A bright light flashed, and dark brown eyes flicked open, staring up at the plain white ceiling. The eyes belonged to a young man, his mussed up black hair and pale skin complexion making it look as if he hadn't been out of bed for days. Except he wasn't lying in his bed, but on the couch in the living room of his tiny little apartment. Not that it surprised him. He had a tendency to sleep wherever he dropped when he was loaded. But the odd thing was, he didn't remember ever making it home.
Now that he thought about it, he didn't remember much of anything that had happened the previous night. The last thing he remembered was getting into a nasty argument with his girlfriend. Everything after that was one big blur. Sitting up, the man glanced curiously around the room, confusion clouding every inch of his brain.
He didn't remember cleaning up his apartment at all, despite the fact that his girlfriend kept nagging him to because it was normally extremely messy. But from what he could see, the living room and kitchen were spotless. He slowly stood up, tentatively making his way into the kitchen before searching the drawers and cupboards, only to find them all empty. Now he knew he didn't have a lot of belongings, especially silverware and dishes, but he knew for a fact he had at least a few of everything.
His eyes widened as he realized his bedroom could be in the same condition, and he wasted no time making that his next stop. He was shocked to find his bed made, and doing a quick search of the drawers and closet, he confirmed that they were empty as well. He sat down on his bed in a daze, wondering what in the world was going on. Something didn't feel right to him, and it was eating away at him not knowing what it was.
A strange noise broke the man out of his confusion, one he hadn't expected to hear. It sounded oddly like a train on train tracks, and he could hear a faint whistle in the distance. But there were no trains located near his apartment building. So, out of sheer curiosity, the man left his apartment to investigate. Of course, his apartment was on the third floor, so it was a bit of a walk, but he was outside the apartment complex soon enough. But what he saw, or rather didn't see, shocked him. The streets and sidewalks, which were usually bustling with action, were eerily absent of any vehicles or people. And that fact concerned the man, of not confused him even more.
He nearly jumped out if his skin when the train he had been hearing pulled up out of nowhere, coming to a halt on the road right in front of him. The weird thing was, there were no train tracks in sight, so the train appeared to have been driving on the road. Another glance at the street revealed that there were train tracks there after all, and the man blinked, rubbing his eyes and looking at them again, not believing what he saw. "What the-"
Before he could finish his sentence, an older man, whom he assumed to be the conductor due to his outfit, stepped off the train and nodded at him before shouting, "All aboard!" The young man looked around, seeing no one else coming, and he looked at the conductor again, who he was startled to find was looking right at him.
"Excuse me sir, but are you sure you have the right stop?" The conductor looked at a clipboard that was in his hand before looking at him again.
"Are you Isaac Dowry?" Isaac nodded slowly, and the conductor stuck the clipboard under his arm. "Then we have the right stop. Hop aboard." Isaac watched the conductor back onto the train, and he cautiously looked around for anyone before shrugging and following the conductor onto the train, wondering what exactly he was getting himself into.
* * * * * * * * * *
Eleanor Mitchell wasn't particularly sure how long she had been on the train, but she knew it had been a while. All of the clocks had stopped working: people's watches, the clocks on people's "cell phones," as she had found out. She wasn't entirely sure what all of their functions were exactly, but she had a feeling she would be on this train for a long time, seeing as she had been on it for what she guessed was years now already, so she knew she probably had plenty of time to learn. The point was, there was really no way to keep track of time anymore, so Ellie had no idea exactly how long she had been on the train.
The weird thing about the train was, it never stopped to drop off passengers. It would make a stop once in a while to pick a new passenger or two, but no one ever got off. But there were other things that were weird other than the train. For example, the passengers on the train all looked different, and she wasn't talking about the color of their skin. Everyone, for some reason or another, was from a different time period. Eleanor herself was clad in her normal garments for her job as a singer at her parents' saloon.
Not only did the other passengers come from different time periods, but they also came from all around the world. A great deal of them came from America, but there were also many of them who came from other countries. One of her closest friends on the train happened to be an American a couple of years older than her who had died overseas fighting in World War II. So there was a variety of different people on the train, all of them without a clue about why they were on this train, or where they were going.
To be honest, Ellie was getting a bit homesick. Seeing as she was only twenty-three, she hadn't really lived that long, and had still had a long life ahead of her. So, naturally, she still wasn't used to being away from her parents for so long. Then there were all the people who came to the saloon regularly. Ellie had always loved the saloon. It was practically a second home to her. The customers were usually reasonable for the most part, though some of the newer people could be a pain sometimes. But the people at the saloon were like family to her. She got to know most of them well over time, as not many people really moved to their small little town of Aurora, Texas, and that was one thing she loved about the saloon. But the thing she loved most about it was the singing.
Ellie had loved singing since she was little. When she wasn't helping her parents at home or in the saloon when she could, she was singing. It wasn't until about the age of fifteen that her parents recognized her talent as a singer and let her perform in the saloon every night. She had been singing ever since, even on the train. Everyone seemed to love her voice, and she loved to do it, so she really saw no reason to stop. But despite that, she still missed her family, and she didn't think anything could change that.
The train suddenly jolted to a stop, and Ellie glanced out her window, curious as to where they had stopped. One thing every stop they made seemed to have in common was the fact that other than the one or two people they picked up now and then, the area outside was completely void of any people, another thing Ellie had always found interesting.
Looking out the window, she could see the conductor talking to a man. He had dark hair, black by the looks of it, and his eyes were dark too. He was pale like her, and he appeared to be fairly tall, and maybe even a bit also seemed to have a scruffy little beard on his chin that matched the hair on his head. After a minute the conductor turned and hopped back onto the train, the man following behind him curiously. The conductor suddenly appeared in the train car and spoke up.
"Everyone, I'd like you to meet our newcomer. This is Isaac Dowry."