Left Behind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Harvey is taking a train to London to see his dad after his parents have split up. After falling asleep on the train, he awakes to find that something going right with the journey. Slowly as the events unfold, Harvey realises the grisly truth of what is about to happen.

Submitted: February 23, 2010

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Submitted: February 23, 2010

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I was due to board the train at ten past two. It was quite nerve-wracking to finally be here. It was quite a brisk morning in November. All the leaves were sludgy on the ground and I was glad that I was walking through the station and not outside in that. The rain was beating down quite heavily on the roof of the station. I could hear it pounding away. It felt like the glass was going to break at any moment. I heard the bong and a voice over the loudspeakers boomed

“Last call for those passengers boarding the fourteen ten train to London Euston. Please board now”

“That’s you dear. Go on, I’ll stay here like I promised behing the barrier” said mum to pushing me forward into the crowd. “Have a safe trip, and make sure that you text me when you arrive” she shouted as I began to get swallowed up by the throng of people clamouring to get onto the train. I blew another kiss, and waved to her before I stepped into the carriage.Now feeling better, I rolled my eyes and laughed out loud at mother’s ever predicatble behaviour. She had been doing the typical mothering things; she’d packed my bag, made sure I had an ample supply of food and magazines to keep me busy. I loved it really, but I obviously I could never let her know that!

I watched as people pushed past me, anxious to find a seat. I didn’t understand quite what the problem was. There was plenty of room for everybody. I could tell that there were enough seats just from glancing around at the carriage. There were empty seats everywhere. Realising the time I glanced furtively down at my ticket. I must admit that I was a bit nervous because this was the first long train trip that I had taken on my own. I looked at the coach letter on my ticket, and then up at the coach letter on the wall. I was in the wrong coach – typical. I turned to get off the train and walk down to the next carriage, but as I did the doors beeped and slid shut impeding my exit. I was stuck on the train now. I gave a sigh as I realised that I was going to have to walk through the carriage instead. I pressed the switch to open the door to the carriage and trundled slowly down the aisle, giving the occasional sheepish look around at the passengers. Most of us were people on their way to work from the looks of it, or heading to the city for shopping.

There were two people that I noticed in particular. There was a woman sat at a window table with her daughter. She was reading a Mr. Men book to her. She didn’t look like she could have been older than five or six this little girl, and she was loving the story. Her mother was a very pretty woman indeed. I smiled to myself, casting my mind back to the times when mum used to read children’s stories to me. Further down the carriage there was a man sat listening to my Ipod very loudly. I could make out the words to the Offspring track ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’. I was amazed that the man’s ear drums hadn’t blown off, it was so loud. By now I had reached the end of the carriage and pressed the button to go into the hallway beween the carriages. I’d never been on a virgin train before, just the regional trains with mum. Upon opening the door into the next carriage I got out my ticket from its little holder so I could see my seat number. ‘22A’ was on the ticket. I sauntered along the aisle until I saw the number on the back of the seat. There was a little card saying ‘reserved: Liverpool Lime St to London Euston’ on it. Glancing back, I figured that I was about halfway down the carriage. Luckily mum had booked me a window seat at a table. So far I had it all to myself, and I hoped that it stayed that way. I wasn’t really in the mood to make conversation with strangers.

With a judder, the train gave a gentle lurch and began its slow chug out of the station. Mum had respected my wishes and stayed behind the barrier so I didn’t get embarassed by seeing her wave to me from out of the window. Looking around again I realised that this carriage was pretty much empty, which suited I fine.

Sitting down, I put my bag on the seat next to me. That way people would find seats elsewhere first. I would move it if someone turned up for that seat but there was no reservation and I was adament in my mind that it would stay free. Opening my bag, I took out the spiderman magazine that mum had bought for me at the station. I tried my best to read it, but after ten minutes of my concentration lapsing I gave up. I rummaged around in my bag and was discontented with the rest of the books I’d brought. Sitting back defeatedly in my seat I smiled, knowing full well that the excitement of the journey had taken over me and my concentration was probably now lost completely until my arrival in London.

I was on my way to see my dad for the weekend. My parents had split up about four years ago. I had been upset at the time it had happened. We loved each other, but it had just reached a point where something had crumbled away in the relationship. All we could see now was each others faults. I had friends at school who had gone through the same thing, so I had people that I could talk to about it other than my parents. In fact I had chatted extensively with us over the subject. I felt that it had been hard for me because I was an only child. I guess I had started coming to terms with it now. I stayed with my mother during the week and saw my father at the weekend. It was always awkward when it came to saying goodbye. It always felt empty for me now, being in either of the houses with just one of my parents. My father had moved to the other side of the village that we lived in when the split happened. Recently though, he had been promoted in work and had to relocate to London – hence why I was on the train. I wished there was something that I could do to bring us back together. I still could not believe in my head that we did not love each other. Surely, we must miss each other? Sometimes I wondered if perhaps it was my fault that we had split up. Maybe I could have been better behaved.

