Note: those of you who only know me from the blog have never seen any of my serious stories before, so you are in for a treat. Those of you that have seen my stories before, you’ve never seen one like THIS before. Enjoy!
Erwin Farner “woke up” to find himself in a bench seat by himself. The
chugging and swaying told him he was on a train, though he could not recall ever
having been on one before. In fact, he could not recall boarding this one- nor
anything else that should have been in his recent memory. He knew who he was,
who and what he was supposed to be; yet, anything that had actually happened to
him in life was a stranger to him.
He looked out the windows and saw pleasant, grassy meadows swathed in
sunshine going by. Where was he going? He searched his pockets for a clue, and
found he HAD no pockets; he wore only a robe, smeared in green and purple. It
looked as if someone had taken a snow-white robe and used it as a dropcloth
while painting a child’s bedroom. Then, his hand hit on something. A sliver of
gold, shaped like a ticket, with neither printing nor engraving. He looked at
the face reflected in it- it was old, older than he perceived himself to be.
“This must be some kind of mistake,” He muttered to himself.
“No mistake,” a low, flat voice off to his left said, shaking Erwin awake to
the fact that he was not alone.
Other men rode in the car, in bench seats ahead of him. They did not face
him, but yet he somehow saw who/what they were. Two seats ahead to his right, a
black-haired man, his face mustached and weather-beaten. His black eyes were
cold, the kind of cold one only achieves when he has watched many men over the
sight of a Colt equalizer- and watched them fall, clutching whatever bloody
wound the bullet fired had wrought. This man felt Erwin looking into him; an
imperceptible shift of an eyebrow and a twitch at the end of his straight,
leathern lips were all the reaction he gave.
Shaken by the intimacy of the view, Erwin switched nervously to a second
figure. The very air around this one, several benches ahead on the left, was
ancient. His figure chiseled, his nose and cheeks that of some old Roman
Caesar. One could easily imagine a wreath of bay leaves resting on his bald and
withered brow. His visage was imperial, as cold and marble as if he were a bust
in a museum. His only reaction to Erwin’s gaze was a feeling Erwin got of being
unworthy of notice. His robe was scarlet and purple, in contrast to the first
man’s, which was the color and consistency of dried blood.
Just in front of this man was another, tall and poised. A toupee balanced
upon his head, misaligned and disheveled, a stark contrast to the prim and
proper air about him. His robes were like gold, but heavily patinated, as if of
copper left exposed for ages. It was topped by an ill-positioned clerical
A fourth man, a few seats in front of the first, looked worriedly out the
window at his bench seat, fingering a set of beads. His robes were
multi-colored, mixed but hardly blended, in a confused mess that literally hurt
Erwin’s eyes even though the colors were too toned-down to be what one would
call “psychedelic”. The man paid no mind to Erwin’s gaze, seemingly murmuring
Finally, Erwin saw the man who spoke. He was the only one who faced the
group, sitting casually at the front of the car. His hair was long, his face
unshaven. He alone did not wear a robe; instead, he wore denim over-alls and a
dark western hat with tassels of white, gold, and silver. “Nobody rides this
train mistaken,” he said.
The Roman sneered. “The thought of riding in such a common conveyance with
such… commoners… makes me ill.”
“Savor it",” the first man, the “killer”, said. “It’ll be the best such
feeling remaining to you.”
The collared man rose and roared at the killer, “What would you know of our
plight?” He stared at the killer with eyes afire with hot flame. The killer
returned but an icy smile. The collared man turned to the man in front,
shouting, “I demand to know why we’re here!”
“Siddown, Reverend Ezekiel Johnston Stowe,” the man in front said evenly.
“You know why you’re here. Deep down in your hearts, you all know.” The man
with the beads jerked his head at the words and turned to look at him; then
nervously went back to his beads.
“Well, I demand to see the engineer,” Reverend Stowe snapped. “I want to get
to the bottom of this!”
The man in front motioned to the door beside him. “Suit yourself,” he told
the preacher. But you know you won’t like what you find.”
Reverend Stowe stormed to the door. As he reached it, those in the car heard
a ‘thump’ of something falling from his robe. The “bead man” reached down to
retrieve it, and came up with a bank-wrapped bundle of money; Erwin guessed a
thousand in twenties. “You-you y’dropped this, “ bead man stammered. The
Reverend stared at it, his face flushing red in rage, for he certainly had no
shame in him. The man in front chuckled, the killer smiled. Stowe swept out of
the room without another word, slamming the door behind him.
“Prick,” the killer snickered.
The bead man held out the money wad to the man in front, but he merely
shrugged a shoulder. The bead man looked back down at his palm- and it was
Tune in for part two of three tomorrow.