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Fiction: Inevitable May 14, 2014

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Fiction, Horror.
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Ed Note: This story contains some strong language as well as horror imagery.

Inevitable

adjective

unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary: an inevitable conclusion.
sure to occur, happen, or come; unalterable: The inevitable end of human life is death.

noun

that which is unavoidable.

Crossing

Revenge

That night, I saw Stu approaching the train crossing. His old Buick had acted like it was going to stall. “Train Kept a Rollin'” was blaring from the radio. I smiled at the irony as Stu angrily smacked it off.

“Come on you hunk of junk!” he yelled.

He belched the belch of too many beers, and I could see that he was nudging the gas as he braked to keep the engine running. The crossing gates were going down.

Perfect, I thought. Right on time.

“Shit,” he muttered to himself.

This was my chance. He obviously didn’t want to wait for a train.

“You can make it…”

As soon as the words came out of his mouth, Stu looked around the car, uncertain if he’d said them or not.

I had nudged him.

He looked past the tree line, but all he could see was the sweep of the engine’s light, coming down the track.

”Go!”

Stu just about jumped out of his skin. I could tell by the expression on his face that if he hadn’t felt his own mouth forming the word, he’d have sworn someone had yelled it into his ear.

Someone did.

Me.

The train was coming around the curve. If he was going to go, now was the time.

As I hoped he would, Stu stomped the gas. The huge V8 roared to life. The tires squealed and the old Buick lunged forward toward the tracks and around the gate.

That’s when the engine stalled, exactly as I’d planned.

The last thing Stu saw was the blinding light from the train.

The last thing he heard was the roar of the train, the blaring of the horn, his own voice, screaming at the flooded engine, and my laughter, somehow filling his head.

The last thing he felt was burning, searing pain, but it was over in an instant—too quickly for my taste.

The Push

When most people think of trains, the word that often comes to mind is inertia. After all, it’s not unusual for a freight or passenger car train to weigh upwards of 8000 tons.

When I think of trains, the word that comes to mind is inevitable. There is something… inevitable about a train moving down the tracks.

Of course, things can derail a train from its tracks—cause a minor change of direction—but nothing… nothing will just bring one to a halt. Cars, trucks, even busses merely slow the inevitable procession of a train along the tracks.

I suppose it’s hardly surprising how little impediment the femur, the thickest and strongest bone in the body, presents to a train. Even two of them, hit in rapid succession, barely change a train’s velocity.

I know this because it happened to me.

That’s how I died.

If I have my way, Anthony and Sammy will go the same way.

So far, I’ve not been that lucky. So far, the best I’ve been able to do is get Stu, Anthony’s uncle. That was years ago, and it hurt Anthony. Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough because I’m still here, stuck at this godforsaken crossing in the middle of nowhere.

It wasn’t enough for me. I want more.

I want Anthony to feel the shock of those muscular legs being severed. I want his ears to ring with his own futile, lonely screams. I want him to look down, like I did, and see his own blood pooling beneath him in a sickening puddle of crimson inevitability.

I want him to know that death is coming, and there’s not be a damn thing he can do about it.

I don’t care how Sammy goes.

Sammy’s a follower. He always was a follower. Sure… I’d love for him to follow Anthony, right along into death, but I don’t really give a rat’s ass about him.

But Anthony? I want his pain to last. I want it to be slower than Stu’s death. Much slower.

After all, he’s the one who pushed me.

Skylark

I got lucky with Stu. I recognized his Buick as soon as he neared the crossing. Anthony had always bragged about “Uncle Stu” getting him beer at the package store, and being cool enough to not say anything about it.

He also wouldn’t shut up about Stu’s car, a ’72 Skylark. It was clean and looked innocent enough, but the throaty rumble of the 455 engine was impressive. It seemed a shame to time my “Go!” with the natural rhythm of the engine to make it flood. I felt worse about destroying the car than about Stu’s fiery death.

I guess that says something about what I’ve become.

