Ghost Train



Ghost Train


 

The stranger boards the night train from London to Glasgow, taking a seat in the back of the third carriage and huddles into the corner of the seat, his collar up around his neck, shutting out the world on this journey through the night. As the train pulls out of the station and gathers speed, he drifts in and out of sleep.

Stopping at station after station, the usual melee of bleary eyed people enters and alight from the night train.  The stranger looks out the train window and sees the darkness flashing by as if they are on some underground ride hurtling towards the centre of the earth.  

He grabs a coffee from the trolley as it rattles and bangs its way up the aisle of the train, crashing through door after door.  As he sips the black coffee, his mind turns to Scotland and the lady he had left behind weeks ago.

 She had red hair and a size ten, hour glass figure to die for. They had parted on bad terms and had said things that they both regretted. This was the time to put things right and to show her how much he loved her.  The train was due into Glasgow at 6.30am, he would surprise her and take her out for breakfast. He sips the coffee before his eyes finally shut and he drifts into a deep slumber.

Two hours later he wakes to a virtually empty carriage. It takes some time to get his bearings and realizes they are not quite half way there. The train slows on the approach to a dark station. No one gets on or off the train and it stays at platform for a little while before it is moving off, gradually building up speed until it is at full throttle.  

Suddenly, the adjoining door from the forward carriage bursts open and in come four people, two men and two women. They sit down, scattered around the carriage; one of the men sits opposite the stranger. He feels a strange aura from the man opposite, as though he is not real. All four of them sit silently and soon the train   pulls into the next station.

“Your Stop,” the man opposite says.

“No, I have a long way to go yet,” replies the stranger.

“Your stop” the man repeats.

Before the stranger can get his reply out, the four travelers are upon him, pulling him along the carriage. Unable to resist, he is hurled through the door on the platform of the dark and desolate station. He looks at the empty tracks -- the train gone, with no trace of its lights disappearing into the night.

The stranger looks around. Everywhere is closed and bolted. There is no way out of the station; no foot bridge to get over to the adjacent platform and a wall at either end of the platform. The only way out is over the tracks, something he doesn’t relish during the dark hours. He looks for a time table on the walls of the station but there is none. Picking up his bag, he makes himself comfortable on the bench along the external wall of the closed buffet.

The stranger wakes some hours later expecting to see daylight, and his chance to escape this cold hell hole but the night is still eerily thick. He looks at his watch, dawn should have been an hour ago but there is no sign of it. The stranger picks up his bag and proceeds to the edge of the platform, as near to the end wall as he can get. He looks up and down the track for a few moments to ensure there are no trains coming. He climbs down onto the track and starts the short walk to the other side of the wall -- towards freedom. He turns to look back at the station just as the train strikes, burying him under the wheels, never slowing or stopping.
 
Suddenly, he is standing on a platform with the four spirits that had thrown him to his doom. Their train arrives and they sit down in the carriage, the stranger taking a seat opposite a traveler. As they pull into the next station the stranger tells him, “Your stop.” he traveler is removed from the train by the wayward spirits, but the stranger knows he will be seeing him again soon.

 
Mark Symmonds

 

48-year-old Mark Symmonds from Northampton, England, started writing poetry and flash fiction on a regular basis in April 2017 and has already published over 100 pieces of work on his blog at https://marksymmonds.blog.

Mark writes freestyle rhyming poetry covering a variety of genre. His flash fiction is dark and haunting, often with an unexpected twist. Mark has started writing a novel, which, along with his poetry and flash fiction, he hopes to get published soon. Mark publishes his work all over social media with nearly three thousand followers on twitter alone.

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