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The Salida Express

by Jason Brown 5 months ago in Short Story · updated 4 months ago
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Mysterious Train or Train of Thought?

Brysen is a college student that is very well-liked among his peers. He is always that kind ear that his friends can always depend on to vent out their frustrations and emotional support. Brysen doesn’t mind this at first, but after dealing with stress of his own, he didn’t have that type of person to turn to. This will lead to Brysen continuously being stressed after every story told by one of his friends, which also slowly lead him to being depressed. Brysen would never turn his friends away at the risk of hurting their feelings, even at the expense of his own. One day, Brysen got back to his house in a fit of rage over failing one of his exams, and had no way to alleviate the stress that he was feeling. Brysen gets a call from one of his friends, Tony. Reluctantly, Brysen answers the phone.

“What’s up Tony?”

Tony then replies,

“Man, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me today. How about I get to my geometry class, and Shayla gonna tell me she ain’t tryna go to no movies during the weekday. And I said that I wanted to go during the weekday because it’s cheaper….”

“Tony…”

“I mean how you gonna tell me the day you wanna go, and you ain’t even paying for it…”

“Tony, I had a real bad da…..”

I mean, this chick must think she Meghan Markle with all off that royalty stuff.”

Every time Brysen tries to explain to Tony that he had a stressful day, Tony would just keep going on and on. As Tony kept going on with the story, Brysen would get angrier and angrier to the point that he just hung up the phone. Brysen would then turn his phone off because he was just over it. The stress of the day has exhausted Brysen to the point that he would fall asleep. As Brysen enters his deep sleep, he would suddenly wake up, but not in his room.

Brysen wakes up, and he is onboard a train.

Brysen frantically looks around trying to figure out how he is just randomly on a train.

“Where am I?” Brysen shouted. Out of the five other people that were also on the train, nobody paid him any mind.

Brysen then looked out the window of the mysterious train and noticed how fast it was going. Approximately 98.8 miles an hour.

“No train should be moving this fast!!! Where are we even going?!!”

Brysen notices a man walking through the sitting area.

“Excuse me, Sir. I have no idea what’s going on. I was just lying in my bed, and now all of a sudden, I am on this train. A dangerously fast train, might I add. How did I get here?”

The man, who appears to be the ticket inspector answers,

“As far as how you got here, I do not have that answer. You are aboard the ‘Salida Express’. Now, I just need to see your ticket.”

“What ticket, I don’t even know how I got on here.”

“OK Sir, without a ticket, you would just need to pay your fee.”

Brysen gets very frustrated with the guy.

“So I have to pay a fee for a train in which I have no idea how I got on?”

“I’m afraid so, Sir.”

Brysen frustratingly throws his hands up in the air.

“Fine!!! How much is it?”

“I’ll get back with you on that Sir.”

The ticket collector goes back to the front of the train.

Brysen sits down, still looking confused. He then notices a girl sitting two seats away from him.

Brysen turns to her and asks,

“Do you know the deal with this train? What brings you on here?”

The girl looks at him and replies,

“I guess I’m just too nice.”

Brysen grows even more confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, let’s just say that I’m always the person that puts others needs before my own. Every time I say so, it feels like the end of the world. I end up feeling bad, so I comfort them any way I could. Even discussing and doing things that I am not comfortable with. But hey, it’s whatever makes them happy, right?”

Brysen looks down to the ground. He raises his head up and asks,

“What about what makes you happy?”

“I was always told that you need to be selfless instead of being selfish.”

“That would depend on what your definition of selflessness is. Being selfless is more about strength than devotion. It doesn’t have to be all about sacrificing your happiness all of the time. You’re owed that as well.”

“Well, to make others happy, it doesn’t work that way.”

“That’s where boundaries come in.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine being a lake filled with water. But with water being water, it yearns to flow freely, but it can’t because it’s a lake, not a river. Just because the water wants to flow freely, the lake shore can’t just lower itself and flood the whole area, it needs that boundary. That boundary keeps everything in place. You need that boundaries to keep your sanity in place.”

The girl looks up at Brysen,

“I’ve never thought about it like that. But what if my friends get upset if I don’t bend backwards for them?”