The Smile

I don’t remember much of anything anymore. I don’t remember what year it is, or how old I would be, but I remember that night, very clearly.

I don’t know if it was Anthony’s idea to go to the party or not, but it doesn’t really matter. Nobody twisted my arm. I wanted to get drunk like everyone else did, or at least make them think I wanted to.

I remember the blonde that Anthony wanted. I don’t remember her name. I wish I could forget her face. Her face was sweet, and innocent.

Anthony looked at Sammy and me as he was filling her cup with jungle juice. “Boys, I’m gonna have some fun!”.

I remember how he laughed about it.

If I’d really cared, I’d probably have said something, but I didn’t think Anthony would really do anything to the blonde. He had scholarships waiting for him at the end of the year. I couldn’t imagine he’d put that at risk.

I was wrong.

I should’ve left, or maybe just sat in the living room, trying to figure out how to talk to Heather, a brunette from Physics. She was smarter than any of the other girls. I think she was the only other person there who wasn’t wasted.

I remember being too nervous to make small talk with her, so I went to the basement, trying to find Anthony and Sammy.

I wish I hadn’t found them, but I did, and it made me sick to see what Anthony was doing to the blonde while Sammy covered her mouth. It was worse when her innocent face looked at me, eyes pleading for me to do something… anything.

Instead, I ran. I left the party and started running for home.

I should have kept running. I should have crossed the tracks and just gone home.

Instead, I stopped when Anthony caught up with me and listened to him as we stood at the tracks. He flashed that smile… the one that got the blonde to trust him. I remember that smile.

And then I remember the train.

I can still feel the push on my chest, me stumbling backward, and the feeling of my foot twisting between the track and the railroad tie. I can still feel the way the rails and the ground shook.

I remember the shriek of the wheels skidding on the rails, the blinding pain, and feeling my body flying through the air.

I remember landing in a ditch and trying to crawl, but not being able to move.

I remember the sound of the train passing, growing fainter, and hearing Anthony’s voice over the sound of Sammy puking.

“Problem solved,” he said evenly.

I remember hearing them get in Anthony’s Mustang, but me not being able to breathe, much less scream. I couldn’t breathe because I was drowning in a puddle of water under my face as they drove away.

Then I remember realizing that it wasn’t water.

It was blood.

The Nudge

At first, I felt weak and lonely. Then, I started to realize that, even though I seemed bound to the area around the crossing, I could make my voice heard.

Sort of.

Have you ever been walking near the edge of cliff, and thought, “One wrong step and I’ll plunge to my death.”

Or maybe you’ve been driving a curvy mountain road, with no guard rail, and thought “If I were to suddenly jerk the wheel to the right… all it would take is a muscle twitching the wrong way to kill me.”

People have those feelings all the time, and generally dismiss it as their imagination.

In fact, it’s usually a voice like mine, just playing with your head to see what you’ll do. That’s what I did.

That is, until one day when a muscle twitched, the car swerved to the right, and then it went off the dirt road that runs beside the tracks. That’s when I knew they could hear me.

That’s when I knew I would have my revenge. Revenge is what will release me from here. I’m sure of it.

All I had to do is wait for the right time.

Luck

Is it possible for me to feel lucky? My existence, if that’s what you call it, is such that it’s hard for me to feel anything but bitterness.

Then, without warning or fanfare, it was the right time. Finally, Sammy and Anthony were together, in the same car, and were getting close.

I could feel it.

How was this happening? It felt like a dream, a horribly dark dream, come true. I had been calling for them… beckoning them to come back.

It felt like they were early for the Norfolk Southern out of Pittsburgh. Could I delay them somehow?

I listened intently. I couldn’t feel or hear any anything coming down the line.

Now I was feeling helpless. I saw them approach the crossing, and then pull off to the side.

Sammy was driving. He turned off the engine and got out. I don’t know how long it’s been, but he looks old. I almost feel sorry for him.

