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Atelophobia

by A LITTLE CROW 2 months ago in fiction
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Horror, Thriller, Drama and Suspense

"Bathing under the warm sunlight feels like a spa, but all I can think is whether or not I deserve this kindness?", I said to myself. The warmth touches my skin and it helps me to wake up. Slowly I open my eyes, my vision starts to adjust and I look where I am. Sitting on a soft cushion seat as I gaze outside of the window, seeing the world passing by me. I stared deeply through the window and it calmed my heart. I wish I could stay like this and wonder onward.

Then a thought hit me after I turned my gaze to the left. Is this a train? Am I inside a Train? Time felt slow to me as I looked further than time resumed. I started breathing a little fast, and I scanned my surroundings. It appears I'm inside a huge train, this room is coated with cherry red chair seats and mahogany floors. I stand up and take deep breaths.

"Where am I?", I said.

"How did I get here? I remember I was heading to my new college but…I don't remember getting on this train…or did I?"

I dust myself, checking on my emerald-green dress. Hoping it wasn't damaged, my mother bought it for me! After a minute has passed, I finished checking to see if I am fine.

"Wait a minute? I remember I was going to go on a train but I don't remember going for this one. Where is my phone? I don't even have a ticket!”

I checked my pockets and all I have is just my wallet. Inside are two Lincoln bills, some credit cards that I haven't paid off yet, and a picture of my family. It’s a wrinkled old photo from my 21st birthday. My father gave off a stone-like face while my mother showed a little smile, with myself looking happy. I stared at the photo deeply, remembering the last time I was so happy.

A swirling of emotions start building up in my soul, because after I graduated from High School….I feel like, what was supposed to become a better life felt like I was not ascending upward to the great blue sky but falling down into a tainted pool called "Duty". I belonged to a reputable family, my father was a Judge while my mother was a doctor. They were expecting me to become a lawyer, so I can rise to the top. With this profound knowledge, I should be happy. However, as I took nothing but law classes, I couldn't handle it! I went off the path of a lawyer to become a musician. I love music, and soon I became a pianist. In fact, that's why I am here now. I'm traveling to my new university to teach Piano lessons to students! I remember I was going into a white train, but this train looks unfamiliar!

"I don't remember how I got here. Surely there is a way out of here? Or is there anyone else here?", I asked myself.

After walking a bit I feel something under my foot. I look down and see what looks like dozens of feathers everywhere. Strange how I never noticed it when I was getting up, I took a breath in then out.

"Why are their feathers here?", I asked myself.

I started walking slowly, heading to the other end, ahead of me I saw something through the windows….people! Finally!! I wasn't alone!!! Maybe they can explain what is happening and how come we are in this train? I placed my hands on the door to open but it feels like it's stuck but not locked. I struggled for some time to get it open, the people turned to look at me. I wave at them, try calling out to them, they seem concerning. Strange, they look so scared and one of them runs up to me. I can’t hear him, no sound at all, he struggles to open it and as soon as he opens the door, I notice a blood feather fall on the ground.

“Bloody Hell, What are you doing out here? Get inside!”, the tall man said.

He grabs my arm and pulls me inside before closing the door. I got to see why it was locked, there were many broken wood planks and ties around the lock. There are many more trying to hold together the door from opening. It almost looks like it's being held together with everything but the kitchen sink, the only thing missing is duct tape.

"What's going on? Why are you locking up the door…mister?" I questioned him.

"My name is Billy Washington, Madame. And I would love it if you can move from here please!", Billy said with a firm voice.

Billy was trying to put everything back in place and I turned around to see the others. One has high cheekbones, and dark brown eyes matching his hair that slick back. Wearing a brown vest over a white shirt and pants, his expression is worrisome like mine. Another is a Tall black woman wearing her hair in a braid all tied up. I find her cerulean-color top and skirt combo, so cute! Her face looks like someone sculpted it like a greek sculpture, something I would see in a museum. She looks so lovely, I wish I could be her friend. The instance I thought of that, she actually comes up and hugged me.

"OH! Gracious!” I stuttered.

“Look at you, poor child. You barely escaped from the danger!”

I was confused by what she said to me, I gently pushed her away and looked with confusion.

“I’m sorry, danger? I just woke up a while ago. I have no clue why I am here and was hoping one of you would tell me what's happening? Wait, are we the only people in this runaway train?”, I asked with concern.

Billy comes up from behind with his cane, he has a hexagon face with a trimmed haircut. Wearing a black suit with some green trimmings, he even sports some nice brown shoes. I bet they're Italian-made!