Thinking back, I realised that I probably could have been nicer to my mum when I’d said goodbye. She just had this habit of worrying and fussing too much. However I was after all only a thirteen-year old boy taking a long journey on my own to the big city. She was probably warranted in fussing a little more this time. Feeling guilty, I got out my mobile and sent a short message to her;

Hi mum,

I’m sorry that I didn’t say goodbye to you properly. I’ll be back home before you know it. Love you!

Harvey xxx’

As I hit send I smiled, knowing that my mum would appreciate the thought.

“Can I see your ticket please, lad” boomed a big voice from over my shoulder. I jumped and then laughed at what I’d just done. As I turned my head I was now able to attach the voice to the person. There was a lovely big black lady towering over me, smiling sweetly. I was actually a bit scared by how tall she was. She must have reigned in at about six foot. That was very tall for a lady, but my mum had always taught me never to stare or point out things about people to us. I was only five foot seven at the moment, although my mum had told me that I would have a growth spurt soon.

“What?” I said, feeling rather bewildered.

“ Your ticket, honey. Can I see your ticket” she asked, chuckling at the innocence of the little boy sat in front of her.

“Sure” I replied, handing it to her. She checked it over and hummed slightly at the end. Glancing at me, she could see that I was quite nervous.

“Is this your first time going to the capital?” she asked.

“Yeah” I giggled. “How could you tell?” I don’t even know why I giggled, but there was something about this nice lady that seemed to calm me inside. It gave me a feeling that everything was going to be ok.

“Call it a mother’s intuition” she chuckled. “Don’t you worry, love. There’s nothing scary about it. You’re only on here for a couple of hours and this route rarely has any delays on it. I’ve got to finish the rounds now” she said, tapping the ticket machine strapped to her waist “but if you need anything just ask at the shop and we’ll radio Nora. That’s me by the way.” She tapped the little badge on her shirt that bore her name. I beamed up at her, now quite happy. “You take care now” she said. With that, she turned and trundled off further down the carriage – her ticket machine banging against her side as she went.

“Thanks” I shouted as she was getting towards the end of the carriage. She smiled and gave me a little wave as she pushed the button and disappeared into the corridor. I felt more at ease now that I knew I had a friend on board. I slumped in my seat, unable to get comfortable, a big grin still plastered on my face. Trains are really quite boring at times. I couldn’t even be bothered to look at the landscape, endlessly falling away past the edge of the window – I just wanted to get there. I was getting excited to see my dad now.

We stopped at Runcorn and Crewe first. I watched eagerly as the people got on at each stop, and a few got off. This was the only entertainment I seemed to be getting on this journey. The pretty woman had passed through with her daughter after Crewe to take her to the toilet. I watched us go so I could see how far away the toilet was from me. I was bound to need it at some point on this journey. I had also seen the guy with the really loud music pass through. There was a shop in the carriage next to me and he had bought himself a sandwich, or something hot. When he came back past my seat I definitely detected a smel of smell bacon emanating from the brown paper bag in his hand.I was content people-watching, but my journey was becoming ever-increasingly boring. I had been leaning against the window for almost an hour now. The left hand side of my face was nearly completely numb. I had slumped a bit and I was actually starting to feel quite tired, slouching there. There was nothing left to do now really until I arrived in London. I had given up on my comic, and eaten the few sweets that had been in my bag. Mum knew that I loved Sherbet Lemons. She had bought some earlier in the week and hidden us in my bag as a surprise for me to find on the train. I did love the little things like that which she did for me. I had also made sure to message my dad and let me know my arrival time. As I went over this through my head, the sounds of the train started to get quieter. My eyes were starting to cloud over and I was losing my thoughts. Slowly everything I was thinking about driftied to the back of my head. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep, with nothing but the whirring of the wheels and the gentle sway of the carriages.