Anthony got out of the passenger side, and slowly hobbled around. Whatever he became after high school, it didn’t leave him much. He favored his right leg the way former athletes sometimes do. Every swing of his bad leg reeked of bitterness.

Sammy went to the back and opened the trunk.

Anthony was holding a makeshift wreath. “Miss You, Man” was crudely written on a placard in the center.

So that’s why they came back. They’re here pay respects to the old, drunk bastard. But why tonight? Why now?

It doesn’t matter. They’re here now.

Sammy pulled out a case of beer and they crossed the road and headed toward the spot where Stu’s Buick had been pushed off the track. Fitting… they’re gonna get drunk.

The Hand

It felt like they were drinking and laughing forever. It must have been an hour or more. They told stupid stories of getting drunk with Stu, of his exploits with women and drag racing.

Anthony had a bottle of Jack and took a long swig. He handed it to Sammy.

“They just don’t make guys like that anymore,” Anthony declared as Sammy drank.

Anthony put the bottle away and they both sat there, looking at the stars and how bright everything looked. The moon was so bright that they could see each other’s face clearly.

By now, the only sound was of the two of them popping open another beer, guzzling it down, and belching absent-mindedly. Other than the gurgling sounds of their excess, the night was silent.

That sound gave me an idea.

I drifted over to the other side of the tracks. I wasn’t really close to the ditch where I’d taken my last breaths, but I was close, and I wondered if it would be close enough.

“Please… somebody… help me!” I cried.

“Did you hear something?” Sammy asked.

Anthony did, but he didn’t want to admit it. “No. It’s your imagination. Shut up and drink.”

I gave them a few minutes, and then spoke again. “Sammy? Are you there? Don’t leave me here.”

Sammy dropped his beer. Even in the pale moonlight, I could see the blood had drained from his face. He was shaking.

“Anthony? That sounded just like…”

Sammy’s voice drifted off.

Anthony answered, “Like who… what’s-his-name?”

“Bobby,” I growled.

Anthony went back to his beer, thinking it was Sammy that spoke and not me. “Bobby… Billy… the clumsy dipshit got what he deserved.”

Sammy was barely listening to Anthony now. I had his full attention, and I played it—hard.

“Sammy, are you there? I’m bleeding… call someone… please don’t leave me here!” I poured emotion into my voice.

He started toward the tracks, looking to see if he could see anything. He was mesmerized, almost in a trance. Now I just had to hope for the timing to work out.

“Sammy… I don’t blame you. I really don’t. Please call someone… don’t leave me here to die, Sammy!”

By now, Anthony was starting to admit to himself that he could hear me too, but he was having none of it.

He snarled, “Sammy, snap out of it you moron. You’re hearing voices. That means you’ve got a good buzz going. Now get back over here and help me clean all this up.”

That’s when I felt the faintest of vibrations.

It was subtle, and not the kind of thing that people normally hear. If they tried, Sammy and Anthony might have felt it, but their buzz was making it hard for them to focus on anything, much less the distant sound of a train’s horn and the telltale shake of the engine pulling a full load of cars.

Sammy was oblivious to the track, the distant sound of the train, and even Anthony’s growing insistence that he come back. Sammy was almost to the gravel that lay under the ties and the rails.

I could feel something bordering on excitement. This was a golden opportunity, and they were handing it to me. I might never get a chance like this again.

“Sammy, I saw what happened to Stu,” I said.

“You did?” Sammy replied.

That’s good. He’s talking to me. He’s treating me as part of his reality, and tuning out Anthony’s yelling more and more.

“Yes,” I said, “I saw what happened to him, and it was awful. Stu was in so much pain… just like I was. He cried out for help, just like I did, but there was nobody around to help him. Just like nobody would help me.”

Sammy was crying, in anguish, “No… I wanted to help. Anthony wouldn’t let me.”

Sammy was standing square on the tracks, peering into the darkness. He was looking for me, and probably fearing that he might see something.

