Trains and Stories
He retracted his right foot from the yellow edge of the platform as he heard whistle from a straight-faced, middle-aged guard directly looking at him. Almost ten in the evening, the view from outside the station was bearable added with a dash of post-summer precipitation.
Rains, Ilad sighed.
He was looking at his foot knowing the train was at least three hundred meters away then he got distracted by his lit phone from the tiny holes of his denim pants. He pulled it out of his pocket and read.
Hannah’s running late.
On a Thursday night after a night shift, what reasons she has, he wondered as he replied “train”. The train, distinct in the dark with its two headlights cutting through the darkness, is approaching and accelerating after it slowed down for a while. He slid his phone back to his pocket. The overhead speaker fired an announcement he already got used to hearing. People got into the entry areas and Ilad leaned a little forward as he was in front. He lifted his left arm and checked time — 9:40 and the minute’s ending in five seconds as the train got into the station. Five more seconds and the door’s already in front of him.
Ilad suddenly got into the adrenaline as he found himself on air, with thin gushes of wind, looking below him and seeing the rails glow gold. Everything went haywire and normal traffic sounds turned to buzzing alarms and screams while he floated for a second there. His back was hurting from the push of the man behind him and he landed hard on his side, face grazed, screeching sound, his hands reaching out trying to hold onto something that could save him.
Only the metal bars from the rail were of reach and he held onto every bit of nook there was, trying to clutch back on the side as if it was possible to buy him at least three more seconds to spare his life.
Most people don’t get lucky and Ilad was one of them. The scene was terrible — people howling with a dash of rain, and a slosh of blood creeping on the golden rails.
“Five stations and the wait’s over. Supper at last!” the old man whispered to his wife as Hannah peered on the old couple beside her on the train. She glanced back in front of her immediately and did her own math — eight stations across three cities. The bus would have taken forever!
It was already ten in her watch. She’s suddenly reminded she’s that person who advances her time and still arrives late. Glancing left and right she chuckled silently, almost just inside her, with the thought of her mother appearing in thin air scolding how bad she is at time and how she’s never gotten better out of it.
She pulled her phone out and messaged her husband Ilad that she’s running late. “What should we have for supper?” the old man asked his wife. Hannah asked herself the same question as her phone’s screen flashed — a text message. “Heh!” She whispered, “we’re on the same line”. Hannah paused and zoned out a bit. She remembered she first talked to Ilad in the train after they came from a gathering four years ago.
A station past, she unlocked her phone and typed in another message to ask Ilad what to have for supper but before she was able to finish it, the train slowed down stealing her attention. Every sleepy soul in the train awoke to the glitch sound. The train conductor announced that the train is stopping in the next station and passengers are mandated to unload. There has been an accident on the rails.
Hannah breathed deeply and looked agitated — there has been an accident!
The inside of the train got buzzing and Hannah went on finishing her message with an added line. “There’s been an accident. Where are you now?”
After five seconds she sent another one. Where are you now?
Hannah secured her bag and patiently waited for a reply. She noticed the rain striking the glass of the window in front of her as her phone’s screen slept. She stood up when the doors opened and rummaged out of the crowd up to the exit area where people started clearing out. Dispersed, she pulled out her phone and sent one more message — “Where are you now?”
A security to stop me is all, the man in a zipped jacket and white shirt jutting from the bottom thought as he imagined the entrance to the train station.
The drizzle wasn’t giving him the annoyance with his cap also casting shadows to his face. His feet were shuffling as he come near the woman in front of him blocking his sight. There were few people on the escalator but he didn’t lose his sight of the one he’s after — a man — average height, wearing a blue shirt with blots of rainwater on its back.
Sid was keeping distance, twenty steps at least. The train station was buzzing with a noise that someone who just came in it would not be able to comprehend. There were fewer security personnel than usual, CCTV cameras, teenagers flocking on the both sides of the station, and Sid, focused on that one particular person.
The man in blue shirt was in the front of the platform looking down at it. Sid went there — third in line as he waited for what was about to happen. The man in front of him was busy watching a movie from his phone; leaning left and almost unaware of him.
Sid made fists in rhythm squeezing his right thumb almost wanting to imprint its own prints and shrivels to it.
“9:45", Sid said with his mouth closed and eyes on his right seeing the train approaching. The man in blue shirt seemed to have been checking the time out. As the train approached closer, Sid, who’s been sweating, drew a heavy breath and lifted back his elbows as he gained his strength giving a push forward enough to throw a man off the platform and into air. The sudden rush of the force he let out didn’t stun him and people started shouting and gathering on the area. Sid saw his friend Ilad raked by the train before it completely stopped. A chill down his spine as it brought him back to his childhood when he pushed Ilad to the pool while screaming he didn’t knew how to swim.
More than twenty years ago,
and people happened.
Sid drew himself back in the crowd as he removed his jacket. His phone was in the jacket so he pulled it out with a sinister look and read — two new messages.