I awoke in a cold sweat. I had heard a scream and a loud bang. I was panting and my breath felt cold. Taking a few gulps of air I realised that my mouth was completely dry. It felt like someone had been inside my throat with a fork. I looked around the carriage to see where it had come from, but was unable to locate the source. The carriage was virtually empty. I cast my mind back to try and remember what it was I had been dreaming about. I remembered a man standing over me. He was a dark figure. I remember he came closer to my face. He was muttering something that I couldn’t hear. The last thing I remember was him clamping his hand over my mouth and then I woke up. Glancing out of the window I saw that it was dark. I couldn’t believe how quickly it had descended on the day, I must have been asleep longer than I had thought. “We must be nearly there now?” I thought to myself. There was something uneasy in the air.Surely trains are never this empty going to London? I got up, sliding out from under the table and turned to look through to the next carriage. It was completely empty too. This was getting more puzzling by the minute. I turned around to get back into my seat and nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Sorry if I startled you” said the woman. It was the lady who had been with her daughter earlier. “It’s nice to finally find someone else on this damn train. I was beginning to just think that it was just me on here. Do you mind if I sit with you?” she asked. I went to reply, but then stopped as she had already swooped in and made herself comfortable in the seat opposite mine. She looked as nervous as I was. I just sat down, still confused about what was going on. She told me that her name was Tracy and that she was on her way home from visiting her parents up in Runcorn. Funnily enough, she never mentioned the little girl that she had been reading to. There was no way that it couldn’t have been her daughter? I thought this was a weird thing for her to neglect to say.

“Where is the little girl you were with before?” I asked, venturing to find some answers.

“Who?” said Tracy, staring blankly at me.

“The little girl that you were reading to when I got on the train” I replied, still pushing to find some answers. “You were reading to her from a book, I remember seeing it.”

“No, you’re mistaking me for someone else” she replied, gently. “I don’t have a daughter, and I have no books with me. All I bought was a magazine at the station”. She picked up her bag and rummaged around until she found the magazine she had been talking about. She pulled it ouf of her bag exclaiming “see…” but was cut short when from between the pages of the glossy magazine fell a small children’s Mr. Men book.

“I told you I wasn’t imagining it” I whispered in a slightly indignant tone, “this is getting weird”. The woman had now opened the book and was peering at the first page.

To Eva, with lots of love on your 5th birthday.

I love you so much. Love from mummy xxx

I leant across the table to read it. I managed to decipher the upside-down handwriting. “That’s you, isn’t it?” She couldn’t look at me but instead kept her eyes glued to the message whilst a slow look of horror crept over her face. A single tear formed at the edge of her eye and trickled slowly down her cheek.

“Yes” she stammered. “I remember now. I bought her some sweets at the station. She was pleading with me for us for ages and I just gave in after a while. I must have dozed off at the table. She must have wandered off somewhere.” She suddenly shot up from her seat. “Where is she? Where’s my baby!” She froze for a second, looking at me. “You have to help me. You have to help me find her. How could I forget that I had a daughter?”

“This is just getting really weird” I said, with a slight tremor in my voice.

“Let’s go, we have to find her now. We’ll split up.You go that way, and I’ll go this way” she said, setting off down the aisle towards the next carriage.

“Wait” I yelled after her. “The last time I saw you with her you took her to the toilet. That’s the other way. Let’s go.” I led the way and we set off at a good trot. It felt like it took forever to reach the end of the carriage. I frantically pushed the switch on the door and we ran into the corridor. Another switch and another door led us into the next carriage which had the shop in it. There was nobody at the till. It looked like the whole place was deserted. I wondered if there was any way that I could radio Nora from here? She would know what to do. Passing the shop we arrived at the toilet. I pushed the button and the door slid open.

“No” screamed Tracy. She fell to her knees, unable to contain herself any longer. She let forth a torrent of tears. I was beside myself, not knowing what to do or say to her. The last thing I remembered was seeing her in this carriage. It couldn’t have been that long ago, surely?

“I’m such a bad mother. I shouldn’t have fallen asleep and left her on her own. Now she’s lost and scared somewhere.” I spied something out of the corner of my eye. I moved round from the toilet and saw the guy. I couldn’t put my finger on why I knew him until I saw his headphones. Then I realised that it was the guy who’d been listening to ‘The Offspring’ really loud earlier on.

“Come on” I said, tugging at Tracy’s arm. “Let’s go and see if this guy knows anything”. I pulled her up off the floor, her face still smothered in tears. We reached the guys seat and could see that he was asleep against the window. I shook his shoulders with my hand and he shot up from his seat and screamed into the air.

“What the hell kid” he said, clearly scared out of his wits. “You frightened the hell out of me” he said, looking around the carriage and realising that it was empty. “Are we at the station then? Are we there yet?”

“You mean, London?” I asked.

