[Last Train to Geelong, 1,026 words, Genre: Realistic Fiction]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
It was midnight when Edward finished his shift at work. He was working in Melbourne, but lived in Geelong. He had found out that the last train back to Geelong left at one thirty in the morning. He hadn’t been offered that much work of late, so he decided to take the shift. It was only a short shift, five hours in total. He had figured that after the cost of public transport and the taxi from the station to his home it would still be worth it. Even if he was being paid minimum wage.
The shift ended. He was able to catch a lift towards Melbourne’s city centre and after that, it was a twenty minute walk to the train station. He was still half an hour early for the train so he stood by and waited, smoking cigarettes and looking at the remnants of the day’s people. There were plenty of homeless out and about. Sleeping underneath the covers of buildings. Snuggled in so that if it rained they would not have to suffer further.
At the train station there was a homeless man being pestered by a middle aged Asian woman. He did not catch the entirety of the conversation, but the man was mentally losing it. The homeless man, Edward concluded, was suffering from some form of mental illness. He kept on repeating himself, “You have no idea what is on that train!” Calling it out, screaming it out, “You have no idea what’s on that train!” And the woman wouldn’t leave him alone. She obviously wanted to know what was on that train, but wouldn’t catch it. So in the end the homeless man walked away with the woman trailing after him. Calling out, “Leave me alone woman!”
The nearby convenience store was closed for the night. But Edward was gathering up a thirst. So he found a drink dispenser machine instead. He ordered a lemonade from the machine, but instead received a bottled iced coffee. He walked down to the train station with iced coffee in hand. The train was waiting at the station, so he hopped in. There were not many people on it. Drunks, teenage delinquents and the odd night shift worker such as himself. Edward found himself a seat and then opened up the iced coffee, drinking its contents.
The train went by smoothly. The train’s supervisor, the one who checked tickets, locked herself inside the train control station. She was not going to check tickets for fear of angering some drunk or some other form of confrontation.
As the train rolled on. The teenage delinquents found themselves in some form of confrontation. Arguing with one another. Coming into some argument. Edward didn’t know about what, something petty, something delinquent-like.
Most of the passengers got up out on Wyndham Vale station. One of the passengers, when he exited stated, “This train’s farked!” Before leaving. Only some were staying on for the rest of the ride. The train supervisor, a middle aged woman, perhaps in her sixties, went over to find out what was going on. Edward turned to her and asked if she needed any help.
To which she replied, “No, it should be fine.”
She came back and explained that it was just some of the kids arguing and she seemed to diffuse the situation. She locked herself back up into the train control room.
The train rolled on. And then another situation seemed to develop. One of the teenagers, a young indigenous girl, came up and started knocking on the control room, looking for the train supervisor. The train supervisor came out of the control room. There was another man seated somewhere down the carriage. And the supervisor stopped and explained the situation to him.
Edward’s blood was pumping, he wanted to know what was going on. He looked down the carriages, but his vision wasn’t fifty/fifty, he couldn’t make out things from afar. So he got up out of his seat and started slinking down the train carriage. In an attempt that if the supervisor required assistance, he would be there to assist.
He went down through the train carriage and when he came to the other man that remained seated, he asked him, “What did she say to you?”
Edward took a seat opposite him, the man responded, “Oh, there’s a man shooting up there. Don’t know what, could be heroin or it could be shard. This is the second night I’ve taken this train and things just seem to be getting worse. The other night there was a fight and now this.”
“No,” Edward responded, “Things are just the same as they’ve always been. Things have always been bad.”
The man flashed him a grin. Within that grin lay vampire fangs. Not the sort of cheap ones. They could be ceramic, Edward didn’t really know what they were. But they had an entrancing effect. “Nice teeth.” Edward stated.
“Well, I’m from Wales.” The man replied.
“Well, that explains the teeth I guess.” Edward countered.
They briefly conversed on their lives. The supervisor went to an emergency phone on the train and called in the situation over the emergency phone-line.
The train passed some of the other stations and then Edward continued to converse with the man with vampire teeth. “I was just wondering,” Edward stated, “If we should go up there and help her out.”
“Yes, well if we hear anything we should.”
“I guess it’s better if she goes. I mean, if we were to approach the situation the junkie might see it as a threat and lash out.”
The train finally arrived at Geelong station. Edward saw that there were police officers waiting on the platform. Edward had to get up early for work the next morning, so, he figured the police could handle whatever happened from there.
It was one of those situations that only police officers could handle. An argument here or there, maybe sorting out a fist fight. But throw in what could be a vampire and Edward realized he was not on any pay roll. So better off the police handle those sort of things.