“ Heh, you don’t know either? Guess that means she in the same boat as us! Well allow me to explain to you what is going on! But first, what's your name?”, Billy questioned me.

“ My name is Hannah….Hannah Diao. The last thing I remember was heading to my train that was going take me to my university but….this isn’t the train I was aboard.”, I answered Billy.

“Right then let me say, the one who hugged you is Jackie Jackson. And the one who is quiet is --!” Billy was interrupted.

“I am Kiyou Parker, I can say my name, just call me Parker.”, Parker said.

The way they're acting, I can tell that they have only known each other for maybe a few hours. I checked the windows and noticed we are passing by some empty prairie-land.

“So none of us know why we are here?”, I asked everyone.

Parker look over to Jackie before she looked at Billy and then back again. Jackie gets up and paces herself slowly while she talks in a soft tone.

“Listen-up sugar, each of us remember what we did then we blacked out near the train station, same as you. But there were other people in here before us. We are the last ones.”

“Wait there was more? Wait I remember you guys are saying something about….”, I paused what I said, I'm horrified and held my hand up to my mouth.

“What is THAT!?”, I said with fear.

Everyone turned around to see, then we see it in front of us. Hiding behind the window of the back-door where I came from. Looking at it, it looks like a giant vulture-rooster but the beak has a hook at the end. It was covered in brown feathers, light and dark kinds. I did see some little green feathers, going along with the scales on its breast and the eyes looked like the sun.

This creature with its sun-like eyes was staring right at us, I stood still and Billy walked backward very slowly and tapped Parker’s shoulder, telling him to open the other door. Parker gets up slowly and starts working on the door. The door was stuck and he tried jiggling the knob, but all that did was get the giant bird’s attention. It starts tapping the window softly, almost like it is trying to figure out something, Jackie grabs my shoulder to pull me away, I can hear Parker and Billy talking about the door lock, but my mind was still focused on the creature’s eyes, it was like they want to see what I am hiding in my soul. I can hear both of them trying to pull it open softly but suddenly, Jackie trips, and I fall with her. Billy turns to see us and the creature now notices us. It lets out a horrifying roar, then it attacks the widow, its beak breaks the window wide open and attempts to get inside, struggling to get its body through but it is too big. Billy pulls us both to where Parker is at.

“Open that damn can before we get cooked alive by the 50-foot killer turkey!”, Billy shouted.

It tears down part of the door and manages to get one of its wings inside, still staring right at me. Jackie kicks the door and somehow the door is now open! I turn to see what they did, I try to hurry through the door.

“Let's go everyone, It’s coming!”, I scream to them.

Everyone gets in and closes the door, the creature finally gets inside after getting its other wing out. It ran to the other side, and broke through the other window. It charged with great speed that the glass piece went flying and some managed to hit us even though we were on the other side.

“Damnit, I’ll stall it and you hurry it up, Parker! You’re the best at this! I trust you!”, Billy said with courage.

Billy charges at the creature and he pulls his cane apart, something shiny comes out. I didn’t realize but it was a cane sword. He stabs at the wing with great precision and that lets the creature roar. Billy then dashes away from it, this action done upon the creature’s wing made it really angry. Now it pushes through the door through sheer willpower. It finally came inside with us, now I saw it close up, and I notice it had a large reptilian tail at the back. It looks so huge that it looks something like a giant snake mixed with a crocodile. I had never seen such a thing before, it was massive and as soon Billy looked into its eyes, he suddenly stopped moving. Billy tries to struggle but he can’t move a muscle.

“Something ain’t right… Shit!”, Billy struggles.

“I can’t move…Wait a minute! I figured it out! This…it’s a cockatrice! A Fuckin’ Cockatrice!”

A Cockatrice? Where have I heard of that name before? It sounds so familiar but I can't remember it. I search around myself and grab the closest thing, a shard of glass, and toss it at it. It stopped staring at Billy and suddenly he was able to move again. So he starts running away and Parker just finally got the door open.

“I got it unlocked, mates! Hurry up! “, Parker shouted.

Jackie & I were able to get up and run inside while grabbing Parker’s arm. Billy was trying to get through the door and suddenly the cockatrice’s beak was able to grab his arm. Billy lets loose a loud scream and tries to pull himself. Jackie runs back to Billy and grabs his hand with his sword. Billy is struggling while the beak digs deeper in his arm and now shoulder.

“Jackie…dearest. It’s too late for me.”

“Don’t you dare say that! It’s not too late, Billy!”

