The Silent Train

The man hurried up the steps, slightly breathless. Just minutes before he had taken a

glance at the clock and realised he would miss his train with his slow pace. The platform

was empty, but he did not think much of it. It was only seven in the morning on a Saturday,

was it not? His hurrying paid off, for the train arrived exactly on time, as if called by the


He stepped into the clean and modern train and made himself comfortable in a seat.

The long train seemed to stretch to infinity with all its identical, silent seats. He did feel a bit

lonely in the empty train, but it could not be helped. His station was the first on the

trajectory. This wasn’t his first ride deprived of company.

The tired landscapes hurried past the window. The world seemed so pale and dim

compared to the aggressive fluorescent light of the train. The man did not have a book with

him, but he did have his wandering thoughts. The empty seat next to him made him think of

Mr. Vaughan. He wondered how the man was doing these days, if he had managed to fix

that leaking bedroom window.

Suddenly the man felt unpleasant. The air around him felt like a thousand rocks on

his body. He shot up and opened the small window above him. He felt instant relief, until he

realised something was missing. Suddenly he noticed it was too silent. All sounds from the

speeding train and whispering wind were absent. It was as if the train was gliding on a

cloud. His body answered to the disconcerting discovery in salty sweat. He ripped his

suffocating jacket off, threw it on the seat next to him.

The train gradually slowed down as the next station approached. He hurried to the

door, impatient to ask someone about the creepy silence. As the station grew closer, he felt

a chill running down his back. Not a soul could be seen on the lengthy train platform. He

peeked out of the train in despair. He felt the merciless September gust on his face, but the

sound didn’t reach his ears. He stumbled back in and snatched his jacket. He started making

his way to the front of the train. Someone must be driving it, figured the man. For his

misfortune the train started moving as he was taking a step, the abrupt tug taking him by

surprise. The next thing he knew he was lying on the cold floor. Trying to get up from the

unwelcoming surface proved futile, and all attempts to raise his upper body remained


He crawled onward with great arduousity. Through the window the crying trees

watched his efforts pitilessly. He wished for a helping hand, someone, anyone. Mr

Vaughan’s image fleeted in his mind again.

‘Stop the train!’ he pleaded in a cracking voice. He fumbled the silent air with

trembling fingers, as if trying to reach the distant control room door. He did not know if

behind that door was a driver. The thought comforted him strangely, however.

He rested his head in his sweat-painted hands and wept hollowly. The emptiness of

the train observed the man lying on the floor and offered no help. Eventually he wiped his

tears and sat himself leaning on the sliding doors. He thought of the two seats, the one he

had sat on and the empty one next to it. As if an afterthought, tears filled with wordless

yearning sprung back to his eyes. Slowly he closed them, letting the bittersweet droplets

push through.

He heard a thud and soon the doors behind him slid open smoothly. His body fell

backwards dreamily. He did not care about the sting in his head upon meeting the rocky

platform pavement, but opened his hazy eyes. Above him he saw a dark figure shadowing

the morning light. He got up to see better, and soon his eyes were filled with tears again –

this time from exhilaration. The other man’s disgruntled expression did not change. The

man stayed unfazed. He shook the other’s hand vigorously, despite facing odium.

‘Mister’, he declared between tittering breaths, ‘I am alive!’

By Anonymous