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The Final Destination

May Contain Sensitive Topics: Drinking, Drugs, Foul Language and Gore

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 16 min read
2
The Final Destination
Photo by Brian Suman on Unsplash

T-tung, t-tung, t-tung, t-tung, t-tung.

My body is rhythmically bouncing, in its seated position. Waking up from what felt like my last slumber, my head pressed against the window. I open my eyes and begin to take in my surroundings. Lifting my head, a shooting pain runs up my neck and to my forehead.

Ouch.

Wincing in pain, I reach my hand up to touch it. My arm is covered in black bruises and large cuts.

My attention is pulled from my pounding head to my battered and painful forearms. My wounds looked deep but weren’t bleeding.

What happened? Why are my arms like this? Why does my head hurt? Where am I?

Ignoring the pain, I look around. I appear to be in a train compartment. Seated alone, heading to… heading to…

Hmmmm, I can’t remember where I’m going. Odd.

I start checking my pockets to see if I can find a ticket, letting me know where my destination may be. My jeans are torn and covered in blood, my shirt something similar.

I find myself wondering how this came to be and why I can’t seem to remember where I am going. Or how I got on the train.

Weird.

I look out the window, hoping something might jar my memory. Any bit of scenery could be helpful.

But the train is travelling so fast, that everything we pass is a blur. No signs are readable, no landmarks to be seen. A flash of colour as we pass on by.

I attempt to focus on oncoming images, maybe I can track something and just get a hint. The rhythmic hum and sway of the train began to pick up pace.

Tung, tung, tung, tung, tung.

This can’t be safe.

I panic a little and stand up immediately. Trying to will the scenery or train to slow down. Nothing happens.

I start appraising the compartment I am in.

There has to be an emergency break somewhere.

With nothing to be seen, I open the door and poke my head out. The corridor is empty.

Running to the back of the train car, I find the emergency break. Ignoring the pain in my head and arms, I use all my strength to heave it down.

Nothing happens.

I push it back up and pull down hard, again.

Nothing.

I try again and again, but nothing happens.

Damn thing is broken.

I open the train car door and all I see is the track the train is leaving behind. A fog shrouds it as it leaves view, fading into nothingness. No scenery visible, no sounds to be heard but the train.

Tung, tung, tung, tung, tung.

Not even wind, rushes in to pull me outside the train. Just nothingness.

If this is the last car in the train, then surely there will be others ahead.

I close the door and head for the other end of the car. As I pass each compartment, I peek inside. Not one contains another soul or even a hint that someone else was on this car with me.

Strange.

Exiting my car and jumping into the next. I am jarred by the change in atmosphere.

I feel less panicked here, the light feels brighter. More warm and welcoming.

I start to realize my head doesn’t hurt anymore and looking down at my other injuries, the cuts are starting to fade. My brain even imagines one, completely healing over before my eyes.

Weird.

I shake the distraction from my head.

Refocusing, I remembered that I need to stop this run away train. Finding another emergency break, I give it a heave.

But nothing happens, again.

What is going on? Why don’t the emergency brakes work? There has to be someone I can talk to.

I start towards the first compartment, sliding the door open with a bang. That even startles me a little.

Standing in the doorway, huffing to myself growing fatigued. I am met by the sight of a young woman, not unlike myself. Perhaps a bit older, though.

She is sitting still, almost looking frozen at first glance. Gazing out the window with a soft smile upon her lips. She is dressed in a torn and bloody flannel top, with matching jeans. Her injuries look minor.

“Excuse me,” I begin in a small voice. Taking a seat, kitty corner from her. “Do you know where this train is headed?” I ask, folding my hands over my lap.

“Isn’t the scenery beautiful?” she queried, not turning away from the window.

I look out the window and still see nothing. Still a blur.

Crazy woman.

“I don’t see anything.” I admit, my tone a little more brackish than intended. Wishing she’d look at me so I didn’t feel like I was talking to a ghost.

“You aren’t focused on the right thing, silly.” she says playfully, her smile widening as she does so. Then slowly turned her gaze unto me.

What the-

My jaw dropped and mouth dried up.

The now revealed half of her face was completely torn off. Muscle removed from skull, bloody and chunky. Sinew raggedly dangling, her eye ball red and blood shot but still intact.

