Be careful of Train 76b2

Hi! I was supposed to have a blog coming up that turned out much bigger than I expected! So that's gonna take a while! Anyway this is an old story from around August that I never finished but I think it constitutes for flash fiction. cheers!

I’ve always been familiar with the subway; could probably take it better than most of my family. I’ve never gotten my license. Even if cars have never been my thing, trains have never, not once, scared me. They’re just big hunks of metal, ones that I don’t drive.

And whenever I get on the train, there’s always an empty car waiting for me. Somehow, in a crowd of people all processioning into our big, long hunks of metal, I find the empty car. No one ever gets in it, not until I get off. Then I see all sorts of people flood into it again. I’d come to not question it, just my simple stroke of luck, I get on and off all the time.

I guess today was strange. Bag tipped over He’s got a cigarette in his mouth, an overcoat covered in soot, and the most prominent feature, the stench of bleach.

It stinks up the entire car, and I curl my scarf around my mouth because one whiff already makes it hard to breathe. But I don’t think he notices. He just takes his cigarettes, rids his mouth of smoke, and taps the bum of it on the ground. I thought I only saw that in movies.

Then he looks at me. Or he sees me looking at him.

And for a moment he turns around, turns back, and I speak: “Hello.”

The cigarette drops from his mouth.

“You can see me?”

A cold, dead feeling sticks to the back of my neck, just as the words linger from his throat, like the smell of death is permeating off of him. I’ve never been afraid.

“I can,” and the words feel all sorts of wrong as if I’m not supposed to be talking to this man, maybe because I’m not, but he smiles. “That means I’m finally leaving, right?”

“What do you mean?”

He doesn’t answer, he pushes hair out of his face and repeats himself. “It’s felt like years.”

“Sir, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He doesn’t hear me, doesn’t see me just smiles, smiles, smiles, smiles. My back presses to the seat of the train, and that’s when I see it; what I thought was a darkened subway wasn’t a subway at all. It was an inky blackness, nothing there but a void. A lump of bile presses to the back of my throat.

My breath sounds just as ragged as his as I ask, horrified, “Where am I?”

I look at him, and suddenly there’s another cigarette in his mouth where there wasn’t before. He takes it out of his mouth and examines the car around us, almost as if he were a carnival.

He looks around the car. “Are we going to Hammond? I’ve always loved going out to Hammond.”

“Where’s Hammond?”

He thinks, brushes it off, and closes his eyes.

“Where do you think we are?”

He shrugs. Then he turns the question on me.

“Where do you think we’re going?”

My answer comes up empty. He chuckles and turns out the window, taking the cigarette out and blowing the longest plume of smoke I’ve ever seen. It floats to the top of the train car. It forms a cloud, bigger than the car. The cloud turns darker and darker until it begins to rain.

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