The last thing I remembered was being strapped onto a gurney and the irony of the acrid whiff of alcohol before getting a needle stick to “take the edge off.” Twenty years of appeals had run dry. But instead of getting my brains fried, I’d been spirited away for a train ride. Now I just needed to find a way to escape.
I gravitated toward a sliver of grimy yellow light visible through a half-open door. I stumbled over a uniform-clad body with its face smashed to smithereens. I don’t think I did the deed, but given my blackout, I can’t be absolutely certain.
I did, in fact, kill a prison guard in just this manner, three years ago. That little dust-up added another life sentence to the other four I’d already acquired, in addition to the death penalty. So one more body wouldn’t much matter in my afterlife.
What mattered was this stiff had the keys to the handcuffs. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally worked the cuffs free.
The train raced along a black abyss, making any attempt to jump off too dangerous. I needed to get the conductor to slow the train down. I made my way toward the engine cab, trying to ignore the stink of rotting flesh permeating the air.
Lounging on the soiled cloth seats around me in various states of decay was a cadre of bodies I thought I’d buried in the recesses of my mind. They all grinned at me. Some I knew by name – the crazy neighbor, Mrs. Faraday, my ex-girlfriend, Suzie, my best friend Joel, ex-best friend after I caught him and Suzie doing the nasty.
Others I only remembered by circumstance – the Shell gas station attendant, the 7-11 clerk, the homeless guy with the new sneakers. And that chick with the smashed jaw? An underage hooker who’d been looking for a fix. I’d forgotten about her. Others relegated to my hazy sub-consciousness also appeared. I remained calm, positive I was hallucinating and probably still lying on the gurney back at Statesville.
As I opened the door to the engine cab, the conductor tooted an earsplitting whistle, causing me to wince in pain.
“Welcome aboard sonnyboy- we’re all here,” she cackled.
I wasn’t surprised that the conductor was another putrid corpse. But the voice, her voice. She’d been the first. Chills went down my spine. I felt afraid as I began to understand. I realized I’d wet myself. She noticed and laughed.
“Your ticket’s been punched, sonnyboy. You’ve reached your final destination.”
I’m not sure if the exploding pain in my head was from the train whistle, blown again and again by my mother, or from the roar of my own screaming.
Other great Blog Hop stories here:
Elizabeth McCleary – OverWhelmed
Viola Fury – The Day The Cat Got Out
Karen Lynn – Dragon Smoke and Wind
Katharina Gerlach – Lobster One
S.R. Olson – Malakai’s Gift
Wendy Smyer Yu – Into The Light
Emily Plesner – Time Stops When I’m With You
Barbara Lund – Separate Space
Shana Blueming – A Melting Heart
Juneta Key – Don’t Drink The Water
Angela Wooldridge – Midwinter