If I didn’t know any better I’d say she was attacked by a bear. But that didn't seem likely.

How would she have gotten on this train like that?

I did my best to stay composed. Neutralizing my expression. I closed my mouth and looked to her untouched side of her face as I attempted to find words.

“You’re right. I am sorry for disturbing you.” I reply, in as steady of a voice as I can muster.

“Apology accepted, dear.” she smiled to me fondly, then turned back to the window. Hiding her gut wrenching secret, again.

Slowly, I raise to my feet and exit. Gently closing the compartment door behind myself.

I then lean against the window of another compartment, sliding down it, idly.

What was that? How is she still alive?

Giving myself a shake, I needed to stay focused. There had to be someone else on the train. Some one not so… mauled and hard to look at.

Opening the next compartment, I am met by the sight of an older man.

He at least turned to greet me with a smile. His face looked kind and un-mangled.

Perfect.

“May I sit with you?” I ask in a soft voice, taking a step into the compartment.

“Of course.” he agrees, smiling warmly. Turning to watch the blur of colour outside the train.

Oh good, another window watcher.

“Can you see anything out there?” I inquire, still cautious from my last encounter. Settling in kitty corner from him, too.

“Not really.” he admitted with a sigh, but his eyes didn’t leave the window.

“Could you tell me where this train is headed?” I request. Watching him peacefully swaying to the motion of the locomotive. Looking onward, in the direction the train was headed.

“I don’t rightly know.” he admitted, his voice empty of emotion. Furrowing his brow in thought as he did so.

“This train is going a little fast to be headed nowhere.” I commented casually, allowing my gaze to fall to the blur outside the window.

“I agree. Rather unsafe, really.” he replied. Seeming hypnotized by the blur of colour outside the train.

“I can’t get any of the emergency brakes to work.” I stated. Feeling the hypnosis of the exterior scenery begin to work as I begun to sway with movements of the train, too.

“Yeah, they are all broken.” he stated, a little too flippant for my liking. Turning to give me a sinuous smile, with his eyes still devoid of emotion.

Creepy.

“Thank you for your time.” I say with a nod of appreciation, standing up and excusing myself. Then exiting the compartment, feeling even more confused.

Before I can move on to the next, a chime rings out over the train speaker system.

Doesn’t that sound usually mean the train is approaching a stop? Why isn’t the train slowing down?

But before any other thoughts could occur to me, a sudden rush of people flooded the corridor. More than should have been in the compartments. Three or four people burst out of the older man’s compartment and six people out of the mauled woman’s compartment.

There weren’t that any other people in either of those. Where did all these people come from? What is going on?

Being pressed against the corridor window, people shuffling back and forth as they passed me. Everyone muttering excuse me’s and pardon me’s as they shoved their way through. All seeming to file and exit through the back door that I had previous entered. Where were they all going? The train hadn’t stopped. Not even slowed a little. They couldn’t possibly be trying to exit the train at this speed. Could they?

Soon the chaos died down and only a short line of people was left. At the beginning of the line was the conductor, punching tickets and letting people through.

Finally someone, who knows something.

I step in line and wait my turn. Making it to the front in minutes.

“Ticket please.” he demands, holding out his hand expectantly.

“I- uh don’t have one.” I admit, feeling sheepish. Pretending to search my pockets, knowing he also knows its for show.

“Then you cannot exit the locomotive at this time.” he informs me with a satisfactory nod. Closing the door behind him and starting off down the corridor to the next train car.

“But don’t trains usually kick people off if they don’t have a ticket?” I asked, abruptly.

“Not this train.” he stated, emotionless. Not paying any attention to me as he marched on.

“But I’d like to get off.” I argue, following behind him.

“It’s not your time yet.” he replied, still marching down the seemingly endless corridor.

“I tried to use the emergency brakes, they all seem broken.” I sputter, trying to keep up with his ridiculous pace.

Then abruptly bumping into him, as he had stopped without warning. Catching myself, I take a step back.

Turning around, he gave me a pleasant smile. “There’s no stopping this train from reaching its destination.” he states in a sinister tone.

“And where is that destination?” I inquire, trying to grab a hold of his coat.

