Rain fell upon the stranger’s head. Thunder grumbled in the distance. The new world he stood in was dark, dank and full of sadness. The stranger looked around to see a decomposing shack behind him. It’s rain soaked planked walls weighed down by years of neglect. Words, painted in white, spell out mysterious destinations.
Beside the names was a small rain-soaked sheet. White splashes if paint drip down the right-side. Painted on the sheet is a dark train. Followed with the words:
Train of Light
Taken by the Darkness -1863”
A sharp gust of wind shoved past him and struck the rain-soaked sheet. Something grasp the sheet and ripped it from the wall. The sheet fell to the wooden floor. The stranger watched as a human form stood in the rain for a moment then disappeared. The wooden planks below his feet shook. The stranger turned. A plume of white smoke stalked through the dark trees. The Spirit of the Dead pushed through the dark of night toward the stranger.
A large articulated locomotive, painted black, stretched eighty-five foot from cowcatcher to cab. The engineer stood behind black iron windows and is shackled to an iron loop in the floor. The fireman faded into the darkness, then reappeared. He shoveled a substance into the firebox then flickered out of existence. The engineer stood with his long left arm upon the whistle and waiting till the station appears.
The black train runs on the essence of life. The molecular essence of every living being on the train, collected within a steel-walled tender. Upon the tender is a set of ledges, one on top and the second two feet above the train wheels. The ledge on the top was merely decorative but the one on the bottom was two foot wide, barely enough room to walk across. Aluminum hand holds are placed at body length along both sides of the car. In the center of the car, painted on both sides, is ‘Spirit of the Dead’.
The engineer pulled and the whistle released a scream from above the train. The scream pierced the darkness and started the stranger. He watched as the large train approached the wooden deck. He saw beside him another figure, feminine but ghostlike. Another, then several more. They appeared with a suddenness. From ghostlike to human, bone and muscle. They all appeared fully clothed but dressed in period clothing. Almost like a Western on the television back when he was a child. He stared down upon his dress to find himself wearing a pair of faded jeans and a t-shirt stained in large dark patches.
The whistle blew a second time.
The Spirit of the Dead approached the wooden deck of the train station. The engineer pulled the brake. Forced air pushed the thick rain soaked air out of the way as the brakes squealed. The stranger watched as the engine passed the station. Followed by passenger cars.
The engineer pulled hard upon the brakes forcing the cars to jostle and jam into each other. When the train came to a stop the engineer disappeared from the engine and reappeared upon the side of the engine and then reappeared upon the wooden station deck. He disappeared again and reappeared near the front corner of the engine. He seemed to be inspecting the train. From Benin’s the tender car a large man appeared. He meticulously walked along the side of the car holding the handles as he went. A chain danging from both ankles. He then disappeared within the cab. Several large wooden doors opened within the passenger cars behind the engine.
Several men stepped from the cars and jumped to the wooden deck. They then turned and folded down a set of steel stairs built within the bottom of the cars. The men, dressed in black, stood and waited as ghost-like figures stepped from the cars. The figures mingled with some of the ghost on the station then the station began to clear.