Categories > Original > Horror0 Reviews
They’d drive back to their little white bungalow on the edge of town with the picket fence and the yellow Labrador in the backyard, where they’d all eat dinner and recapture the years Thomas ha...
But yeah. I am finally back after.. what exactly a year? The last thing I posted was just after my fourteenth birthday... and now I just turned 15. :D
The first paragraph in box quote is the prompt I chose.
The afternoon was hot, and so was the railway carriage. The next stop was Templeboom, nearly an hour ahead. The old lady opposite was fast asleep and I wondered whether she'd missed her stop. But I didn't dare wake her.
The train rumbled along on the rickety old tracks as it zigzagged through the valley. The skies were a clear blue, with only a few clouds to be seen from the small brick bridge that the train was currently crossing.
He was a young man, surely not older than twenty-five: smartly dressed with a neatly cuffed suit jacket and matching pants. His dark hair was slicked back and parted on one side, and his face was clean shaven and brushed with a bit of powder. Professional.
To anyone else he might look like he was on his way to work. A nice job in the big city, with a little office and a cream colored phone on the desk next to his notepad where he’d sit and take down numbers all day, his thick glasses pushed up against his forehead in a futile attempt to rid himself of the constant headache that came with the job
-but no. he was on his way home to his wife and kids. No more work for a while; he’d promised himself.
His stop was approaching in nearly two and a half hours, and as soon as he got there his family would be waiting, standing on the platform ready to run into his arms for the first time since March of two years ago.
Yes. Thomas J. Flynn was finally returning to what he’d worked so hard for.
The only other person in the carriage was the elderly lady who had been slumbering on the bench opposite him since he boarded the train ...which now that he thought about it, was curiously empty. As far as he could see down the aisle that went through the doorless hallway, it didn’t seem like there was another soul on the entire train.
As he sat for over an hour, he subconsciously took note of every detail of the lady in front of him. The woman was obviously very old. She looked as if she could be over eighty; the wrinkles in her skin were deep and stretched across every visible patch of flesh like a net. She wore a simple brown skirt and pink blouse with a flowered print, covered by a light knit poncho. Her hair was a starched white color, tied back in a tight bun on the back of her head with bobby pins, and covered by a large hat made of coarse yellow material and a large garnish of dry plant stalks. Beside her on the bench sat a bright red worn carpetbag.
The woman’s head was propped up against the window on her left side, her hands resting in her lap. Thomas wondered how anyone could sleep in the uncomfortable position she had taken up, but he didn’t want to wake her.
So he sat.
Thomas’s stop was five minutes away. He stood from the bench and reached up above the seat to get his small suitcase, that was more like a briefcase, from the rack, and then sat back down, placing it on the ground next to him. He was ready to disembark when the train stopped.
Finally he was getting anxious. He was about to meet his family for the first time in two years. He wondered how his wife’s haircut really looked in comparison to all the worn photographs they’d sent back and forth. He wondered if the kids would remember him. If the twins were much taller since he last saw them when they were three. He knew that the moment he got off the train they’d all go back to the old green station wagon with the rusting tires and the broken trunk that was tied with a cord around the back. They’d drive back to their little white bungalow on the edge of town with the picket fence and Cheese, the yellow Labrador in the backyard, where they’d all eat dinner and recapture the last years he’d missed out on.
Thomas sighed and looked out the window. He could see the little town coming up from the horizon. He picked up his sharp little case and went to the door as the depot grew closer. Just another minute and he’d be with them again. He didn’t dare look out the window. The train began to slow. He put his hand on the door handle, ready to open it. Just another second…
and the train sped up.
Thomas’s head jerked up and he let out a noise, something between a cry and a hiccup. His fingers slipped off the door. They’d skipped his stop. They had skipped his stop. It took him a minute, but he snapped out of it and started to the front of the cabin, and then toward the front of the train. Carriage after carriage flew by as he half ran, looking for any other person on the train to announce the fault to. He kept going down countless aisles until he was gasping for breath. The cars didn’t seem to end. There was no one.
He turned around, frantic, and prepared himself for the long trek of surrender back to the cabin where his briefcase was, but found that he was only one coach away. He could see the plants on the sleeping lady’s hat over the top of the seat from where he stood.
Thomas’s heart beat in his chest so loud it seemed it was looking for attention. He entered the carriage and picked up his luggage from where it had wedged itself under the bar next to the door. His head spun. He could just wait another hour or so for the next stop. Call someone from there.
Thomas returned to his seat, and too soon, he began to calm down.
He noticed the old lady again. She hadn’t moved an inch in the last two hours that he had shared the cabin with her. Maybe she was dead?
He looked closer. He couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not.
Thomas’s eyes scanned the woman for any sign of… anything, and put his hand against her neck to feel for a pulse. He gasped and recoiled. Where he had touched her, a thin black line began drawing itself around the middle of the old lady’s neck, and soon, was branching off down under the collar, and up to create sections on her face, circling the eyes and lips until it outlined a 3-dimensional puzzle of facial structure.
Thomas stepped away until the backs of his legs hit the bench behind him and he fell against it, paling.
As the ends of each black line met, the old lady’s skin began to peel back in thick curls, like apple scraps, coiling into spiraling rings at the base of her neck, one side a pale yellow, and the other dark red. They continued to do so until all the skin from the neck up was hanging like a fountain around her raw flesh, fluttering in the breeze.
All of a sudden Thomas was wrenched sideways, broken from the trance of staring at the gruesome sight, and as if wings had sprouted from either side of the train, the carriages ahead of his lifted up slightly, reeling from side to side for a moment, and then began to drift up into the air over the mountains lining the valley, the other carriages, including theirs, following soon after.
Thomas gripped the seat with white knuckles. Black lines. Fingernails dropped to the ground. The skin fell to the floor. Thomas recoiled. The train soared faster. Thomas lurched forward. A kidney fell to the wood where it pooled in itself, and he realized she’s melting as she touched the floor. Stomach spilled out and splattered at his feet, followed by a lung.
Thomas hauled himself off the seat and ran from the scene, getting to door, and then realizing that the train was now verging on almost one hundred feet in the air. He moved back from the door in shock, stumbling back and falling to the ground. His suitcase was on ground next to him, skidding one way, then the other, and then sliding out the open arched door into the blue.
The young man scrambled toward the door, his hand outstretched toward his beloved case, and he screamed. The flesh of his hand drooped, the musculature of his arm showing through the translucent layer that his skin was becoming. He could feel it spreading up his arm and neck.
Just before he felt his eyeballs start to roll back in the thick liquid that was slowly filling up his head, he looked out the sagging window of the melting train. His house flew by, the door open in a welcoming gaping smile. His son was next, on the tricycle that he’d gotten for his third birthday that Thomas had only seen in pictures. His daughter in the swing from the front yard, and his wife sitting in a kitchen chair with the new food dicer that she’d wanted to show him so badly.
They were all waving at him…
The train flew into the clouds.
It must be almost time to get off the train now. It’s been hours. I feel like I’ve been sleeping for days. Well, the train hasn’t stopped yet. I’ll just wait a little while longer…