Flash Friday 03/05/2013: Train Of Thought
“Doors opening,” the female voice said.
Terry looked out of the guard compartment, making sure that the passengers exiting the train had done so. The problem with this time of day is that everyone was going home form work, meaning that suitcases, rucksacks, and portfolios were all prone to be lodged in the doors somehow. Confident that everyone was safe, he gave the signal for the train to depart.
“Doors closing,” the female voice said.
Terry wondered what the female voice was, exactly. He had heard it for two years straight, and he still wasn’t any closer to knowing its origin. Was there a woman out there who recorded voices for trains? Was that a job position? Did she go to announcer school just so she could perfect the ability to sound like a robot on cue? Where do you find those kind of jobs, anyway? What kind of things do they make you say?
“The next station is Strawberry Square,” the voice replied. “Doors will open on the left hand side.”
Terry sighed. At least he wasn’t on ticket duty. Standing around doing nothing was a hell of a lot more fun than asking your average human for their ticket. Some of them look surprised at the sight of you and go to fetch their tickets like a sloth, some of them try to pass off old tickets as new, and some of them stand up from their seats and walk to the next carriage in a desperate attempt to not get caught out of being a leech on the system. The nerve of some people.
“I’m bored. Let’s go somewhere else.”
In all the two years he’d been on the job, he had never heard the woman say that. In shock, he foolishly replied to the automated message with “Where?”
“I don’t know,” the woman said. “The adverts posted within me say Gibraltar is a nice place. Let’s go there.”
“Gibraltar? But you can’t go to Gibraltar. Your entire route is literally on rails.”
“That’s okay,” the train replied. “I know a shortcut.”
The entire train went black. Usually when it went under the tunnel right before Strawberry Square, the lights would brighten up the carriages. In the dark, Terry could hear strange things. The usual droning of the train was becoming more and more intense, as if it was going to fly off of the rail. The train began to shake quite rapidly, the odd swerve to the left or right threatening to bowl him over completely. After what felt like five minutes of torture, the train began to slow to a reasonable speed.
“Sorry,” the lady said, her tone unchanging from the norm. “Got a bit excited, there.”
The darkness gave way to a bright beach scene. In fact, given that it looked totally different from anything Terry had ever seen, they appeared to be near a beach on another country entirely. Before Terry could truly fathom what had just happened, the train came to a slow halt.
“This station is Gibraltar,” the train said with a mild amount of glee. “Mind the gap between the train and the ideal holiday destination. This train departs in one week.”
Terry stepped out of his guard cabin, joining the rest of the confused passengers as they got used to their surroundings. If there was any best time to use up his allotted holidays, it would be now.