By Joseph Logsdon
When Toby Seinfeld opened his eyes, he didn't expect to find himself on a moving train. Shocked and bewildered, Toby attempted to leave his seat, but for some reason, he didn't have the strength to move. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move a muscle. To his surprise, a woman was sitting across from him. She was, for lack of a better word, quite beautiful.
"It's no use," she stated.
"Where are we?"
"Believe me, if I knew, I'd be the first to tell you," she replied.
"Surely, we didn't get here by accident?"
"I don't know, believe me, I just don't know! I was at home one minute, gone the next. It sounds crazy, I know, but it's true. You have to believe me, I would never make any of this up," she cried.
"What's your name?"
"Katherine," she answered.
"Tell me, Katherine, how long have we been on this train?"
"I couldn't say, really. When I opened my eyes, you were asleep. It's been, oh, I don't know how many hours. It's a shame, to be perfectly honest. In a few more hours, I would've been married," she stated.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Toby replied.
"Well, I was married once before, but it didn't last. I shouldn't have cheated on him, I know that now, but still, I have to get on with my life. You understand what I'm saying, don't you?"
"Yeah, I understand. Not too long ago, I also cheated. Unlike you, however, I don't regret it. The way I see it, a man should be free to get all the action he can get. After all, we only have one life, right?"
"Well, now that we've been properly introduced, how are we going to get off this thing?"
"Well, unless we learn how we got on the train, we'll never manage to get off," he answered.
"Surely, there's another way?"
"There might be, but as of now, there isn't. Say, can you get out of your seat?"
"Every time I try, it's like I'm trying to move a brick wall," she answered.
"Have you tried calling for help?"
"There's no signal, unfortunately," she answered.
"Well, this certainly is a pickle, isn't it?"
As the train traveled further, the air became tense and unfriendly. With every mile traveled, their sanity dwindled. The engine, though soft, was a never ending sound of torment.
"I'm sweating," Toby stated.
"Where are we going, anyway?"
"I don't know, maybe we're not going anywhere. This train, if you really think about it, could be on some kind of continuous loop. It doesn't leave, it doesn't arrive. There's nothing to look forward to, nothing but an endless journey through time and space. That would be some punishment, huh?"
"Punishment? What do you mean, punishment?"
"Well, we're both sinners, aren't we? Everyone sins, it's just a fact of life. I don't know about you, but I never asked for forgiveness, not once. You know what, I still don't regret it, not even now. If I had to do it all over again, I'd do it the exact same way," he laughed.
"Is that really how you feel?"
"It is, I'm afraid," he answered.
"Well, you just shot yourself in the foot," Katherine stated.
The train came to a sudden stop. The heat was, as far as Toby was concerned, almost unbearable. Before Toby could say anything else, the door opened. In almost no time at all, fire entered the compartment.
"Oh, my God, where are we?"
"Why, you already know the answer," Katherine laughed.
"What do you mean?"
"I have to say, I thought you would avoid judgment, I guess I was wrong," she laughed.
"What are you saying?"
"The fire is very hot, isn't it? They all say that, but when they spend enough time here, they'll learn that a little heat is the least of their problems," she laughed.
"No, this can't be real, it just can't!"
"Not only is it real, it's permanent," she laughed.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"Your beginning, middle, and end. You have to admit, this sure is a nice place to spend eternity, wouldn't you say?"