The Train Journey

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“Hello this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard the 12 o’clock train to Dundeath.”

“I hope that all passengers are aware of the special deal we are currently running. It has been widely publicised across all streams of media after our large advertising campaign. If you somehow haven’t heard there will be no fare for all passengers who stay on until we terminate in Dundeath but fares will be charged if you stop at any of the intermediate stops. I would strongly advise all passengers to enjoy the journey and stay with us until our arrival in Dundeath.”

“Your ticket comes with free catering so please tuck in and enjoy the confectionaries and beverages on the house. An automated voice will instruct you on our progression. I wish you a pleasant trip to your destruction. Sorry I meant destination.”

[Automated Voice] We are now approaching Fleeting. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train.

Flickering thoughts on the edge of your mind. A sudden idea that pops in your head. They come and go in the flash. So harmless. So innocuous. The train slides into the station.

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[Automated Voice] We are now approaching Mulling. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train.

You let the idea roll in your mind. You are not going to do it of course but you let it sit in your mind. You think about hypothetical situations and hypothetical outcomes. You’re just gazing down the track, just seeing where the train would end up if you did happen to decide to get on.

[Automated Voice] We are now approaching Blackridge. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train.

Mind the gap. But your mind is elsewhere. You’re approaching the precipice but you won’t admit it. You know the sequence of stops, you know what follows this station. You tell yourself this action is unrelated but deep down you know the truth.

Your foot hovers over the gap. You’re halfway there.

[Automated Voice] We are now approaching Aberdone. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train.

You’re on the train. Now that you’re on it, you might as well go full tilt. Make the most out of the ride, take advantage of the free catering. If you get off early, you know you’ll be charged with guilt and regret. You decide you might as well get your money’s worth. You will run its course.

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[Automated Voice ] We are now approaching Ashburn. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train

With every step you hear the alarm bells ring louder. But you won’t head for the nearest emergency exit. There’s been no cause for regret so far. There’s no need for restraint here, more food and drink just keep coming.

And still you won’t be satisfied. Still you want me to leave. You grab your conscience and throw him off the train.

You’ve gone off the rails.

“This is the captain speaking. I am sorry to announce but we will no longer be stopping at any more of our intermediate stations before Dundeath. The doors will be locked and the catering service will now be withdrawn from service. The next stop will be Dundeath.”

You lie weakly across the seats. All the food and drink they gave you had no nourishment and now you are wasting away. You want to leave but there is no way out. No more chances to get off the train. You know when you arrive you will be given the full charge of guilt and regret.

[Automated Voice] We are now approaching Dundeath where this train will terminate.

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Image 1 – Smoke & Steam by Gerry Balding, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Image 2 – My Very First Photograph – 61623 by Barry Lewis, CC BY 2.0

Image 3 – Cathedrals Express by Skip, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Image 4 – Ark Royal in Desolation by John Turner, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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