“Then that’s when you need to ask yourself, is this really your friend? Are they willing to do for you what you do for them? Is this a relationship that you need to keep? You have to keep all of that in mind.”

“Thanks, I really needed that.”

“The pleasure is all mine. I’m Brysen.”

“I’m Norma.”

They both shakes hands.

“Well Norma, we need to figure out what the deal is with this train……”

When Brysen looks back at Norma’s direction, she’s gone. Brysen then begins to freak out, and asks the man in front of him,

“Where did she go?”

“Who?”

“The woman that was sitting 2 seats away from me. Norma.”

“I’m not sure who you’re talking about.”

“Dude, this train is very weird. She just disappeared? Where’s that ticket collector guy? Why is nobody concerned about what’s going on in this train?”

“Honestly, what the point of being concerned about anything? Everything always leads to a fight or argument of some sort.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The world we live in is so divided. I am a very peaceful person, but it’s like if you don’t stand for one thing, than you stand for something else, or you’re against it. I just can’t take it anymore. To be honest with you, this train is the most peace that I have had in a long time.”

Brysen then looks at the guy and says,

“If riding on a weird train that is nearly going 100 miles an hour peaceful to you, then it’s the peace that’s within you that is disturbed.”

“Peace within me?”

“Yes. You have to have a mind of your own. Don’t be easily swayed by those whose needs don’t match your own. People like to sit and debate about many things, even to the point that you question your own beliefs. My thing is, if something needs to be that heavily debated, than it’s more about swaying one’s opinion than actually expressing truth. Truth needs to be sought by you. By what you learn on your own accord, not anyone else’s.”

“I never thought about it like that.”

“It’s true. Knowledge is power. When folks try to challenge your knowledge and succeed, that’s how they take that power away from you. You have to take that power back Sir.”

“Please, just call me Philip, I hate the Sir thing. But I hear you. And you’re absolutely right. I need not to focus my energy with someone else’s.”

“That’s right. If you don’t mind me asking, how exactly did you get on the train…”

When Brysen looked back at Phillip’s direction, he was gone as well.

“What is going on around here?”

Brysen notices a girl sitting to herself in the back row.

“Ma’am, did you happen to see the two individuals that I was sitting next to?”

“I wouldn’t get used to talking to anybody on this train.”

“What do you mean?

“I’ve been on this train quite a few times.”

“Okay, maybe you can actually tell me what is going on. Why am I on this train, and where is it going? It’s moving way too fast.”

“I believe the final stop is a place called Kündigen. I’ve never made it there though. Somehow always end up in other potentially failed relationship.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m on this train because my boyfriend needs to man up. In fact, I run into this issue quite a bit.”

“Okay, I would like to talk more about this, but can you tell me more about the train?”

“This train is the best way to run away from all of our problems. Why do you think it’s called the Salida Express?”

Brysen thinks to himself,

“Salida. Runaway train. Of course. So I’m guessing everyone on this train is running away from something.”

“Precisely. What are you running away from?”

“Running away? I was literally laying down in my bed, fell asleep, and all of a sudden I’m on a runaway train. In fact, it happened after a friend of mine was practically ignoring me but expected me to listen to all of his problems.”

“Stress. Yup. That’ll do it.”

“Okay, how did you end up on here so many times?”

“Well, I’m not the emotional type. It’s like every time I meet a guy, he always comes to me with this emotional stuff, and it really stresses me out. I mean, man up already. I need someone to protect me and my well-being, but I don’t see how you can do that when you’re crying over everything.”

Brysen pauses for a bit.

“I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

“Rena.”

“So Rena. You want to date a robot?”

“Excuse me?”

“The issue with today’s society is that a man can’t show any type of emotion. He’s expected to bottle it all up, then everything will be okay. The truth is, any man that doesn’t show emotion is nothing but a shell of a man. You might as well be having a relationship with a vacuum.”

“I’m sorry, but you don’t know me to be talking to me like this…”

“You know what, you’re right, I don’t know you. However, just talking with you for these few minutes, I can already tell that you’re petty, rather self-centered, and shallow.”

Rena gets up and starts to walk away.

“I don’t need this!”

