The Emptiest Station

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

"He looks around the room, but finds he is alone, just as he always will be; neither a body nor soul in sight—but there’s soon to be both."

Submitted: February 04, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 04, 2018



A/N: I wrote this for an English essay with the prompt: 'the emptiest station is the most dangerous', or something along those lines. I was also doing a history project on the industrial schools at the time, so it's not too favourable towards religion. It involves death and homosexuality, and I think I call god a dictator at some point during it, so if that's not your cup of tea, I'd do a U-turn and avoid reading this. But if you do decide to give it a go, I hope you get something out of it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks! :) 

Death’s bitter scent dominates the stifling air. It hangs and looms, its pressing weight a constant burden upon the shoulders of those who have already lost too much: a brother, an uncle; a father, a son—but not a holy spirit: though a ghost, his soul will suffer eternal damnation for the heinous sins he has committed—the very crimes of the lone figure seated in the darkened corner of the emptying church.

The man sits in silence, having not once moved since he arrived late for the ceremony, with his clothes and hair wet from the rain, his face from tears. Blurry-eyed, he stares stoically ahead of him, his gaze as cold as the lifeless breeze that surrounded him all morning. He'd watched as others scurried to escape the cold, scrambling to take sanctuary within the looming fortress. He, however, felt no such need, for all of his senses were overpowered by the suffocating sensation of sorrow that permeated the stone walls, lining the faces of anyone who dared to enter. Inside, teary eyes reflected the scene now before him: limp flowers lining the aisle, leading to an ornate altar that only moments ago hosted a decorated priest, upon whom gullible eyes and feeble minds rested, desperate to know that there was more awaiting them than this—this body, this life, this existence, where a funeral is not about the dead, but about the living.

He’d have hated this, the man can’t help but think, averting his gaze from the greyish glass of the grand window in disgust. None of this would’ve been his choosing. He’d have wanted brightness and vibrancy; colours and hues that clashed and collided, leaving chaos in their wake—not the dim dullness of this chapel, or the perfectly pampered plot of land that is to be his final place of rest. All of this is wrong: the church, the flowers, the grievous gathering of strangers carrying his casketed carcass to his confinement. He’d have wanted his name traced onto the sand, not carved into a stone; he’d have wanted the ragged weeds of the dunes surrounding him, not weeping roses. The cries should be from the gulls and the whispers from the wind, with the only tracks being of footprints in the sand before they’re washed away into the frothy waves, being consumed along with his ashes and his name and all memory of him. There, he’d be at peace, with not a worry in the world he has abandoned; anywhere and nowhere all at once. 

The perfect resting place.

A lurking figure passes by the altar, breaking the man from his reverie. The outline’s head is bowed in obedience, his cloak trailing meekly behind him along the floor, like the tail of a chastised dog. The man watches as he passes, remembering his sombre air and solemn face as he preached from his glorified fables. He played his part well, hiding his indifference behind a façade of comforting gestures and consolatory words, speaking fondly of the deceased as though he knew him from Adam when he didn’t know him at all. No one did, not the real him.

No one knew how he hoped for an escape and dreamed of a different life; how he feared others’ judgement and was ashamed of his own desires, and how it was a mixture of all these that led to his untimely but timed end: it was 19:07 when the man received the text, nonsensical with its strings of random symbols interrupting the words typed before he was thrown headfirst through the windscreen. Both man and machine were destroyed upon impact, along with his hopes and dreams and fear of being found out. For now, their little secret will remain.

Just as he always wanted.

The lowly figure disappears around the corner, plunging the man into solitude yet again. He wonders at the priest, so lost in his own worship of the one who has caused others nothing but pain and guilt. Even now, he finds himself wondering if the offer of support and guidance through these ‘dark times’ applies to him, one who has sinned most gravely?

A sneer breaks the man’s stoic features, his scowl deepening. Of course, the catholic guilt drilled into him at youth would have him referring to his love as a sin, as though caring deeply for another could ever be considered wrong or unholy; a crime against nature. They were forced to conceal their relationship, meeting up in out-of-town motels and deleting messages the second they were finished reading them, all to keep their shameful love between themselves; away from the judgmental eyes of others.

Our little secret.