“Yeah, we should have got there by now, shouldn’t we?” said the guy, “I must have been asleep longer than I thought”. With a sharp lurch the train started to pick up speed. I rushed to the window and frantically tried to see out of it. It was so dark and I could make out nothing. I looked back at the other two and saw that they could see no better than I could.

“Let’s go and speak to the driver or the guard and see what’s going on” I piped up. “Maybe they can make sense of this all for us”. The other two nodded their heads in agreement as we started heading our way down the train. Reaching the end of the carriage, I pushed the button and we went into the corridor. Another button push and we were standing at the beginning of the next carriage.

“I can see the driver’s door” I shouted. “It’s about three carriages down from here.” I started running, not caring now if the others were following me or not. All the carriages were empty. I ran through the next carriage, and then through the next one. I glanced back to see if the others were keeping up with me. They were actually pretty close behind me. I turned my focus back to where I was going and reached the door at the end of the carriage. I gave a sharp gasp. I couldn’t understand how it was possible. It didn’t even make logical sense in my head. I was standing at the door, and the drivers door should have been at the end of the next carriage. I blinked twice, just to make sure that I wasn’t seeing things. It shouldn’t have been, but the driver’s door was still three carriages away from me.

“Why have you stopped” said Tracy, catching up with me. She leant on the side of the chair catching her breath.

“Something’s wrong” I said. “We haven’t moved from this carriage. The driver’s door is still just as far away from here”.

“What?” Said Tracy, looking confusingly at me.

“That doesn’t make sense” said the guy. I had overheard what I had said as I was catching up with us. “We’ve ran three carriages from the shop” he said, gesturing back with his arm. The woman screamed making the two of us jump. She didn’t say a word but just stood their trembling. By now the train was hurtling along, the carriages swaying harder and harder. We all swayed from side to side, trying to hold our balance.

“What’s the matter, Tracy” I said, gently tugging at her arm. She couldn’t bring herself to say any words or draw her eyes from the door leading to the carriage we had just come from. Her arm was raised and pointing at the door. I gave a gasp and an overwhelming feeling came over me. Sweat started to break out all over my forehead and I became terribly itchy. I must have blacked out for a second. There was a loud sound piercing through my ears. A harsh siren that blared away, crushing my brain inside my head. It went as quickly as it came and I awoke on the floor.

“Are you ok?” asked the guy, helping me back to my feet.

“I’m fine” I replied, shaking myself off. I looked up and gasped as I realised what Tracy was pointing at. She was pointing at the carriage that we had just run through. It was the one next to the shop. We had run through three carriages, and yet seemingly moved nowhere. This was just getting too weird for me now, and I was starting to get scared. I didn’t need to think twice. I whipped out my mobile phone and hit the speed-dial number for my mum’s mobile.

“There’s no service” I said, with tears starting to form in my eyes. “What is happening to us. Why is there no one on this train but us, and why can’t we seem to move anywhere”.

“This train is going far too fast” said the man. We all stood there, holding onto seats, clutching on for dear life as the train sped up.

“I remember that…” I paused in the middle of my sentence.

“What, what do you remember” said the woman, looking frantically at me.

“I heard screaming when I was sleeping”I said, trying to take myself slowly back over the events we had been through. “There was definitely a scream, but there were lots of other loud noises. It was horrible. I don’t remember seeing anything, but I woke up with the most horrible, empty feeling. It was as if I had relived something horrible that had happened to me in the past…” I paused in my tracks. With a jolt we were all thrown to the floor as the brakes slammed on and the train started slowing down. When it got slow enough we were able to pull ourselves up off the floor and stand up again. Tracy and the guy turned to look at me. My face was blank and expressionless. I had a feeling that I probably looked pale and gaunt to them, stood there in the doorway of the carriage.

“What is it” said the man. “What do you know?” I went to answer the man but was cut short as the woman let out a faint cry. As we turned to see what it was she had seen, we saw it ourselves. We were coming into London. Suddenly, bright light started streaming in through the window, getting brighter by the second – we were here. I couldn’t believe that we were actually coming into London now. Slowing down now, the train started easing its way into the station. Itjuddered to a halt, bumping gently against the bumper at the end of the station. Looking out of the window, we saw a sign proclaiming ‘London Euston’ outside of the window.

“Let’s go” I said, calmly making my way towards the door to the hallway.

“What, no. We can’t? We can’t leave until we find my daughter” howled Tracy, now with a fresh wash of tears forming on her face.

