Flash Fiction – The Train


The people walk in grim silence. Their clothes are plain and their faces hold no expression. They walk in formation: quick steps, arms close to the body, heads down. All of them are older; they never allowed the children to stay. The children would only return once they too were broken.

The town is gray; both the houses and the people. The only noise comes from the wind blowing through the streets and the footsteps of the people. Work is letting out. It is time to leave the factories and return home. Not to their loved ones, but strangers. Alliances of any kind are not allowed in the town. Family and friends can only connect underground. Being caught making such connections meant death. Instant death.

A patrol car drives through town. The people walk quicker, make themselves smaller. The warden inside the car scans them carefully. Anyone different will be taken into custody. However, the warden sees nothing wrong and drives on to the next town. The people sigh in relief.

The last of the factory workers are being let out. They cross the train tracks running through town. The lights come on, the barriers go down. They stop and wait for the train. Such a noisy thing, it is. In a town such as this, the train is deafening. Some people cover their ears.

Just as the train approaches, a woman jumps on the track. “This is not a life!” she yells. The train conductor makes no effort to stop for her. Her blood stains the area with a bright burst of red. The warden will not be happy about the bright color. Someone innocent will answer for it.

The train fades into the distance and the people scurry home. It’s just another day.