Abruptly, the man rises from his seat and stalks down the aisle, unable to quell the sudden rage within him. Standing before the altar, he glares at the audacious wealth. Why should it be a secret? He thinks, wondering who has the right to judge and condemn a man like this: concealed in the natural state of death, his true nature hidden in life. There’s nothing natural about the work of this so-called deity: his followers’ respect has been forced, his power based on terror; his places of worship were built by slaves and reek of arrogance and entitlement. Eyeing the flamboyant richness, the man shakes his head in disgust. All this for a man who let his own son die when he had the power to save him.

And such a dictator we are meant to honour.

Rage like none other tears through the man, the primal urge to rip apart the altar barely suppressible. Taking a deep breath, he steps back, needing to distance himself from the excessive wealth. So many jewels, so much extravagance; too many secrets and lies that linger and loom, disguised so long as the truth that they've become credible.

A flicker of light out of the corner of his eye catches the man’s attention. He turns in its direction, being graced with just one wink before it fades away, along with the hiding sun. The golden frame blends back into the background, just one of the fourteen that conceal themselves in the darkest corners of the church, spending their days unnoticed. The man finds himself stepping closer to the small icon, his legs eating up the distance with surprising speed, his footsteps echoing around the silent air. When he comes within viewing range, he abruptly stops, memories of the laughter of his fellow students at the story and images ambushing him unexpectedly and sending a chill down his spine.

Blood. Death. Pain. Sorrow. Just some of the words that come to mind upon the sight of the battered, lifeless body that hangs from the wood.

If you don’t sin, Jesus died for nothing.

A sneer curls the corners of his lips at the reminder of the phrase they used to use in jest, as though there could ever be something amusing about agonising pain and suffering, whether fictional or not. Seeing the hanging victim, the man can’t help but wonder what it was all for; why he did it. He sacrificed himself to absolve mankind of their sins, yet he has been a sinner for as long as he can remember. If he can’t live a pure life, what became of the sacrifice?


Nothing gained, but an innocent life lost.

The circle of life.

He steps closer to the image, taking in the mostly empty scene: the large wooden cross stands tall in the centre, harshly constructed and a burden to carry; on it, the lifeless body of the Lord hangs, alone in his suffering, his empty eyes staring out at the room and showing anyone who dares to look the weight of his sacrifice. Never has a painting captured such emotion in each brushstroke; such pain and sorrow in its colours and hopelessness in its empty backdrop. And yet, there remains a serenity about it; a type of faith lingering in its lines. To the man, he seems at peace, like the betrayal and turmoil he had to face to get here would be worth it if it helped others.

And what if it was? He thinks of the people at the church today, of how they truly believed in the preacher’s purple prose: that his death absolved all sins and saved all people. He sacrificed himself for the good of mankind and gave people hope and strength, changing the course of their lives and providing them with a destiny; a different path to follow. A new eternal fate— for anyone: body or soul.

And all it would cost is a little sacrifice.

The frame winks at him again. Our little secret.

The man takes a step back, away from the station and the thought, both just as dangerous as the other. It is the emptiest station that is the most dangerous.

It’s only dangerous because it makes sense, the hanging form says to him; it’s only empty because you don’t like what’s there. The voice eats up the distance between them, slithering through the air with its persuasive and tantalising tongue. He stumbles back, needing distance from the seed that has just been planted; the forbidden fruit that tempts him. His hip knocks against a solid form, a piercing pain accompanying the thundering crash that shatters around him. He startles, turning in its direction and shattering alongside it when he finds himself staring into the vacant eyes of his only love.

The man’s legs give out; he crumbles to the glittering floor, kneeling amongst the broken pieces of his love, dead and cold and gone because of him - because of their secret; their grave secret. Soon to be our secret grave.

He stares into the glassy eyes of the broken bust, tears streaming his cheeks. The orbs beckon to him, call for him, pleading for his help; but there’s nothing he can do: he cannot change his fate in this world—but he can sacrifice his own in the next.

The man looks away from the penetrating eyes, feeling as though someone is watching him. He looks around the room, but finds he is alone, just as he always will be; neither a body nor soul in sight—but there’s soon to be both. A laugh escapes him: he always liked my dark sense of humour.

Picking up a shattered piece of the bust, the man looks around the room. The jewels and wealth no longer cause him anger, he realises as he sits down amongst the shards with his back to the wooden table; though he didn’t expect them to. It is as it is, he finds himself thinking, raising his hand above his chest; there’s nothing that can be done about it now.

And with that thought in mind, he plunges the shattered piece of his love into his chest, and takes their little secret to its promised place.

© Copyright 2018 smircle. All rights reserved.

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