The thumping pain in my head slowly starts to wake me from a sleepless slumber. I feel the steady rocking of a moving train. With my eyes still shut I curse myself thinking I must have passed out on the subway again. It is hard to keep track of time when your veins are coursing with morphine. That's my drug of choice, it has been that way for the last 5 years. Since I lost everything to gambling. I was once a successful engineer but slowly I started to fill my time with drugs, casinos, and other vices. I lost everything. It's hard to find work now with a criminal record. So pain killers are my home now. Pain killers numb the constant voices in my head that laugh with hysteria at my current state of life.
I sleepily shake myself up and rub awake my tired eyes. As they come into focus, I look around me. This is not my regular subway. Where are the piss soaked floors? The old faded seats? The poles covered in germs? I look around and there are other people, nodding off in sleep. I start inspecting my surroundings, crazily not freaking out yet.
The cabin smells new. Fresh paint covers the walls in a cream colored palette. The seats are leather. Leather? Never seen a subway with leather seats. They are lined with gold and have a pattern on them of a horned animal. The panic starts to rise as if the bile in my stomach wants out.
Where am I? How did I get here? I can't even remember the last thing I was doing. Another side effect of my habit.
I look around and the others are still sleeping around me. There is a rather large man. Not fat, but muscular. He is as big as a tree, slumped over one of the seats with his mouth slightly open. A stream of drool pooling on the floor under him. An older woman sleeps a few seats away from him. She has dark hair and even in her sleep, she looks tired like a ragged doll played with too much. Lastly, there is a young man in the last section of the train. He seems very young actually, has an afro and thick eyebrows. His clothes are dirty with paint. We seem like an odd bunch in general but what is this? I must be dreaming.
The panic starts to rise and I run to the front of the train. The door is locked. I start banging on the window and scream "Hello, is there anyone there?!" I continue to bang with my clammy hands but no response. Just then I feel my stomach contents rising and I rush around trying to find somewhere to politely throw up. With no trash can in sight, I run to the back and in a corner throw up nothing but bile. Can't remember the last time I ate. I clean myself up and hear someone shuffle to my right. It's the big tree man waking up. He looks confused and pissed. He wipes the drool off his bearded face with his long red sleeve.
"What, what, where am I?" he asks confused. Now that he stands I can see he really is like a tree. His shoulders thick with muscles and I'm pretty sure you could fit a car on his chest. His hands look like he is carrying two large hams. He shakes himself as if he must be dreaming and his eyes fall on me.
"Who are you?! Where am I?!" he asks, his deep voice echos through the cabin. I gulp. "Hi, I er, I am Sebastian. I don't know man. I'm on the same boat as you. Just woke up here and don't know why I am here. Or what is here." I say, with a little tremble. I am probably a third of the size of this man. He can break me if he wanted to. "What is your name?" I ask.
"Carlo." he replies rubbing his light brown hair with aggression. He looks around and sees the others. "What the hell is this?!" he says with a little fear in his voice now.
I walk towards him slowly and we both look around with confusion and fear. "I don't know man. I went to the front and banged on the window but nobody is there. I don't remember the last thing I did. Do you?" I ask him while he walks up to the window.
"Hello!!" He bangs with his ham hands. Seems like he is about to break the window when he yells in frustration. "What the hell is this!? Why can't I remember anything?" he sits back in his seat and places his head in his hands. He rubs his head as if he is thinking. "I do remember being at dinner at a place close to my apartment" he states "I just don't know when that was." he starts to check his pockets feverishly. "Check your pockets, do you have your phone?" he says to me while emptying out his pockets. I stick my hand in my pockets and nothing. "No man. I have nothing." I say. It's not abnormal. I can't remember the last time I had a phone. I lost mine and never replaced it. Nobody calls me anyway.
He only pulled out some receipts and gum. "Nothing." he whispers and shakes his head. The train continues to move steadily. He looks around and his eyes focus on a corner of the cabin. Now that I look at it, it looks like a tiny camera. We both look around and in each corner there is a small blinking red light. He hops up on a seat and puts his face directly into the corner. "We are being watched." he states flatly. He starts banging around the camera and yelling, "Hello!! What the hell is this? Who's there?!" his anger seeping out of him. He hops down and starts pacing back and forth.
"We will figure it out man. There must be a reason we are in here." I tell him in my calmest voice possible. He looks at me and slightly nods his head. I look around and notice that near one of the cameras in the corner, there is a cluster of holes. Speaker, I think to myself. "Look, it looks like a speaker." I tell Carlo. He follows my gaze and we both look around to see if there is a button for it. Just then we hear one of our other stranger friends stir. It's the older woman.
She sits up cautiously and her big dark eyes start the confusion that Carlo and I have been in. "Where am I," she asks tiredly, "who are you?". Carlo and I both introduce ourselves and share that we don't know where we are either. "What's your name?" I ask her. "My name is Ester." she replies. Ester seems to be roughly in her 60s, she's wearing a uniform that makes her look like a security guard. As I look at the logo on her shirt it reads 'Oceia, Department of Transportation'. "You work for the Department of Transportation? Are you a bus driver?" I ask her. "No, I'm a subway conductor." she says while looking around. "This is not one of our subways though. More like a cargo train turned rich." she states while looking around. "Anyone know how long we have been on here? I can't remember the last thing I did." she adds. "Welcome to the club. We don't know either. But what we do know is that we are being watched, and probably listened to as well." Carlo answers while pointing to the cameras.
