled me and my legs began to crumple, I nearly fell onto the man. He opened the door, I could see the interior of an opulent country home, I could see a man in a pale yellow shirt and red suspenders sobbing silently. The man from the train was about to step forward before he turned to me, with solemn eyes in a soft voice he said “I’m sorry, you can’t leave yet, I need to see if you can be saved”. He stepped out of the train and it started up again, the door slamming in my face. Begrudgingly, I made my way back to my coach, and sat down for a long time.
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