The Passenger

The Passenger

A Story by Nostalgicc

Just a quick thread. More so an exercise.

I got off at Munich and I never saw him again.

I stumbled into my booth and seated myself, dizzied by the successive tracts of trees and greenery swishing by the window. I had not expected anyone else, as the train was already puffing and twitching, expectant for departure. The door to the booth opened a tad and a face peered in, bespectacled and needing reassurance. 

“Is this 36?” He had a silver beard capping his chin, a sliver of moon. Wrinkles permanently carved and wizened int his skin, his sagging face, like the grooves of a pumpkin. 

I looked at the chromatic numbers set unto the panel beside the door. I nodded.

He shoved in three suitcases, bulging like bloated toads and I inched closer to the window, partly to avoid human proximity, partly to make sufficient space for him. He sat himself down and slipped out a slim leather-bound booklet. Some existential s**t.

I just gazed out the window.

I had a long three hours ahead, a long three hours next to the window and routine scenery, like a broken recorder continuously jolting the same scene over and over.

We’d boarded at Hamburg, and I was still dubious as to whether he spoke fluent english or not.  


My suspicions were quickly dispatched. He spoke first.

“Have you been to Munich before?”

“No” I said. I thought about questioning his visitation to the city, but decided against it, being that I really did not want to add any coal to the furnace.

“Why then? Are you a backpacker?”

“No, and you speak English well.”

“I know. I learned to speak before World War II.”

World War II? I prodded on cautiously. The day before I’d read a story about an elderly Romanian man who'd taken his longtime friend to his house and had then proceeded to disembowel and devour him.

“What did you do?”


“During World War II?”

The grass bent like oppressive bristles.
It was growing darker by the second and a thin covering of hazy maroon enveloped everything.

“I did what I had to do.”


“To survive.”

I said, "Survive?"


A scar zagged down the skin of his arm, red and ancient.

"I'm not German, by the way." He said.

"But you speak German?"

"I learned to as well. During World War II."

Five numbers below the scar. Permanently etched. I returned to the window.

Night crowded and sleep crowded. I glanced up, unaware that I'd drifted into sleep whilst speaking with the man. He was  no longer there; maybe having rushed to the lavatory.

I got off at Munich and I never saw him again.

© 2011 Nostalgicc

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Author's Note

Exercise in development.

My Review

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I like that the narrator is a misanthrope. It makes the revelation about the passenger more poignant, by suggesting that perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions (like the one we make that he was a nazi) seem unfair. it also makes us think about how to interact with people in general; his misanthropy seems inappropriate next to a survivor.

Posted 6 Years Ago

awesome work, first line really pulls you in

Posted 6 Years Ago

Hmm this sounds like it would be a good story as it develops. To me, it is a bit short and abrupt and doesn't fully do it justice just as it is. I would expound on it further with a story or a back story of the old man..

Posted 8 Years Ago

Good description of the old passenger. Just enough detail to give a picture without shoving it down the reader's throat. It would be the good start to a story, maybe the main character having other meetings with similar characters during his travels, only to find out, what? Maybe they're all Romanian cannibals, like the story the main character heard about. Ah, that sounds like the movie "Hostel," or maybe they are a secret group that have some profound knowledge to impart on those they feel are worthy. I don't know, but still, good writing on your part.

Posted 8 Years Ago

I liked this very much. 'stuffed suitcases like bloated frogs'. Lots of good descriptive phrases like this. I got a creepy feeling to your story also, but to me that means you achieved what you wanted. A short write I really enjoyed.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Interesting. I guess. The details were very much there and prominent, and I get a creepy vibe, yeah, but apart from that, I found myself not feeling it. -shrugs shoulders- Maybe that's just me, but I didn't hear, like, personality in the writing. Hm. Probably just me.
Nicely done, though.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Nice detailing!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Very well written. Kept me intrigued from beginning to end :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

I like the details you used, and forgive me if I'm completely off, but the second to last paragraph kind of made me think that the man might have been a ghost and that's why he disappeared when the narrator wasn't watching. I got a creepy vibe from it (since it's so close to Halloween), and even if you say it was just an exercise, it was a nice, brief read for me.

Posted 8 Years Ago

This is really good! Lovely detail (:

Posted 8 Years Ago

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13 Reviews
Added on October 26, 2011
Last Updated on October 29, 2011
Tags: fiction, literature, story, short



East coast

Been here since 2007. 20. East Coast. I dig ambient soundscape music and often write while listening to Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin. Don't be afraid to offer serious constructive criticism, .. more..

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