Ignoring and dodging me, he then spinning around and opening the train car door. Exiting and closing the door behind himself before I can follow.

“Wait.” I beg, grabbing the handle and pulling. But it doesn’t budge. I bang on it and pull a few more times, “I have questions.” I pleaded in desperation. Pulling on the handle again, putting more effort into each pull until it flings itself open.

Causing me to fall to the floor unexpectedly.

Getting up, I ran into the next car.

Pausing at the entrance. I am taken back by another sudden change of scenery.

Lounge music is playing in the background, loud enough to drown out the sound of the train. There is a bar in the middle of the room, surrounded by stools. A barkeep is mindlessly cleaning the top, un-phased by my presence.

The rest of the car empty.

I need to catch up to that conductor.

“Where did the conductor go?” I demand, through a raspy and breathless voice.

The barkeep hardly looks up, as he gives me an innocent shrug.

Useless. He probably went to the next car.

I half march, half run to the next exit. Desperately needing to catch up to him. Flinging it open and hopping onto the next car.

Appearing at the entrance of the lounge car again.

I was just here.

Huffing to myself in annoyance, I march to the exit again. And again, I find myself entering the lounge car. I do this three more times, getting more frustrated with each time.

What?

“Why don’t you take a seat?” the barkeep offers. Standing behind the bar, hand braced on top. Watching me expectantly, awaiting my acceptance.

“I’m trying to catch the conductor.” I inform him, exasperated as I spew the words in a brackish tone.

Again, he shrugged and started cleaning the bar top.

Why wasn’t this door working?

I pivoted in place, examining every possible exit to the car. There were no other doors.

Except the one I just came through. Turning on a dime, I sprinted for the entrance. Slamming my body against the door as I burst into the next car. Emerging through the exit of the lounge car. Met with the same sight I had only a moment ago.

Are you kidding me?

Huffing in frustration, disappointment and annoyance. I waddled over to the closest bar stool. Plunking myself in a seat and throwing an elbow on the bar top haphazardly. I nestled my chin in my hand and pouted, with displeasure.

The barkeep sauntered over, “What’ll ya have?” he inquired, smiling rather fondly.

“An old fashioned, extra orange peels.” I replied, feeling emotionally drained.

Maybe this was why the old man stayed in his compartment. Can’t get any answers and can’t get anywhere on this stupid train.

The barkeep clinks the glass down in front of me.

I sulkily pull an orange peel out and begin to nibble on the sweet rind. “Where is this crazy train headed anyways?” I asked, not bothering to look up from my peel.

“The final destination.” he replies, smiling to himself as he starts cleaning the bar top again.

How many times does he need to clean that thing, when no one else is in here?

“Yes but what is the destination?” I ask in annoyance, shooting a dirty look at him over my now raised glass. Taking my first sip and hoping it will grant the relief I’m looking for.

“That entirely depends on you.” he replied, sauntering over and resting a hand on the bar. “It’s different for each person.” he clarified, busying himself with cleaning glasses from under the bar top now.

“Well, how do I know when it’s my stop?” I challenge, feeling brackish at his flippant attitude.

“You’ll know.” he replied, not paying attention to my bad attitude.

Annoyed, I finish the rest of my old fashioned. “Another, please.” I request, slamming it down on the bar top.

“Right away.” he agrees, already starting to making it. “Let me ask you something, how is it you came to be on the St. Catarina Express?” he quizzed, finishing the drink and sliding it over to me.

Catching it, “I don’t know.” I replied, fumbling to think of anything that happened prior to the train. I down my drink and slide the empty cup back to him.

I sound like that old man I talked to earlier.

“Do you at least remember your name?” he pressed on, prepping the next drink.

“No.” I admit, the simmering anger I felt started to burn off.

“It sounds like you’ve got some thinking to do.” he informed me, putting the finishing touches on my drink and sliding it over. “I’ll be right back.” he states, walking away from the bar.

I pondered that comment a moment. Looking down at my now fading scars and bruises. The last bit of them disappearing before my eyes.

Why was I healing so fast? What was going on? How did I come to be on this train? The St. Catarina Express? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that train. Then again, I didn’t even know my own name. How would I know if I’d heard of this train before? Speaking of which, who am I?

