“The train car slowly makes it way along the tracks, the walls of the tunnel passing by the broken windows one brick at a time. The air that seeps in is foul, like sewage. I look down at the seat, white interior breaking through the green vinyl. I want to sleep. I want desperately to sleep. But I can't. Because everyone else went to sleep and now they are gone. Just scattered, crumpled newspapers and magazines along the ground, small splotches of blood where bodies should be.
Bodies...Why did I get rid of the bodies? I don't remember getting rid of them. Were they just sleeping?
The train horn cuts through the tunnel. It is stifled, like it is running on dying batteries. The air is thick, and I can't help to notice that through the doors I can see into the other car. And another. And another. The cars have no end. I am tired. I consider going into the other cars but I will stay put. The ticket taker will come along soon. I just pray the light doesn't burn out. I can't imagine how much worse it would be in the dark.
My eyes drift around the car to the baggage wrack above the central walkway. Old, worn cases sit in a scattered arrangement, dust filtering down from them every time the train hits a turn. I let my focus dull as I watch the dust filter through the light and to the ground. I think I hear murmuring coming from another car, but that couldn't be the case. No one is here but me. I stand up to stretch my legs, and I notice that one of the handbags is leaking.
I go over and reach around the edge of net, dragging the handbag through the space between. It catches temporarily, but a few jiggles and it falls loose. I set it down and open it up, using a piece of newspaper to look inside. The inside is sticky, and I decide to remove some items. A wallet. A compact mirror. I go to draw out a long brush when something inside the handbag stirs. I fall back, as nothing more occurs. Then out from inside of the handbag comes the sound of something speaking.
“Hello?” it says in a puzzled way. “I want to come out now...I'm better now...I'm much better now...”
Something red issues out of the top and lands wet on the floor. Its arms extend, tiny black claws clicking on the floor as the red, pill shaped thing rises onto all fours. It stands there motionless, then after several moments it turns around and heads out into the dark underneath the seats. Then nothing.
The train continues to sway, bricks passing passing passing. I look back to the space where the thing disappeared. But there is no change. I think I hear someone behind me ask for my ticket, and after I search my person for a moment I find what I am looking for. I go to present the ticket, only to find no body to assign to the voice. I am still alone. I stand up and move closer to one of the broken windows. The air rushes against my face. I breathe in deeply. Something is murmuring under my seat.”
I went to the train station the other day. Decided to head out with Margaret to see my parents. I figured we both needed to get out properly. Margaret was tired, and it took us longer than expected to get to the station. It was around seven at night. There was a homeless man sleeping on a bench. Seemed to be nothing but filthy rags and hair. There was another man. Looked weird.
He had on a long brown overcoat, gloves, and a dirty fedora. He had his collar up, and after staring for a moment I could see why. His face was messed up. Probably some sort of war wound. His skin was lumpy, and seemed to lack a chin. He had flowers...a clump of baby's breath. The smell was fierce. Never saw anyone with a whole bouquet of it before. Always considered it filler. In his other hand was a cigar. I hate the smell of them. Gives me a headache.
Never once in the ten minutes we were there did I see him take a drag from it. In fact he hardly moved at all. Only time I saw it even came close to his face was when I turned to see how Margaret was feeling. I looked back, and the tip was glowing hot. He was blowing on it.
The train arrived, and I was glad to leave the platform. We were getting our things set inside when I picked up the smell of the cigar and the flowers wafting over. The man was sitting five seats down, his forearm resting on his knees. I moved Margaret and I a little further down, hoping that it would help. It did a little, and we settled in for the ride. Margaret pulled out her Kindle and I pulled out a book I had been working through. We agree to disagree on things like that.
About twenty minutes into the trip I heard one of the passengers begin to raise their voice. He was a fat and spitting. Yelling at the coated man. It was only then that I recognized the man in the coat. It was my new neighbor, the one who moved into the house behind mine. The other starting asking if he was stupid, that he needed to put out the cigar. My neighbor didn't move at all, just sat there. The man became incensed. Began to look around for assistance. But no one wanted to get involved.
His face was red at this point, and he was screaming now, calling my neighbor a fucking dick for refusing to put out the cigar. He grabbed my neighbors shoulder, and I instantly stood up to grab the conductor. The train hit a hard turn and the lights flickered. Next thing I knew the man was screaming again, only for a different reason. His hand seemed to be barely holding onto the wrist. My neighbor was a few seats down, holding onto one of the handrails. Finally a ticket taker came in and rushed over to the man.
I rushed over as well, and I used my scarf as a makeshift tourniquet. Figured the main concern was making sure the man wasn't going to bleed out. At the next stop the train stopped and the man was brought out. The train stayed in place as the police and paramedics arrived. I waited till the man was in an ambulance before returning with Margaret to the train car. When we pulled away the police were talking to my neighbor. His cigar was still smoking.
We arrived late. It is very windy today, and I had to hold my coat close to my chest as we arrived. I am writing this as we are getting ready for bed. It has started raining.
It is very hard to get blood out of clothing. I use my usual methods.