“Only thing I regret … showing everyone at York that I was a perfect businessman.”

The cockatrice pulls him out and he drops his cane sword while Jackie falls to her knees. The only thing I could hear was Billy cursing while fighting but it was in vain, because a single bite made him into a lifeless corpse. Jackie pulls the door and shuts it. She shivers for a moment, staring at Billy’s body before the Cockatrice starts tearing it apart.

Parker walks up to Jackie and grabs her hand, then pulls her away. He pats her back then holds on to Billy’s cane sword for her. While I just stood there…doing nothing. I witnessed a man I knew in ten minutes get killed in front of my eyes. I never saw a man die in front of me and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

Jackie is crying softly while Parker holding both me and her together in a hug. It is just us three now, soon Parker goes back to check on the window.

“Wait Sugar, don’t get too close”, Jackie said.

“Don’t worry I am just going peak.”

Parker gets close to the door and slowly raises his head to see where it was, then waves his hand at us.

“I don’t believe it…”

We both answer to him, “What is it”?

“It looks like the cockatrice is making a nest.”

We both slowly walk up to Parker and we all peek to see, my eyes widen from the experience. It was taking apart the doors and even the seats. Mashing them up like potatoes, before dragging Billy's body nearby. The door at the other side is now wide and it goes into the other room. We try to see what it is getting, it feels like minutes went by before it finally came back. I can see it is carrying something in its beak, something like mashed-up wood in the form of a large bed for a small dog. However, after taking an inspection for a longer time period….I figured it out. In fact, before I said what I think I know it was, Parker spoke first.

“Those are eggs…. it’s a mother.”

Jackie runs to the end then rubbing her hands together in fear. I walk back and hold her hands to keep her calm.

“Everything will be fine. We just need to get to the conductor’s room or something”.

Jackie shook her head and tries to look away from my sight.

“Nah Sugar, this is the end for us. I can’t see ourselves escaping from here. It all started from me when I woke up. It's been like an hour and it feels like we are not getting closer!”, Jackie said with fear.

Parker comes behind me and gently puts his hand on Jackie’s shoulder.

“We are getting there, I know it is getting rough but Billy would tell us to keep pushing. We gotta hurry now before it comes in here.”, Parker said with confidence.

I look at Parker, seeing him holding it together, I truly admired his courage. I wish I was brave like him. I need to get out and head to my university. I feel like if I went back home and tell my parents my story, they would feel shameful of me. All I can think is “If I get out, what are my parents going say”, will they believe me? Will they aid me in recovering? I want to show my parents that I am a good daughter and I am their Perfect little sweetheart…but I feel like I can’t be…perfect. I am afraid that I will be discovered. I feel horrible that I will let down my parent’s expectations….why am I even alive?

“Hey…Umm Hannah?”, Parker asked me.

“Oh Umm yeah?”

“Question, Do you like horror stories?”, Parker questioned Hannah.

What a strange question to ask me. I was a little confused and had to gather my composure. I patted my dress and answered his question.

“What? Well, I do but I like something built in reality. I like stories that can happen in real life, I sometimes don’t like fantasy since they don’t exist. But ever since what happened, I don’t know what is real and what’s fiction. I can’t see it the same way again! Does this mean the existence of dragons are real? Does that mean fox spirits and leprechauns exist!?”

“I asked to help you keep your mind together. Hmmm… so what you’re saying is…you don’t really like it, because you know it’s not real. You only like to watch what you know is real or hope is?”

What does he mean? Does he think I only want to watch that is real because I don’t want my hopes up? What is he implying?

“ I don’t know what you’re saying but its not like -!”

“You’re not Perfect.”, Parker said to me.

All I could do is pause and looking like I am dead. My expression must’ve been frozen for maybe seconds to him but for me, it was hours.

“You’re not Perfect Hannah…and that's fine. We all strive for perfection but it can’t be done. All we are doing is poisoning our minds.”

Parker pulls something out of his pocket, it’s a picture. He presents it to me and shows me his family.

” This is me and my mother with my grandmother. They wanted me to be happy and I wanted them to be happy. So I am working to get a doctorate in Biology so I can earn a lot of money. We are poor, and living in Lawton, Oklahoma has taught me how to break locks. People hired me to test their locks and see if they were strong or not. But soon…I felt ashamed. I wanted to become a better person. Someone who can lead my people, I try to be perfect and it didn’t work”

“Surely you’re overthinking it. Because we have to be perfect for our parents. Or else we would shame them…do you even understand that?”

