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"The Hell-Bound Train is in the Station" -- FWG Flash Fiction for 2/10/2024

This one might be inspired by "The Gunslinger." Triggers for murder/suicide.





THE HELL-BOUND TRAIN IS IN THE STATION



The man with no past strode down the tracks. He was tall—his stride matched the spacing of the ties perfectly. He remembered only yesterday, walking down the never-ending steel road. The sun sinking into the tracks’ parallel infinity told him he was headed west. Nothing or no one had told him why.


Yesterday. That was real. He held the memory of the diner where he had breakfast firmly in his mind, as if losing it would cast him adrift in a world he couldn’t understand. The scars covering his arms—dates etched into his flesh—told him he had been adrift this way many times. They were his only grip, tenuous at best, on his past. Yesterday’s date still oozed blood.


“You’re doing well. Every step chips away at the wall.”


The voice startled him, but it was somehow familiar, so he latched onto it. Anything familiar was welcome. It didn’t even bother him that the voice floated to him on the breeze, with no source he could see.


“The wall?”


“Yes. That wall in your head that locks your memories away.” The voice was silky smooth. “Keep striding and maybe this time you’ll remember.”


His tormentor’s advice distracted the man from the gentle vibration of the rails. But with a goal, finally, his steps fell into rhythm with the growing rumble of the ground beneath him. Like a frog in a pot on a stove, he didn’t notice the slowly rising threat as the wall crumbled and he saw flashes of his wife and his kids pleading, then screaming, as he pulled the trigger again and again.


Horrified, he stood frozen as the train’s own screaming whistle bore down on him.


###


The Man With No Past strode down the tracks. A fresh scar itched on his arm.


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