The train’s whistle was piercing.
A young boy of only eight years old looked up from the hospital bed he lay in. He knew his mother and father would be very cross with him if he were to get up, not that it mattered, it had been months since he felt any strength to do anything. But this night something was different. The boy closed his eyes trying to get back to sleep, but the train’s whistle wouldn’t allow it. The boy stood up and walked to the window of the hospital room. The floor was cold and the air was dry.
Curiously the boy looked outside through the thick glass. He saw the sky, the ground, things he had not seen in some time. It was now that it hit the boy that he had enough strength to walk and get out of bed. Overjoyed, the child rushed over to his mother, sleeping in a chair nearby, he was so excited to show her that he was walking again.
He stopped before he woke her. She slept with deep worry carved throughout her face. The boy thought twice and decided he would let his beloved mother sleep through the night and he would tell her of his success tomorrow. The boy slowly and quietly made his way back to the bed. A rush of horror struck him as he approached the bed, he gasped, someone was in his bed!
Fear flooded over the child’s body, who would do such a thing as to steal a bed from a sick boy? He crept up to this intruder, trying to be as brave as he saw his mother and father be for the past nine months. The boy, in a very bold way, thought that if he could fight off cancer, this bed trespasser would be the smallest of worries.
The train kept whistling. Louder and louder.
Creeping up to this intruder the boy held his breath. He looked down at the person in his bed and saw something that made the boy scream. He saw himself asleep in his own hospital bed.
The boy’s pulse began to race as the train whistling got louder and louder.
“Mommy!” the boy screamed, but his mother must have been in a deep enough sleep that she didn’t wake.
The boy rushed to his mother’s side and went to shake her, but found every time he tried to touch her she felt just like water. He could feel her, but would pass right through anyhow.
It had to just be a bad dream the boy thought. A night terror. He pinched himself to wake up, but nothing happened. He began to cry wishing that his mother would just wake up and rock him in her arms and tell him it was okay.
The train got louder. The boy went to the window to see if his father was outside having a cigarette. Maybe he could get his father’s attention. The boy got up onto the window pane and looked around furiously. What the boy found was not his father.
The train continued to get louder and the boy then realized that he had to be dreaming, for now he could see the train.
The train was massive. A very old looking locomotive steam engine that road on tracks of fire. The train itself looked completely solid like any other train, but at the same time looked as transparent as mist. It was a black engine, and from the smoke stack came thick black smoke.
The boy felt nervous as the train issued one last ear-splitting whistle as it came to a stop in front of the boy’s window. All was still for what felt like an eternity and then finally the side door opened and a man stepped out.
The man wore a blue suit, white gloves and a conductors hat. His face was hidden by the shadows of his hat.
“All aboard” the man said in a gruff but comforting voice as he reached his hand out to the boy.
The boy felt compelled to reach out and grab the conductors hand. Then, just like magic, the boy glided through the window pane of his hospital room and grabbed the conductors hand.
Suddenly inside the room machines began beeping all around the boy and before he could think another thought, nurses and doctors were around his body that still laid in the bed. They were pushing on his chest, and checking all sorts of machinery that the boy didn’t really understand. What he did understand at last was that his mother was now awake and crying.
“Mom!” the boy shouted.
“It’s okay” the conductor said in a rough but sweet voice, “It happens to us all.”
The boy looked down and saw that he was floating now over seven stories from the ground. He looked up at the conductor, who he could see now had a face that was as grey as stone, and seemed to be missing parts of skin. He was a monster, but the boy could do nothing but trust him.
“My name is Victor, son.” he said, “Victor Wallace. It’s time to go, my boy, the train is leaving.”
The boy couldn’t hold back his tears anymore. He couldn’t bare to see his mother cry, and for the first time ever, he wanted to rock her in his arms.
“It won’t be any easier for ya if ya keep on watching her.” Victor said, “C’mon, my boy.”
The boy stepped onto the train, and with another deafening whistle, the train had begun to move.
“Time of death: 03:26” said a nurse.