“I understand it well. But what's the point of being their perfect son if I died? Maybe your parents will be upset and maybe they won’t talk to you. But you know what? There are people out there who will love you for your imperfections….like…us.”

Somehow, Parker’s words touch me, that same feeling I felt with my parents in the past long ago. Instead of worrying if I fail…It's that I can succeed and they will still love me. I help pick up Jackie while Parker starts to open the door.

“ You’re right…I am happy to meet you all. I only wish I met you all sooner ….somewhere else.”

Jackie wipes her eyes, then Parker opens the door and we enter inside. Parker then locks the door and soon we turn to see it is the final door. This is the Conductor's room, if we can get in, we can escape this hell.

“There it is, if we can just get inside we can stop the train”, Parker said to us.

“That’s good news. Umm Sugar, you can let me go. I am feeling better now. I’m sorry you had to drag me around”, Jackie said to me.

I’m happy to see she better, but I know it’s only temporary. We need to stop this train, but if we don’t then this is our end.

“Parker, do you think you can open it?”

“I should but worst comes to worst, we may have to break it. But honestly, I am feeling very sore now.”

Jackie starting look outside of the window while Parker checks the lock of the door.

“I don’t know where we are, but it looks like we are somewhere in Nevada…maybe. I see a lot of deserts”

“Really Jackie? I don’t know if that’s a good sign or not. Parker while you’re doing that, I will check the end door as a scout”, I said to everyone.

While I turned around. I don’t know why but I didn’t hear it or….maybe that was the point. The cockatrice was entering the room and it saw us. She starts to charge and hits the window.

“Heads Up!”, I shouted.

Glass pieces fly and one hits Jackie’s face, she bleeds a little while Parker continues to break the lock while I fall down. It hurts my butt and I am tired of falling down. I am not going to let my life end so soon!

“I won’t let you eat my friends!”, I said with a loud voice.

I think this is the first time I yelled out so loudly. I grab a wood beam from one of the seats, trying to pull it out while the Cockatrice tries to get through the door with great fury. It hurts, my hands feel great pain, maybe it's the wood pieces or the first time I had to use so much strength before, but it doesn’t matter…I don’t care anymore! I pull it out and use the sharp edges to stab her in the eye.

“I remember it now! A Cockatrice can petrify you if it stares you in the eyes. So if I blinded you then you can’t freeze us! You can’t scare us! You’re not so perfect! You’re just an imperfect predator that needs fear to rule us!!”

The creature makes a weeping noise, good! That means she is in pain and maybe that will scare her. I keep pushing the wood beam into her skull, hoping I could kill her, however, her fighting spirit was not down. She swings her head and pushes me down, I try getting up but she turns her head to use her other eye to stare at me. I'm frozen, I can’t move a muscle. If this is how I am going to die, I only regret that I didn’t get to do more things. I didn’t get to go out on a date or even try surf n’ turf dinner! As soon as she lifts her head and prepares to bite me, something blocks my vision and it's the color blue. Jackie… blocking me from the creature’s attack, she kicks but her leg is grabbed.

“ Run Sugar! I got this!”

“Jackie! Why!?”

Jackie holding the Cockatrice and trying not to get pulled in.

“Oh….I really saw how brave you were. I feel so proud of you. You children are doing the work for us adults. You two need to live! Even if I could survive…I was trying some new machine that could help me get pregnant. I can’t have children and my dream to be a mother is gone now.”

“You still have so much to live. I didn’t get to tell you that I love your skirt and top. The colors look good. Jackie!”

“I’ll catch you on the other-side. Thank you for the compliment, Hannah. Parker, keep it up. Guess I sorta did become a perfect mother…heh”

Then in a flash, Jackie is gone and she pulls out the wood from its eye. She stabbing, over and over again. I can’t stand to see it. I get up and turn around while Parker is still trying to unlock it. Parker is sweating a lot and I am hoping it works. Then we heard a loud crash. We both turned around and see it, she is coming through the door and Jackie’s body lies on the ground.

“Oh man, you really made her angry!

Okay, that's it!”

Parker kicks it, one, two, and three! The door is finally open and we are in the Conductor's room. Covered in a brilliant white with yellow lines in the room with red buttons. We went inside and I pushed the door closed. Parker is looking around the room to find something.

“Listen, Hannah, grab what you can and use it to hold the door. Hold it as long as you can.”

“Alright, Parker!”

I grab the broom and put it under the doorknob. I have a piece of the wood in front of the wood beam and put it underneath the door. I hold the door the best I can.