“Why are you walking away? You’re already on the runaway train.”

Rena stops. And Brysen continues to make his point,

“You seem to end up on this train when you want to get out of whatever relationship that you are in. Other than those not so nice qualities that I used to describe you; you actually seem like a pretty cool person. The only thing that you’re missing is understanding. When you are in a relationship, or even just a friendship, you need to understand what the other is going through. You don’t have to agree with it, but if you don’t take the time to understand them, you will never be happy. They take the time to understand you, correct?”

“Yes, they do.”

“Perhaps your boyfriend needs more of a companion, and less of a trophy girlfriend.”

Rena holds her head down for a second, and then looks up at Brysen,

“That seems like such a reach.”

“Try it. I can almost guarantee that you won’t end up on this train again.”

Rena pauses, then answers back at Brysen,

“What makes you think you know what’s best for me?”

“I don’t know anything, but what I’m telling you is how you can know what’s best for you. It starts with the mindset…”

At that very moment, the train takes a turbulent bump, causing Brysen to trip over a bit. After he got himself together, he noticed that Rena was gone. Brysen’s nerves start to act up as he realizes that every person that he has talked to has disappeared.

“Okay, I’m not talking to anybody else until I figure out what is going on with this train. Where is that ticket collector?”

As Brysen gets up to find the ticket collector, an over-weight woman accidentally bumps into Brysen.

“I am so sorry Sir. My big clumsy tail can’t even walk straight. I can be the worst sometimes.”

Brysen gives this look to the woman.

“First of all, you’re fine. Accidents happen. But why are talking so bad about yourself….”

Brysen then realizes that he needs to figure out what is going on with this train.

“I’m sorry Ma’am, I really have to go.”

“Ma’am? Just call me Vera, don’t nobody care enough about my big tail to call me Ma’am.”

As Brysen was leaving, Vera’s words struck a nerve with him.

“What is your problem? Why are you degrading yourself?”

“Because I ain’t worth nothing.”

“Who said that? You, or someone else?”

“Everybody talks to me like that.”

“First of all, I’m not going to talk to you like that. But at the same time, I’m not going to sit here and listen to you belittle yourself.”

“I’m used to it.”

“And maybe that’s the problem. You need to stand up for yourself and stop letting people talk to you all kind of ways. If there’s something that you don’t like about yourself, then you have the power to change it. Notice that I said you, not anybody else. Their opinion should never outweigh your self-worth. Take the initiative and be proud of the person that you are. On the inside and out, you are beautiful.”

Vera cracks a smile.

The ticket collector comes through.

“Sir, it looks like your fare is covered.”

Before Brysen responds to the ticket collector, he then noticed that Vera has disappeared.

“Sir, how is my fare covered, and why does everyone that I talk to keep disappearing?”

“I don’t recall anyone disappearing. All of the passengers that you no longer see have been off-boarded.”

“Dude, what are you talking about? This train has been going nonstop since I got here.”

“I don’t think you fully get the concept of the Salida Express Sir.”

“It’s a runaway train. I figured that part out.”

“Well, there’s a little more to it than that. You see, in order to…”

A bell sound comes from the front of the train.

“I’m sorry Sir, I have to speak with the conductor real quick.”

“Wait, what were you about to say?”

The ticket collector proceeds up train.

Brysen then sees a guy curled up in the corner on the floor, sobbing to himself. Brysen, wondering what is going on, talks to him.

“You okay there bud?”

“I’m fine,” exclaimed the guy.

“Okay.”

Brysen starts to walk away, then the guy starts to talk.

“I wish it were that easy to just walk away.”

Brysen then looks back.

“I mean, you said you were fine, so I’m going to take care of my business.”

“Do I look fine to you?”

“I don’t go by how you look. I go by what you say. If you say that you’re fine, then I have to take it at face value. Besides, I have a lot going on right now.”

“I’m sorry. It’s like nobody ever takes the time to see how I’m feeling.”

“Well. Saying that you’re fine when you’re clearly not doesn’t really help your argument much. What’s your name?”

“Fred.”

“Okay Fred. What’s stressing you out?”

