Stop zero!

Stop zero!

A Story by Light
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A messy story about what could possibly happen after life.

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‘Stop 89! Please take your belongings with you, and enjoy the rest of your journey!’
An old man who had been waiting patiently now stepped on the train. The doors closed with a mechanically manufactured hissing. He took a seat by the window, which had some cozy-looking curtains to go with. 

‘Long day huh?’

The man snapped his head to the side. Oh, the conductor. ‘Well, not really. Only half a day had passed before I got on this train, I think. Actually, do you know what stops this particular one makes? I think I forgot.’

The conductor’s eyebrows must’ve shot up at least an inch. Then he cracked a smile.

‘I never thought I’d hear an answer like that again. You must be young, still. Your ticket, please?’

The old man scowled and searched his pockets. ‘Young? I’m 89 years old, and I have a family, I-, she-,’

‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. You’ll see. Your ticket, please?’

‘Stop 73! Please take your belongings with you, and enjoy the rest of your journey!’

Jeez, that train company lady had a nice voice. He almost felt refreshed, like someone had given him a good massage and the soreness in his joints had been retracted from his body with a clean syringe. He found the ticket. It was a nice, dusty pink colour and it smelled of iron. Once the conductor took notice of it, he looked absolutely stunned, like his pupils were expanding so rapidly that they would soon surpass the borders of his irises. The old man was pretty sure that a Marshian would’ve surprised the conductor less. 

‘Well, stamp that ticket, then. You wanted it so badly just now, didn’t you?

‘No stamps?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘You’ve never been on this train before?’

‘Obviously not. I’m not even sure where we’re going.’ 

‘Stop 57! Please take your belongings with you, and enjoy the rest of your journey!’

A few people got on the train, nearly all of them taking a paper from the newspaper rack, with the last ‘century deals’. Did he read that right? 

‘Look around, man. What do the people on this train have in common, hmm? They’re all…’

‘Middle aged? So what? I’m not.’

‘You’d be surprised.’

The man looked at his hands. Less wrinkles, and they were more steady. The people around him looked tired, bored, as if they were at the end of a long day at work without any breaks. 

‘Look at me. You might want to relax a bit in your chair.’

He did.

‘Now, you’re going to look at that man there, with the bandaged head. What do you notice about him?’

‘Obviously the bandage. There’s a lot of blood on it, too. He’s about 50 years old, I’d say, and- goodness, that’s a lot of blood, he looks like he should be laying on a hospital bed.’

‘He is.’

‘What? We’re on a train. You should know that, since you’re the conductor. You haven’t even stamped my ticket yet.’

Stamp.

‘Whatever.’

‘Stop 36! Please take your belongings with you, and enjoy the rest of y-…’ the old man turned down the volume of the lady’s voice in his head.

‘Look, I’m the conductor, I think I’d know more about this train than you. Look at that man again.’ He noticed the bandage had gotten less bloody, and the man looked a lot younger, too. ‘That man is laying in the hospital right now, and his wife and kids are crying their eyes out, and his brother is calling the cemetery because he’s-‘

‘Dead!’ The man’s eyes widened at the realization. ‘I’m dead? We’re going to the afterlife? I’m not even sure if I’ll make it to heaven, oh no, I’m going to hell!’ Tears started to form in his eyes, and he was hyperventilating, the thought of hell alone terrified him. He had been an atheist, so surely he’d take a trip to the underworld, wouldn’t he? He should’ve gone when his annoying neighbor Kathy asked him to attend church together. ‘I can’t handle torture! What would it even be? Will I see the devil?’

‘Relax, man. We don’t have an afterlife. This is the in-between.’

‘In between life and…?’

‘Life.’

‘So?’

‘You’re starting over, man. During your next life, you won’t remember all of this. Then you step on the train and, bam, you’ll know it’s your second time. Pretty boring, huh?’

‘Stop 20! Please take your belongings…’

The, now young, man dried his tears. 

‘I don’t want that. I’m stuck in a loop, forever. Who thought of this?’

The conductor thought for a moment, then shrugged. ‘I guess I did. Isn’t it kind of fun to watch people be so bored, to see the life slip out of their eyes more with every trip?’ The man swallowed when he saw a red glint fly past his eyes.

‘And you don’t get bored of it?’

‘Never.’

The man’s voice shot up. ‘You’re worse than the devil! This isn’t the in-between, this is, this is torture and you know it.’

‘I do. Now, have fun, life’s short after all, hmm?’

The boy looked around, bewildered, he wanted to scream, but he was getting smaller and smaller. It felt as if his mouth was being sewn together with a fine needle. He looked up at the conductor, who was asking a girl for her ticket with a smug side-eye toward him. His eyes were being closed against his will. His anger soon turned into sorrow. He would have to live out this damned fate forever, and it made him so sad he could cry. His tears began to spill, and he cried, and he screamed as loud as possibe.

‘Stop zero! Please take your belongings with you, and enjoy the rest of your journey!’

© 2022 Light


Author's Note

Light
I wrote this in like an hour, so sorry if it’s a bit messy. I improvised a lot on this, I was just in a writing mood I guess. Hope you enjoy a nice short story, and be sure to share any thoughts or questions about it! Thanks for reading :) -Light

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55 Views
Added on September 24, 2022
Last Updated on September 24, 2022
Tags: Death, train, afterlife, life, hell, heaven, devil, conductor

Author

Light
Light

Netherlands



About
I write poems and stories :) more..

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