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A Train Ride

by Shiny Lyni

Shiny Lyni You get on a train, and meet a girl.
It’s 4:18 in the morning, and you’re at the train station. Normal people would be at home sleeping now, and I’m not sure why you’re out at the train station this chilly spring morning, with pollen and dust flying all around trying to suffocate you. But that’s none of my concern, because I’m just a narrator, and you’re just another person in this story like me. So anyways, you’re waiting for your train, perhaps to go home, or maybe you’re going to work. Again, it doesn’t matter to me.

Your train finally arrives, and when it pulls to a stop, the doors open. The other nonexistent people also step in, and you find yourself in an empty compartment. Or rather, it would have been empty were it not for this short little girl sitting in the corner that you had failed to see. She looks at you curiously before she goes back to writing in what looks like a journal. For some reason you decide to stay in this compartment; I guess you’re too tired to care if there’s anyone else. It’s not a big deal, anyways.

The first minute or so of the ride is rather quiet, save for the sound of the train rushing to the next station. A voice disturbs you from your thoughts, or lack thereof, and you look up to see that the girl has moved to the seat across from you. You can’t quite tell how old she is; while at first glance she definitely looks like she’s not even in her teens yet, a second look tells you that, no, she has to be older than that. There’s this strange maturity in her eyes, and besides, what normal kid would be sitting in a train all by herself in the middle of the night, with no parents accompanying her? Well, these thoughts probably would have gone through your head, but it really isn’t important what you’re thinking of.

The two of you eventually strike up a conversation, somehow. It’s almost eerie how well she can follow your conversation despite her apparent age as you guys talk about school, work, hobbies, family, and the like. She says how she hopes she can be a teacher when she’s older, though perhaps a job doing deskwork isn’t too bad. Cubicles are kind of nice, she mentions in an offhanded way. You find out that she does have parents, and also an older brother who doesn’t live with them. Oh, yes, and her grandparents. Well, just one now. Actually, this conversation is very one-sided, as it’s mostly her spilling on and on about her life while you kind of sit there. You’re barely able to interject your thoughts or opinions, if you have any, for her mouth just keeps moving.

“You know how people sometimes regret things when someone dies? Like how they wish they could’ve spent more time with so-and-so, or didn’t say whatever to them?” she continues. You nod a bit, perhaps acknowledging her words, or maybe you’re just tired and about to fall asleep. She doesn’t seem to care, for she says, “I’ve never been able to regret anything I do. It’s weird, huh? Even when my grandpa died, I was only sad because everyone else was. Why should I be sad that he’s gone? He’s in a better place, I mean. I’m more worried about grandma, she keeps talking about the stuff she regrets saying or not saying to him, or the stuff she did or didn’t do with him. My mom and uncles, too, but mostly my grandma. I miss him, of course, but I’m not sad he’s gone. I’m sad that my grandma’s upset that he’s gone. It’s kind of weird.”

It looks like she wants to speak more, but your stop has arrived. The doors open to your right, and you excuse yourself before getting off. You take a quick glance back, and you see the girl smiling at you while mouthing something. Perhaps it was thank you, or was it see you? It’s too late now, though, as she’s gone. What a strange girl.

You check the time, and it’s now 5:02. The sun still isn’t up yet, but the streetlights and moonlight at least provide some sort of guidance to your destination. For some reason, you turn around, and you see the shadow of a man standing tall with a cane that he obviously doesn’t need. Almost as if nothing has happened, you turn back and head in some arbitrary direction. Where are you going? That is none of my concern. But you’re now gone, and the shadow has faded, and the story? Oh, it’s not over yet.

The girl closes her notebook, putting the pen into her pocket when her stop arrives. It will be the last one, and by then almost everyone will be gone. She’ll get off the train and see her dad waiting for her in his car. And then, she’ll get in, and they’ll drive off somewhere, and the shadow of a man watches from outside the station. Is he smiling? Don’t be silly, it’s a shadow, shadows don’t smile.

But I think he did, and he’s gone again.

And that is the end of the story.
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  1. Sy Kage
    Sy Kage
    Wow. This 'shadow of a man' confuses me. Pesky shadow, don't ruin this.
    Apr 11, 2014
  2. Shiny Lyni
    Shiny Lyni
    @Psycho Monkey when did I ever say I was mature and where did I say she was 12
    Mar 12, 2014
  3. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    That 12-year-old yet mature girl was you I'm sure.
    Mar 12, 2014