clock strikes midnight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
the events that take a place on a strange night for an unsuspecting man

Submitted: September 17, 2012

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Submitted: September 17, 2012

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The clock strikes midnight. The piercing chime goes straight through me like an electric current.

The return to silence reminds me of how alone I am. There is something strangely familiar about this night; it seems as if I have been here doing this before!

I sit motionless, stiffly upright on a cold, wooden bench engraved with the words R.I.P John Snow.

The name, it haunts me, I feel it somehow has relevance to my life, almost as if it is not just a memorial to a person I don’t know.

A pressure, ever building, has now consumed my body. The mere utterance of this name fills me with an untainted anxiety, one which seemingly eradicates all natural instincts and leaves me helpless to my environment.

The smell of burning coal arouses my senses, it takes me to a time  where everything made sense, a time when time was a reality and not just an idea or theory that seems to bare no relevance.

The cool chill on my neck as the wind blows reminds me of a time in which I didn’t feel so invisible, where people’s looks actually hit me, rather than burning straight through me. 

I remember, on my 40th birthday, I was avidly fussed over and attended to. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” was sung joyfully to me by my loved ones. It appeared I hadn’t a care in the world. This time seems distant now, and growing more so as my feelings of being alone escalate.

As the time nears half past, people I have seen before fill the platform. Colleagues and companions fail to hear my greetings. They disregard me, totally unaware of my existence and whereabouts.

Frustration is now growing so I decide on a whim to confront someone. Paul, the head of accounting at the firm I work at and also my secret Santa in this year’s Christmas festivities walks straight past me, and in not so unusual fashion he ignores me. I reach for his shoulder. My heart stops as he disregards my actions. He shrugs me of effortlessly as if I don’t even exist.

The train, long and dark pulls slowly into the station. With a loud hoot and puff of steam it stops ready for boarding.

I am immediately drawn to carriage 12, and feel inclined to enter, like there is some unworldly force that is pulling me toward it.

Once inside the carriage, my senses are assaulted with a profound realisation that I had done this before. But how? What was it about this platform, this night, this train, this name?

Anxiety and frustration levels have reached new heights now. I am being ignored as if I am the ‘unpopular’ child on a play ground during side selection for football teams. Even the ticket collector fails to notice me.

The train departs, pulling eerily into the oncoming darkness. A thick fogg has settled and distorts my vision of the surrounding area, it makes me feel as if I have lost control of my senses and am travelling blind into the unknown. I struggle to see into the distance, what would be rolling fields and colourful landscape has been replaced with outwardly bleak shadows and a wall of obscurity.

I wonder, how in such complete and total darkness, is it possible for the train to travel safely and completely assured that nothing bad can happen...

Brakes squeal! Sparks fly as metal skids uncontrollably against the track! 100 tonnes of steel carrying over 200 passengers derailed and thrown into the verge! Bang!

An explosion and infusion of both light and sound overwhelms the train. Shock waves are sent frivolously through the interior carriages, forcing me into my chair. In this split second everything fades to darkness.

Cries, shrills and screams echo carriage to carriage. People and their luggage are thrown around indiscriminately, as if they are rag dolls to dogs. Not me however I remain firmly upright in my seat…

The facial expressions of passengers as the light flickers tell of a burning pain, so adulterated that the only and best option from that point on is simply death. The eyes of children, flung carelessly away from their parents show such deep despair. Their glances, almost begging me to help, are enough to unsettle even the toughest and most callous of characters.  I do not feel this pain or despair however; I remain firmly upright in my seat…

It’s as if this train is victim to some sort of sacrificial offering as people are slaughtered and left suffering incessant amounts of pain. As the train looses structure and is ripped to shreds, shards of metal and other untamed objects attack passengers frantically.

The kind of savage accidents passengers are facing are somewhat reminiscent of the way a group of lioness would assault their unsuspecting pray after a time of famine. Tearing limb from limb, sparing nothing in its way! Blood is thrown across the carriage, painting pictures, almost depicting the events occurring simultaneously. Not mine however; I remain intact, sat firmly upright in my seat…

Why am I immune to this pain and anguish felt by so many others, why has this train crash played no effect on me?

As I ask myself these questions, the answers automatically come to me.

I now realise why I felt so alone and invisible, why certain things tonight had triggered my senses and called on memory’s and why that name, that name on that memorial bench, on that platform, opposite carriage 12 seemed to have such meaning.

John Snow, I was John Snow.

 


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