“It’s my family. They’re stretching me very thin. Always hitting me up for money. Always have a sob story about it and expect me to resolve their issues. Constant whining about how they’re always broke, but on social media, they’re always showing off what got. Constantly spending money on unnecessary stuff. Also, they ask if they can borrow money, but never pay me back. Every time I try to say something, they make me feel selfish and ungrateful. I didn’t know what else to do but escape. I just can’t deal with it anymore.”

“Tell them that you won’t deal with it anymore.”

“Easier said than done. Besides, I don’t know how. Sometimes when I try to speak my mind, they just talk over me. I can never get a word in.”

“Yes, that can be a difficult situation, especially when you’re not sure how to do it. But you know that it has to be done. I just finished talking to someone about boundaries, and that would definitely apply with you. You need to limit what you give to people, because those who take have no limits.”

“So, what should I do?”

“I think you know what you should do. However, how you do it is completely up to you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but that is a small price to pay for your own happiness. And if your family truly loves you, they will understand. If they don’t, then they will be okay, as they figure out their way out of whatever financial difficulties that they claim to have.”

“It’s going to be tough.”

“Tough is not a synonym for impossible bro. Handle your business.”

The ticket collector comes back.

“I’m sorry about that, but since you didn’t have a ticket, I just need to stamp your hand real quick. Also, it’s best that I go ahead and explain to you the purpose of the train.”

Brysen looks over and sees that Fred is gone.

“Well, go ahead, because it looks like I’m the only one on the train. So hopefully I can catch a ride back home after this stop at Kündigen or whatever it’s called.”

“I’m afraid that’s not possible.”

“What do you mean?”

“That’s what I was trying to tell you. Kündigen is the final destination, but this train doesn’t stop.”

“Wait, then how do you get off?”

“The same way that everyone else has gotten off.”

Brysen looks around.

“Everyone has gotten off after talking to me.”

“Actually it wasn’t just talking to you. You helped them realize that they didn’t need the train after all, because you helped them through their dilemma.”

The Brysen gets to thinking.

“You know what, this is real funny. The reason that I’m on this train was because my own stress mixed with my friends’ stress was too much. I get on this train, and find myself helping everybody on it. But now I’m heading to a destination that I can’t come back from. But how am I going to get off? I can’t talk to myself.”

“Why not?”

“What do you mean?”

“You had the answers to your issues all along. Your friends come to you for comfort constantly. For your own well-being, you need to limit the types of conversations that you have. If they are uncomfortable, then speak up. That is what you told Norma.”

Brysen looks at the ticket collector, realizing he was right.

“Also, your friends may have opinions that you don’t agree with, but as long as you have an understanding of what is right and wrong and not easily swayed, then you should be able to brush that right off. That is exactly what you told Philip. Understanding your friends’ issues is the best way to talk to them about what’s bother them and what’s bothering you. That is exactly what you told Rena. Don’t let people talk to you any type of way. You made that very clear with Vera. And let’s not forget Sir. You try to get a word in with your friends and they do not listen. It’s time to take that power back Sir. That is what you told Fred.”

“I really said all of that?”

“Correct. You had to answers to your issues all along. Some folks need that emotional support that you provide. Others like you just need to relax, and take a step back, so they can see everything clearly.”

“Relax, and take a step back…..”

As soon as Brysen takes a step back, he hears a very loud banging noise. Startled, he looks around. All of a sudden, everything fades to black.

Brysen continues to hear the banging as he’s spiraling in thought.

Brysen wakes up and is back in his bed.

“That was a dream? It felt so real.”

But still, the banging continues. It seems that someone is banging on Brysen’s door. Brysen answers it, and it is his friend Tony, accompanied with his other friends that he usually consoles.

Tony answers first,

“Brysen what is going on man? We have been worried sick about you. The call disconnected, and I couldn’t call you back. None of us could reach you. We thought that something had happened. Is everything Okay?”

Brysen has never been asked this by any of his friends, and after the experience of the Salida Express, he then decided that it was time to have a talk with his friends.

“I’m doing okay guys. But let’s all go in the living room. We need to have a talk.”

As Brysen and his friends are all going into the living room, he notices that the stamp that the ticket collector is still on his hand.

Short Story

About the author

Jason Brown

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