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The Last Stop

Final ride on a mysterious train.

By ElsaPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 6 min read
The Last Stop
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Unknowingly to him while his body drifts into a cloudless sleep.

Deeper and deeper.


Choo, chug, chug


Chug, chug, chooo

The steady moving of the quiet night train gently swaying his body side to side, side to side. The linger of rubbing alcohol seeping through him. The bright lights of his hospital room dimming.

The pain pushing against his temples subsiding. His body hasn’t been too kind to poor Johnny. “Brain tumor” he remembers the words coming from his doctor’s mouth with no hope all those months ago.

The sweet relief of painless liquid travels through his body. The pain subsiding, he smiles. His veins inviting the sweet nectar to do its job. The throbbing in his head, gone. His aching limbs numbed and refreshed.

Choo, chug, chug


Chug, chug, choo

His body feels unknown to him. He slightly opens his eyes and is shocked but relieved with his surroundings.

“Hmmm. What a nice train.” he says aloud.

With his interests peaked and pain gone, he explores.

Golden bright poles line the aisle as if leading to a new world.

A pale blue decorates the walls. His heart full as he takes in his favorite color.

Velvet seats adorned with silver thread fill the sides.

A large door outlined in a glowing light frames the front of the train. A large silver knob with delicate flowers decorated the middle of the door.

Colorful ads fill the walls.

Johnny looks around and he’s alone. Just him. Peaceful, no rushing of nurses or grim faces of apologetic doctors. No scans or mentioning of miracles. He laughs at all that has happened in the last 6 months, since his bleak diagnosis. He knew it was a lost cause but he put on a brave face for his mother and wife. “I’ll be okay!” He remembers trying to joke it off. His mother’s eyes wide with sorrow. Two large orbs floating in an empty darkness grasping to hope. His wife teary eyed but brave. Her pale hands trembling at his side grasping for more time.

Chug, chug, choo


Choo, chug, chug

He looks around and notices the ads on the walls are not actually ads but rather pictures of him. His life. Memories. He laughs as he gets close enough to smell the ink printed on them. Photos of all sizes, each one a significant memory of his life. He caresses the closest one gentley. It’s warm to the touch as if it had just been printed. The paper feels alien to him, so delicate but yet so heavy with the weight of a lifetime on them.

His eyes focuses on a bright photo to his left. He sees himself as a young child. Toothless face sprinkled with freckles. His dog Champ, right at his side. Both of them full of joy inside a huge inflatable pool. “The day we got the pool!” Johnny recalls. It was a good day filled with laughter and impatience. His dad took forever to inflate the pool in the hot Alabama summer. He recalls playing with Champ all afternoon, soaking the rays deep into his skin. Laughing while racing with his dog in the cool refreshing water.

Not too far from that picture, is one with Johnny on a stage for the 5th grade Spelling Bee. 10 year old Johnny looks back at him with a frown holding a second place ribbon. Johnny almost won but lost with the word “persuade”. He remembers being so nervous that he was sweating through his sweater. “I still can’t spell persuade.” Johnny laughs.

Chug, chug, choo


Chug, chug, chooo

The next photo that catches his eye is prom. Prom, when he finally had the nerve to ask out Beth, who then became his wife. The 2000s were a scary time. His platinum dyed blond hair in spikes with a chain wallet exposing itself from his slacks. “Classy.” Johnny thought. Beth looked beautiful with her blue eye shadow and red lipstick. They danced the whole night and then after went to the beach and made a bonfire with some friends. “Seems like just yesterday.” Johnny thought to himself.

His gaze then falls to a photo of him next to a bright Christmas tree, with a happy yet tired looking Champ on his lap. “That was my last Christmas with him.” Johnny recalls. Losing Champ left a hole so big in Johnny’s heart, he never again had another dog. Champ was there for him through it all, when he was older and sick, they decided to take his pain away and let him go. Johnny could relate to that at his current state.

He then sees a picture of him and his dad in their camping gear. “That was when we camped in Yellowstone our last camping trip.” Johnny thought with a pull at his heart. He thought of all the laughs they shared, the frustrations, and the love. A few months after that camping trip, his dad went to sleep one night and never woke up. Johnny wipes a tear from his eye as all the memories hit him with emotion.

All around him, his life decorates the walls of this eerie yet peaceful train. The lights are so bright but at the same time calming and inviting. A sense of peace is felt throughout this solitary cabin.

He continues to soak in his memories but then faintly, he hears Beth’s voice and then his mom’s. Slight tingling is felt through his hands and up his arms. Their voices are hushed but worried. Crying. Praying. Hoping.


The tugging at his hands and arms continue. He feels fingers pressing against his skin. They call out to him in agony.


He hears them still but as low as a hum. The tingling subsides like waves lightly hitting the shore.

Chug, chug, choo


Chug, chug, choo

He hears another voice, this time louder. A voice coming from the other side of the door with the glowing light.

“Dad?” says Johnny.

He hears a slight bark. The barking turns to a familiar and exciting bark coming from the other side of the door with the glowing light.

“Champ?!” yells Johnny.

Chug, chug, choo


Choo, chug, chug

He no longer hears his mother. He no longer hears his wife. Their tearful begs and tugs weren’t strong enough to wake him.

“Johnny?” he hears his dad call.

“Ruff!” he hears Champ’s proud bark.

Gently he wraps his fingers on the large silver knob, cold to the touch.

He opens the door.

Chug, chug, choo


Chug, chug, choo.


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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