The train was nearing the curve past the treeline, just beyond my crossing. I had to keep him there and try to get Anthony closer too.

“Sammy,” I offered, “I know you wouldn’t have hurt that girl… I know you didn’t want to hurt her.”

He stood there, shaking his head, “No… I didn’t… I couldn’t…”

His crying made him look pitiful, but I wasn’t going to be deterred.

“It’s OK, Sammy… I forgive you,” I lied.

His crying stopped, and a look of wonder came across his face.

“You do?” he pleaded.

Anthony, unable to reach the elevated level where the track lay because of his leg, was getting close to Sammy, and realized that his conversation with me was bordering on insane.’

“Get off the damn track, Sammy!” he screamed.

Anthony’s face was now being lit by the sweep of the approaching train. Sammy still stood, dead center of the tracks. I had to scream to overcome the sound of the train.

I laid it on thick, keeping him focused on my voice as the train closed in with “Yes, Sammy… it’s all OK now… nobody blames you for anything that happened.”

I had his full attention. He wasn’t even aware of the rumble of the tracks or the blaring horn.

I pressed on. “You don’t have to carry the guilt anymore. Just close your eyes and let all of that go.”

In a panic, Anthony was reaching up to try to grab Sammy.

“Sammy, you idiot! Get off of there!” he screamed.

A look of peace and calm came over Sammy’s face. I leaned in close.

As loud as I could, I nudged Sammy with “Take Anthony’s hand. Help him up.”

The earth shook as… inevitability closed in.

As Anthony made one final, awkward swipe for Sammy’s arm, Sammy turned and calmly reached down to grasp Anthony’s hand. He smiled a horrible, insane smile at Anthony and pulled him up toward the track.

When the train hit Sammy, he was standing just inside the rail. His body shattered with the impact, showering Anthony in a pink mist of blood and bits of flesh from his friend’s body.

The pressure wave from in front of the train knocked Anthony down to the ground, leaving him on the ground, still clutching Sammy’s lifeless hand, without the arm or body attached. He screamed.

I did too, because Anthony was still alive.

My chance for revenge was lost.

Lost

In the time since Sammy’s death, I’ve gained more freedom. I’m not strictly bound to the crossing anymore, and can move around some.

I can watch Anthony, which is good, I suppose. His world is now a hospital bed, doctors and nurses.

Apparently, the trauma of Sammy’s death had been too much for him, and he became catatonic. The doctors have talked about hope for his recovery, but he never seems to make any progress.

I wanted him to suffer, but instead he has constant care from the attentive staff. Bastard.

Jennifer

It was late, and Jennifer was ready to punch out.

First, she wanted to go up to check on Anthony. He wasn’t strictly her patient, but with seniority comes some leeway for a nurse to choose who gets a bit of special attention. Ever since Anthony arrived, she committed to coming by at the end of her shift.

As she stepped into the room, she looked down at his face. Even in catatonia, Anthony was handsome, and she could imagine him smiling. His was a sad, horrible story. All of the nurses felt sorry for the man who had such a promising future, then blowing out his knee before even entering college, and now reduced to this by a tragic accident.

She checked her watch, moved past his bed, and cracked the window near his head. Jennifer felt the cool breeze through the open window, and ever so faintly, heard the sound of the evening train’s whistle.

She looked at Anthony, and saw his body tense up with the sound of the whistle. His pulse started racing. It always did, and the other nurses had chalked it up to him somehow sensing a beautiful girl being in the room. She looked at his face, and saw the faintest hint of pain showing on his otherwise emotionless face.

As the whistle faded, Jennifer closed the window, moved to the door, and stopped to look back at him. He looked old. The years had not been nearly as kind to him as they had been to her.

Her face was still sweet and innocent, as it was in school.

Pushing a blonde curl behind her ear, she smiled and left the room.

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Comments»

1. Carrie - May 14, 2014

Eerie twist – really enjoyed that.


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