TRAIN RIDE

I rushed onto the train Claire and Charlie trailed close behind me. There were people everywhere. People were crying and screaming, pushing and shoving. Everyone wanted a place on the train I was now on. Charlie and I pushed our way through the crowd and found four seats. I sat down and Charlie dumped all of our luggage on one seat and then stood guard at the front of the booth. We didn't want anyone else sitting with us. We couldn't find Claire, we had lost her somewhere on the train. Then I heard her distinctive voice telling an old lady to move out of her way. I reached desperately for her outstretched hand and pulled her towards me. Charlie moved aside letting Claire through. She sat down beside me and started to cry.

Charlie managed to ward off other passengers and sat down in front of me.

'Good morning passengers. I am sure you are glad that you escaped the terrorist infected city?' A voice spurted loudly onto the PA. He sounded almost cheerful.

'This train ride will be the ride of your life, if of course you it doesn't end your life.' The voice was now laughing.

'Your lives are now in my hands, hold on tight.' The voice sounded so cunning. People started to run frantically for the doors. We on the other hand just sat still, we were in shock. We thought we escaped the terror, but we had just walked into it.

Claire started to hyperventilate next to me as the train moved into action.

'Breathe, Claire, just breathe.' Charlie tried to calm her down.

'Charlie what the hell is going on?' I asked, as I let fear overcome me.

'I don't know but we will get out of this.' Charlie lifted his line of sight to meet mine. His pale blue eyes showed his fear but the rest of his face remained composed.

'Are we going to die?' Claire managed to say between long deep breathes.

'No, no we won't.' Charlie didn't look at her instead his eyes were fixated on something behind me. He mouthed 'oh my god' and his eyes grew wide.

I turned and looked behind me. There was a massive plasma screen showing a set of train tracks. The camera moved as though it was on the front of the train. The bend in the tracks were ridiculous and there was a drop coming. The tracks just stopped midway and the continued six metres below the tracks we were on now and three metres ahead. No way would we make that jump. It was approaching us slowly as if to tease us.

'Okay we are going to need seat belts or something.' Charlie looked away from the screen and started rummaging through his bags.

'What about belts? We could tie them to the armrest and the handle on the back of the chair.' I replied thinking fast.

'Yeah that would work.' Charlie pulled out a long skinny black belt and handed it to me. I tied it onto the armrest on my left and reached across Claire to tie it to the back of her chair.

'Is that too tight?' I asked. Claire shook her head as a reply.

'Alright now you.' Charlie tied mine for me. It felt awkward and the belt was barley long enough. It felt as though it would snap in an instant. Charlie had his 'seatbelt' on now too. His eyes returned to the plasma behind me.

'It is coming faster now.' He started to commentate.

'Any second now.' Charlie took a deep breath and braced himself. I followed suit. I felt the train lift off the tracks. Inside the train it was eerily quiet, no screams. You could only hear the deep breaths people were taking. The jump felt like it was lasting forever. I felt my stomach drop as my knuckles were starting to turn white from holding onto the arm rest so tight.

The train landed heavily but it kept going. I opened my eyes and breathed with relief. Then I heard screams from the back of the train. I turned my head to see what was happening. The carriage behind us fell backwards. The people looked at us with wide, desperate, terrified eyes. They screamed so loudly as they plunged to their terrible deaths. I turned to face Charlie with disbelief. He shook his head slowly. What had been a fifteen carriage train just became a four carriage train.

"Congratulations, you still have your lives, others were not so lucky." The voice lost its previous contentment, instead the tone was flat, frustrated.
"He isn't on the train, Charlie, he isn't on the train." I almost yelled it, my voice pierced the silence.
"What do you mean?" Claire spoke in a quiet whisper, not because she was afraid, because she didn't want to disturb the others. Her eyes were set on a family. A mother was cradling her baby, the father was holding a toddler tightly on his knee, his other arm draped across his wife.
"He couldn't be. If he was he would die to." I replied quietly this time.

"She's right. It must be controlled automatically." Charlie nodded, his eyes not leaving the television. His body was propped forward as much as the belt would allow, forcing his body to contort awkwardly.

"A train isn't driven like a car. You only push levers back and forth. There is no need for there to be a conductor if you had the right machine." Claire reflected years of sitting next to her father as he manned trains.

"We can stop this train." Charlie let his eyes shift to look at me, suddenly filled with hope.

"No we can't." I sighed, the sight of another impossible turn swallowing the optimism.

"Yes we can." Claire snapped her belt as soon as we rounded the corner and dived into the aisle, her body swaying violently as she walked.

Charlie automatically followed. I struggled with my belt but soon, I too was out of my seat. The people in the train watched us in shock. Finally movement engulfed the train, the fear subsided. Charlie spat out instructions as the group grew. We marched towards to the front of the train, on a mission.

"Well isn't this nice? A little gang trying to overpower us? Good luck." The unmistakable laugh filtered through as we were all jolted and fell to the floor. The train picked up tremendous speed. I couldn't stand up. So I crawled, we all did. My hands clutched at the frayed ends of the carpet, my body smashed into the people next to me.

I could see it, the door to the final carriage. Claire threw her body onto the door and fought with the handle struggling to turn it. I placed my hands on top of hers, it was impossible to budge. Within a minute Charlie plastered himself, the mob following. We couldn't turn the handle, but the door could not handle our weight. We fell through, like a rush of water, there were waves of people. We fanned out. Every handle, every button, every lever was turned, pulled and pushed.

Yet again we all fell forward without control. A woman was thrown through the glass and into the vast expanse. My hand found Charlie's as we came to realise the reality. There were cried throughout. People fell into each other's arms. A horrific blow shattered through the PA system. The train had stopped, the man had fallen silent. Families were given a future. And we, we had survived.

BY Cassnadra Hamill
.com/~cassieh