“No” I said quite abruptly. I realised that she didn’t understand yet and took a softer tone. “You won’t find her on this train. Don’t you see what’s happened yet?” She stared up at me showing me clearly in her face that she had no idea still what was going on. The guy was standing there motionless with tears slowly forming at his eyes. He looked up slowly and formed a weak smile on his face. I knew what was going on. How could we not have seen it yet? I suddenly felt very mature for a thirteen year-old boy. I wiped the tears from my eyes and then pulled Tracy to her feet. She had no idea what was going on but reluctantly allowed herself to be led with us to the hallway. I pushed the button and the door swung open. We moved out and stood in the hallway. There was only one door now between us and the platform. I was trying my best to be strong. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I think I was following my instincts. I reached out my arm, and slowly put my finger on the button to the door. I was so scared of what might happen when I pressed it. There were so many questions that hadn’t been answered yet for me. More than anything I just wanted to see my mum and my dad one last time.

‘Swwwwsssshhhhh’ went the door as I finally gave in and applied pressure to the switch. It slid open and we could see the station, washed in a bright white light. The three of us slowly spilled out onto the platform. I looked back from the way that we had come into the station. I couldn’t see the end of the station, it just seemed to stretch on forever. I looked toward the other end, but the light was too harsh for me to see the end of the station. I ventured towards it, wanting to explore and see where this journey would end.

“What’s going on?” said Tracy, now realising that something had happened to the three of them.

“Please, walk with me” I pleaded, slowly holding my hand out to her. “I’m scared”. My bottom lip was trembling slightly as I spoke. She walked over to me and took my hand.

“It’s ok Harvey, I’m here. I still don’t know what’s going on though”. Her face was all moist and stained from her crying. The guy was stood on the other side of me. I was standing very tall and trying not to give away that I was scared as hell. I told Tracy what had happened. I could see it all clearly now. She still couldn’t remember the crash. I don’t know what happened. I just remembered screaming. There was a smell of burning in the air. I had been lying there. I turned my head and I could see the train. It was all derelict and lying in pieces. The dark figure was standing over me, only he was clearer now. I could see from his uniform that he was a paramedic. I remembered in my final moment before I woke up that he had put an oxygen mask over my mouth and uttered “You’re going to be ok”.

We were walking towards the light now. Tracy was crying faintly, and the guy was slowly crumbling next to me. I don’t know why I remembered it more vividly than the others did. I don’t even think I wanted to know, anyway. I threw my arms around Tracy and hugged her tightly, wishing that it was my mother’s arms hugging me back. She put her face opposite mine and looked at me smiling.

“I’m glad that I’m not on my own” she whispered, glancing up at the guy too. With that, I felt the tears welling up inside me. I was now truly terrified of whatever was about to happen. “Oh my God” she exclaimed in horror. I spun around to look at the guy. He looked completely different now. His clothes were all torn and there was blood forming around his feet. I could see cuts on his arm and there was a great hole in his leg. He was runninghis fingers along the cuts. looking up he smiled through his tears.

“It doesn’t hurt anymore” he said. It was so surreal to see him looking like that so suddenly. I looked down and was horrified to see that I was now looking similar. There was a hole right where my stomach should have been. I poked my finger through it and looked at it over my back. It was so unreal to be doing this. The tears were surging faster and faster down my face now. I turned to look at Tracy. Her face had a big chunk missing from it. We whipped round as we heard the train start up. Before we could even make a move, it had started pulling out of the station. It looked like we were stuck here now with no way to go but forwards.

“Let’s go”, said the guy. “We have no business staying here anymore”. I nodded, but could not help myself from crying harder still. Tracy had stopped now, and put her arm around me. The guy took my hand in his and slowly started to lead us forward. The light was all around us now and formed a pale smoke that crept in around our legs.

“What’s going to happen?” Said Tracy. There was a slight tremor in her voice. That was to be expected as none of us had any idea what was going to happen.

“I don’t know”, replied the man. We continued walking forwards and I could feel that we were getting fainter. The smoke was now upto our waists and swirling around us.

“I’m sorry” said the woman into the air. She was repenting for all the things she felt that she had done bad. “Please be safe, Eva”. I wondered if maybe Eva would hear what Tracy was saying.

“I love you, Mum. I love you, Dad” I screamed, hoping to God that my parents would be able to hear me somehow. I hoped that they weren’t suffering. Perhaps me dying would bring them closer together. I remembered someone telling me once that you don’t realise how much you love something, until you lose it. Slowly, I felt the guys hand fade from mine – it just disappeared. I felt the Tracy’s arm lift from my shoulder. I was just on my own now and I could feel my body fading fast now. As the sight finally extinguished from my eyes – I smiled, one last time. I smiled so I could feel it on my face and take it with me, as my final memory.


© Copyright 2018 Robert J Southworth. All rights reserved.

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