All these questions and obscure thoughts flooded my brain. Making it hard to think and even hard to see. I finish off my old fashioned and close my eyes, trying to refocus.

Suddenly opening my eyes to a different reality.

I’m now sitting in the back of a car with music blaring. So loud I can't think, the smell of beer floods my nostrils.

In the front passenger seat is my best friend Sara, singing to the music and dancing. Her boyfriend is driving the car; one hand on the wheel and the other holding a beer.

The car is moving so fast, it could be traveling faster than the train I was on. Every turn he takes, I slide from side to side in the back. Almost hitting my head on the window, each time.

Putting my own beer down, “Guy’s, we need to slow down.” I say in a shaky voice.

“Oh Polly, you’re such a wet blanket.” Sara hollers back to me, with an impish smile. Then leaning forward to turn the music up, even louder.

Without warning, a semi truck is suddenly in front of us. We all scream and I feel my body lurch forward into open air. Hitting something hard with my head and then all goes black.

I open my eyes and I’m sitting at the bar again. Bewildered and confused.

What happened? Where did my friends go?

I reach a hand up to my head, as I rub it in thought. Feeling a wet sensation meet my finger tips. Pulling away, my hand is covered in blood.

But before I can process what’s happening, the blood fades away and my hand is dry again.

“Last call.” the barkeep states, handing me another drink and taking my empty glass.

Simultaneously, snapping me back to what ever reality this is.

I accept the drink silently, still reeling in confusion.

“Did you get your thinking done?” he asked, cleaning the bar top again.

“I think so.” I reply, having a small sip of my drink.

“And?” he prompted. Not paying much attention to me, still.

“And I’m still not sure how I got here.” I admit.

He immediately stopped what he was doing and gave me a knowing look.

“Did I die?” I ask, feeling dumb as the words tumbled out of my mouth. Thoughtlessly.

Not dignifying it with an answer, he simply raised his brows in challenge.

“But- how? What happened to Sara? And her boyfriend?” I quiz, looking around as though they might pop up somewhere. Then looking back to the barkeep for an answer.

He just shrugs and starts cleaning the bar top again.

Maybe they survived.

I take another sip of my drink, accidentally finishing it and place it down on the bar top.

Then that familiar chime rings out, over the train speakers.

“This is your stop.” he informs me, taking my glass and putting it away.

Inexplicably, a ticket appears in my hand. Reading:

The St. Catarina Express - The Final Destination

“I’m not ready.” I mutter in a barely audible voice, as I stand up. Tears starting to stream down my face as I feel a lump form in my throat and my breath hitching in my chest.

“It’s your time Polly. Everything will be okay.” the voice of the conductor, says soothingly.

I look to see him standing where the barkeep used to be. Also discovering that the bar is gone and we are in the same dark train car I started in.

“Let’s go, dear.” He coaxed me in a soft voice, holding an expectant hand out.

I hand him my ticket and feel the blood begin to drain from my body.

“That a girl.” he praises me in an almost familiar, calming voice.

Dad?

I instinctively give the conductor an up down.

He looks nothing like my dad.

I must be losing it.

I give myself a shake, as I accept the ticket back from the conductor.

My mind must be playing tricks on me. How could I be hearing my dad’s voice?

Ignoring the new brand of crazy, I inherited. I watch the conductor open the car door.

“It’s okay angel, I’ve got you.” my fathers gentle voice calls to me.

A blinding white light pours out of the door way, encompassing me in its warm embrace. Unable to see anything, I allow myself to be lead by the call of my father.

“I’m coming daddy.” I whisper back, taking a step into the unknown.

Beep… Beep… Beep… Beeeeeeeeep.

The vital sign monitor flat lines and I am no more.

The end

Short Story
2

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

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Comments (3)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran6 months ago

    Heyyyy. Since we've now agreed to let each other know that we've missed commenting or replying, here I am to remind you to reply to me below 😋😋😋

  • Say NO to DUI. Poor Polly. Sara and her boyfriend are responsible for her death. I wonder if they actually survived. I really liked the lady with half her face all bloody hahahaha. This story was so freaking suspenseful! The ending made me emotional. Awesome story!

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    That unstoppable train for us all. I wonder if anyone made it off alive. Loved the ending. Into the light.

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