“Damnit where is the manual? There has to be one somewhere!”

Parker looks around frantically then he looks underneath the seat, he finds something.

“I think I found it. This is it! Okay, I am going to slow it down then we are going to jump out!”

"Wait what?”

Suddenly I feel a freight train hitting my back. It's that damn cockatrice, trying to get in! I can hear its woeful roars outside. Parker pushed some of the buttons and controllers too. Suddenly the train is slowing down! It’s slowing down!

“You did it, Parker! You Finally did it!”, I pleaded with joy.

Parker then goes to the side door and kicks it open, he sees the ground.

“Excellent! Looks like it is going at maybe 20 MHP. We can jump out safely. Hannah, you jumped out and I will accelerate the speed.”

“Wait you are?”

“We need to make sure this crashes so this creature doesn’t escape! And it looks like …yes! Yes! I can see the city. We are approaching it!”

“Well okay, Parker. This is -!”

Suddenly I'm sent flying to Parker’s body, he quickly grabs me. We both look and see it’s the Cockatrice looking at us with its only one good eye, reflecting the same color as the sun! Parker, still holding on to Billy’s sword cane, draws it out.

“Just don’t look and go at its blindsight.”, Parker explained to me.

I nod in agreement, the room is smaller so it shouldn't move around well, suddenly it strikes us but we both step to the side to avoid it. Parker tries slashing it and making some cuts on her neck, but it doesn’t do much. She swings her neck and sends Parker to the wall, he falls down and doesn’t move. I reacted and grabbed the broom on the ground and started poking at its eye. However, she managed to glaze my leg, leaving horrible marks.

It pecks at me and it keeps getting closer to me. It’s trying to get me with another eye but I look at the ground, I refuse to look at it! I can tell it is about to bite me then suddenly as I decide to look up, the cockatrice’s head is about to bite, Parker jumps up and skewers its neck with the sword. Screaming in pain then Parker starts punching in the injured eye, he is letting out horrible war cries. I look around to see what else I can do, I see something under the seat. I head over to get it, it’s a box and I open it. I see some medical stuff, bubble gum, and a mirror. I was hoping for a knife or something….something…wait a minute! I searched for anything sticky and found some sticky tape. I grab the mirror and put some tape on it, while Parker is bombarding her head!

“I’m gonna take your other eye, I’m really starting to hate that damn pui!”, Parker yelled in anger.

Soon the cockatrice pinned Parker against the wall and bit his arm.

“That’s all you got?!”, Parker said with determination.

I was able to come close to it and wrapped the tape around its head. I put the mirror in front of her good eye. Suddenly the cockatrice was frozen. Parker struggled out and noticed it's not biting. We both managed to open its mouth, Parker managed to get the sword out.

“How did you figure it out? What did you do?”, Parker questioned me.

“Well…I remember what Billy said. Its gaze can petrify you. So I thought.. What if it can make itself frozen from its own reflection? And it worked like a charm!”

Parker looked happy and smiled at me, then I smiled back.

Soon we went to the side-door to see outside, I saw the ground and braced myself. I jumped and landed safely. I see Parker pushing the button to speed it then he jumps out. He falls to the ground…face first. I see he is in a lot of pain and I run to him. We both see the train passing by us. We look at each-other then around to see we are a hundred feet to the city. It looks like San Francisco? I am too tired to tell. Suddenly an explosion can be heard from a mile away.

Some of the train pieces are flying everywhere and one piece falls near us.

“It's over! So Hannah…since we are free. How about we go to the city and find firemen to help us?”

“No police?”

“ Don't trust cops”

“Fair enough”

I walk up to the debris and see some strange writing. It looks Chinese, I don’t know how to read it. It looks like three bugs over blood. Hmmm, Goo? Where did I hear that? Oh well!

“Say, Hannah?”

“Yes?”

“So…thank you for saving me and if you wouldn't mind. When we get some help, want to go on a date?...if you feel like it…”

I pause for a moment and I remember what I promised myself. I gave a little smile and walked up to him.

“If you can treat me to a surf n turf, then yes”, I said to him.

We both smile and walk together to the city, Parker is holding on to Billy’s sword cane and I am looking at the city with a great smile. I feel so free, in fact, I feel like I am glowing. Is it the sun or is it in my mind? After what happened, anything can happen. We both take our time walking to the city and now I know I can accept myself, I don’t need to be perfect and rid of my imperfections, it was my imperfections that make me feel…perfect.

fiction

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A LITTLE CROW

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