Friday, December 5, 2014

FridayFlash #63: Daily Commute

I found this one very disturbing. Consider yourself forewarned.


As she watched the train approach the station she wondered what it would be like to step in front of it. Her life was good, she had no reason or particular interest in ending it beyond curiosity. In her mind she could see it all play out. She could hear the screams of the bystanders, the shriek of the breaks being applied full force. She studied the train with an air of calculation. This one would be a good one to do it with. Different drivers approached the station at varying speeds. Most slowed down, some so much even a child could cross in front without any real risk of injury. But this driver was flying at a rate so fast the people crowded closest to the tracks would be forced backwards by the wind, even as they tried to remain blasé and unaffected.

She could do it. One long stride, well timed, and she’d be flying along the front of the train. That timing was important. She didn’t want to be standing on the tracks and be hit. Nor did she want to fall and be run over. Both of those would be a gory mess of pain. She wanted to fly. Like a figurehead on the front of a ship. A commuter’s banner. The unknown working woman, waiting on the tracks with all the other lemmings. Presumably once the train did slow to a halt, these commuters would be held up at least a few minutes. The driver would have to undergo paperwork and counselling – she wasn’t sure which was worse. Everybody else on the train would have a story to tell their friends and loved ones. “A woman jumped in front of my train at Barrie!” Her life would mean nothing, but her death would provide a few minutes of entertainment before being shrugged off as yesterday’s news. It was the people on the trains after her that would resent her. All the following trains would be late and their passengers would not have a good story to tell. But still, it’d be little more than a commuter’s grumble.

She could jump. Just to do it, break the rules and see what happened. But then there was the very real possibility she’d end up dead. Or worse – seriously hurt. And she had no interest in that. She had children she loved – Jamie, her youngest, had just started kindergarten. Her husband and her family would be upset, and it would haunt him forever that he couldn’t understand why. How could he, when there was no reason? No reason at all. No reason she had to be the one to give the commuters a story. Not when there were so many others who could do the same. She looked casually around the platform. There were no cameras. She watched the train approach. Calculating. And when she deemed the moment right, she jostled forwards abruptly -- as though she'd been shoved. Crashing hard into the unfortunate lemming in front of her.

The woman didn't fly. She didn't even scream. It was more of a crunch really as only the top half of her intercepted the train. There was moment of stunned silence before the chaos on the platform kicked in.

A few people rushed to the aid of the woman. She considered doing the same -- she had basic first aid training after all -- but really, how much could she do that they weren't already doing? She overheard a couple of people on the phone with 911. Some commuters simply waited in their spots for the doors to open, pointedly ignoring the chaos surrounding them. If they didn't participate, it wasn't happening. But the ones who really appalled her were the people who pulled out their cell phones -- what kind of person would take pictures of something like that?

A senseless death. The kind of tragedy that makes you remember to appreciate the important things in life. So with that in mind, she decided to take the day off and go pick up her children from school. Perhaps they'd take the dog to the playground. They'd love that. Commuting could wait till tomorrow.