Ester moves to the front of the cabin and tries the door. "This doesn't make sense." she whispers, "Why are we all here?" she takes her seat back and seems to be shaking. "Check your pockets, do you have your phone?" Carlo asks her. She taps around her pants and front of her shirt and shakes her head. "We have definitely been kidnapped for some sick unknown reason. HELLLLLOOOOOO!!!" Carlo yells towards one of the cameras. His voice fills the whole cabin and jolts awake the last passenger of this hellish place.
He sits up instantly, his painted clothes seem stiff like cardboard. He looks around and scratches his head. "Where am I?" he asks us. "We don't know, on a unknown train, in an unknown place, with no clue how an of us got here." I answer, "What's your name?" I say. He comes up to us shyly looking around, "I'm Devon. Who are you?" he responds. "I'm Sebastian, that's Carlo, and she is Ester." I reply. "Do you remember how you got here? I'm going to ask this but I know the answer already, do you have your phone by chance?" I ask. Devon starts to check is pockets and shakes his head. "The last thing I remember, I was in the park painting." he says while sitting down. He looks around and his gaze stops in one of the corners. "Is that.." he points, "Yes, cameras. We are being watched." Ester answers.
As we all continue to look around in confusion, despair, fear, and annoyance, there is a clicking sound coming from the speaker.
'Ahem, hem. Can you all hear me down there.' says a raspy voice coming from the speaker. The voice sounds like an older man who is fond of cigarettes. We all look around at each other and nod.
'Good. Well, I know that you are all wondering why you are here, no? First, let me introduce myself. My name is Mr. Boick and I will be your conductor for the next 24 hours. You are all here for one reason, to entertain my friends and I. You see, you are on this train for the next 24 hours. In those 24 hours you all have to figure out a way to stop the train and get out. You have all been placed here for three reasons; one, you are a mess up and have messed your life up to a total catastrophic stage, two, you each have a special skill that can help you on this journey, and three, nobody will miss you.' I start to get a bad feeling in my stomach. Carlo looks at me like he's going to puke.
"What do you mean nobody will miss us?!" Carlo shouts at the speaker.
"What happens if we don't figure out how to stop the train?" Devon asks while facing one of the cameras.
'That's the interesting part. This train is going to one destination and one destination only. In what was once Arizona, there is this huge pit. People used to travel to it and stare at the pit, boring really if you ask me. Any who, this train is going straight into that pit, unless you all figure out a way to stop it. There are items all around this cabin that will help you on your journey. The clock starts when I click off. Remember, we are watching so put on a nice show will you?' Click. Just then a clock comes out from one of the walls with 24:00 on it and it starts.
That's depressing, I thought. I look at everyone around me and they just stand there in disbelief. "Okay, according to the voice in the wall, we all have some special skill, messed up our life, and nobody that cares for us?" I say trying to make it sound like a very sick joke. Ester nods and says, "It's only me. I lost my son and husband during the last war. I don't know how I have messed up my life though, all I do is work." she says with a tear streaming down her face. Something clicks, "Maybe that's it, Ester. You have only worked and that's why you messed up your life?" I say. She looks at me and it registers with her, she give a slight nod. "You've been a subway conductor for how many years?" I say. "For 23 years." she responds. "That must be your skill. Maybe we can find a way for you to stop the train?" I say a little hopeful.
Devon looks at Carlo, "What about you?" he says. Carlo looks at us hesitantly with shame in his eyes. "I was a wrestler, going to make it big but you know, can't get to this size by normal means. I was banned for steroid use." he says. "That's not bad though, so you didn't make it as a wrestler, how is that messing your life up." Devon says. Carlo kept his gaze down and stayed quiet. "What do you do now?" I ask. "I don't want to say." Carlo looks down and shakes his head. "Hey, no judgement here." I say. He looks up and responds, "I kill people for money." he responds. I was not expecting that. Devon shrugged his shoulders. "We've all done something to land us in this place" he says. "Do you have family?" I ask him. He gets up and shakes his head, "They want nothing to do with me." he responds. "Your special skill is killing people, I guess?" Ester says from the corner. I start thinking and look at Carlo up and down. "No, I think it's his strength, he can probably punch our way out of here or something." I say. That gave Carlo a little corner smile.
"Devon, what about you?" Carlo asks. He runs his hand down his face. "I was going to school to be a railroad engineer. I was on a full football scholarship but was drafted in the last war. I was shot and my leg was never the same. Then I lost my mom. With her gone, I lost everything. Now, I just make paintings. Mostly paint trains and sell them for money. " he said sadly.
"You were going to school to be a railroad engineer!? Well that's your skill there. I'm guessing you know all the parts of different trains." said Carlo with excitement. Devon nodded and looked at me, "What about you?" he asks.
"I'm a class A mess up. Was a successful mechanical engineer, had a great job, family, but then I started to dabble in gambling and excessive drinking. That then turned to dabbling in prostitution and drugs. I lost it all, my house, my career, went to jail, and lost my family. Now I have a very steady addiction to morphine. I steal to keep it going." I say without hesitation.
"That's it then. I am a conductor, there is a muscle man, a railroad engineer/painter, and a mechanical engineer." says Ester pointing to each of us. "Now, let's spread out and see what we can find around the cabin." she says in a direct and firm voice.
The last two hours have been like finding a treasure trove.
About the Creator
Teacher, traveler, fur baby mom, reader, and writer. I enjoy writing historical fiction stories, fiction, poetry, true crime, and nonfiction.
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