I wiggled my toes, the platform cold beneath my feet. The concrete was smooth. 

“Hello?” I called, my voice sounding hallow. A slight, somehow stunted, echo reverberated back to me. 

Beyond the platform a vast desert shimmered in the moonlight. Mounds of sand rolled for miles and miles. A breeze picked up swirling particles into the air that danced in a hypnotic rhythm. 

I turned slowly, trying to remember where I was. A shiver ran up my spine when the gray lines of the tracks came into view. My fear rose as the train, long and sleek, caught my eye. Its chrome surface glistened, not a speck of dust or debris upon it. No doors or windows were visible; no escape possible. 

Not again. “Mom!” I screamed. 

Fight it! You have to fight it! But just as they had so many times before my feet brought me forward. No matter how much I struggled, I was not in control. I approached the curved nose, my reflection staring back at me with wide eyes. 

“Mom!” I cried. “Help me!”

A piece of the siding hissed then pressed out, sliding to the side. My feet carried me into the bright light within. The ssssht of the door closing was followed by a deep thunk as the lock engaged. There was no getting out now. 

“Welcome. It is nice to see you again,” the disembodied voice of the train said. 

I flinched. “Please let me out. I don’t want to be here.” 

“But it is always such a pleasure to have you.” There was a mechanical chuckle, then it said, “I would sit down if I were you.”

The large cushioned chair sat in the center of the space, a light shone down on it. The hum from the engine hit my ears. I gulped and rushed to the chair resting my head against the back. I knew what happened if I didn’t sit. 

I counted and the moment I hit ten, the train shot forward. My stomach rolled, the force of the acceleration settling on my diaphragm making it hard to breath. My throat burned as the contents of my stomach threatened escape.

The train was speaking, “…going three hundred and fifty miles an hour. We will be on this course for a long as necessary. Enjoy your ride.” 

I sighed in resignation.  It was all up to her now.

“Honey, wake up.” Mom’s voice boomed around me. The lights flickered.

“Help!” I screamed praying she heard me. My chest hurt as I fought against the pressure and spoke. “Train!”

“Shit. Okay, I’ll call the doctor! We’ll get you out.” 

“Or so she thinks,” the train said. 

 Published on OBW Blog October 30, 2020 © Tracey Canole 

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