When It Happened

Written by: SeriousGerbil

A driver walks along an empty Platform 1 of a Train Station eating a cheese sandwich that his wife had lovingly prepared for him, It is a windy autumn evening. Leaves are falling from the trees and, Combining with some of the bits of rubbish that litter the platform, Form into little cyclones rising almost like wisps. The Driver looks at the station clock. It reads 23:05. The driver looks at his watch to make sure that it is in sync with station time. He continues down the platform walking towards the diesel locomotive waiting for him at the end of the platform. The locomotive, A British Rail Class 67, Is hauling an empty rake of 3 Mark 3 coaches that need to be transferred to a Maintenance depot. A standard move that the driver has done many a time in the past.

He notices that his shoelace is untied so he places the remains of the sandwich on a bench, Sits down and ties his lace securely. He pull his head up and notices the cloudy night sky. “Looks like it might rain soon” he murmurs to himself as he finishes and stands up from the bench. A voice beckons from behind him just ask he walks away from the bench, “Yeah, I noticed that!” it says. Started the driver turns round to see a gentleman sitting at the bench, He is wearing what appears to be and older style of uniform but similar to the driver’s. Confused as to how he was there the driver asks “Where did you come from?”. The gentleman just looks at him with a razor sharp stare for what feels like and eternity, Then suddenly he replies…

“It was like this that night when it happened”

Somewhat bewildered by what he just heard the driver replies “When what happened mate?”. Just as the last words left his mouth there is a sudden blow of a whistle and a toot of a horn which startles the driver. Turning around he sees a Class 158 on Platform 4 leave on its last journey of the day. As the engine of the Class 158 hums in to the night as it leaves the station the driver turns around and simultaneously says “He shouldn’t be blaring his horn at this time”. Expecting to see the gentleman sat on the bench he sees that he has mysteriously disappeared. Confused even more by this point the driver looks up and down the platform expecting to see the gentleman, But he has gone. Only the station litter and leaves continue to blow along the platform. The driver stares at the space where the gentleman was sat with some suspicion,The only thing there is the leftover sandwich. He then goes to the locomotive waiting for him, Sits in the chair of the cab and starts to prepare for his departure time of 23:15. As he sits, He ponders over what he just experienced.

23:55, The driver has already departed from the station and is 45 minutes in to his journey. As he travels on the line the occasional flash of green shines through the window as he passes all clear signals accompanied by the familiar ding of the Automatic Warning System (AWS) in the cab. As he stares out the cab window into the night he starts to see little droplets of water appear on the windscreen. Almost immediately as soon as he sees the first droplets the heavens open and a downpour of rain trashes down on to the train. The driver nonchalantly activates the windscreen wipers to better improve his field of vision. Soon he sees the distinctive flash of amber in the distance, The sign that he needs to prepare to stop the train. He begin to slow the train, The AWS blaring as he passes the signal. As he is slowing he stares out the window and sees a red signal in the distance. He puts on the brakes as the engine slows down. This point in the journey was expected as a freight train hauling tankers is due to cross lines at the junction ahead of the red signal. As the train reaches the signal in disbelief he sees a figure of a person in the beam of the headlights running towards the train from the embankment, He appears to be wearing a uniform. His arms waving in the air along with what sounds like screaming and shouting, The driver stares in disbelief as the train passes the figure as it continues to what appears to warn him.

The AWS blares again as the driver soon brings the train to a halt at the signal, The red light beaming through the windows almost engulfing the cab in red light. The rain trickles down the windscreen, reflecting the red light though the droplets giving it a blood like look. The wipers fling the water aside clearing the view periodically. The driver then gets up quickly and opens the cab window to see if the figure is still there, Expecting it to come to the cab. But there is no one there just the hum of the engine, The howl of the wind and the trashing of the rain droplets hitting the ground continuing to reflect the red signal light in to the darkness. Confused and some what perplexed the driver closes the window and retrieves a handkerchief to wipe his face dry of the rain. “Where did that person go?” the driver says to himself. He sits back in the chair and uses the cab radio to contact the nearest signal box to inform them of the red signal and the mysterious figure. All he hears is the crackling of the static coming from the airwaves. He tries again but to no avail. He looks at the time on the control panel, it’s nearly midnight. Suddenly the engine mysteriously shuts down and all power is lost, The wipers stop and the headlights cut out. The only source of light illuminating is the blood red like light beaming from the signal as the rain now freely runs down the windscreen uninterrupted. “Now what?” the driver exclaims angrily as he tries to restart the engine but nothing happens. “Great” he says in an exasperated tone has he retrieves his mobile phone from his jacket pocket to contact someone for help. He looks at the phone but there is no signal. Sighing with exasperation he looks out the window again, He notices an old track side phone next to the signal. “I wonder if that is working” he says to himself.

“NO!”… a whisper says from no where.

Startled the driver bolts right up, “Who said that?” he screams. Nothing replies back. Determined to find out what is going on before he loses his mind he goes to the cab door to get to the track side phone. He tries to open the door but it won’t open, Trying to force it he then tries the other cab door. That too will not open. He goes back to the other door and tries to force it again when suddenly the whisper returns…

“It was like this on that night when it happened”

Horrified the driver really starts to panic and frantically attacks the door trying to open it when suddenly a blare of a horn is heard. The driver turns to looks out of the windscreen horrified to see the freight train hurtling towards him on the same track. He tries blare the horn in a blind panic to alert the other train but nothing happens, Just the clicking noise as he presses down on the button in a panicked state. The freight train blares it horn again as the light from his headlights start to illuminate the cab. The driver tries in vain again to open the door as the train gets closer and closer with the hum of its engine gets louder and louder. The whisper returns its voice more pronounced, Almost louder than the approaching train…

“It was like this on that night when it happened”

The driver then recognises the voice, It was the voice of the gentleman on the platform. Realising that the figure must also have been the gentleman and what he was trying to do he frantically panics and shouts. “LET ME OUT. STOP THE TRAIN, STOP THE TRAIN!!!”. He continues to bang and elbow the door to try and force it open, Then the distinctive sound of the AWS blares through the cab, Simultaneously the horn of the freight train blares in unison with the sound of the AWS. The white light then engulfs the cab completely replacing the red light as if it were other worldly. As the freight train one last time blares his horn deafeningly. The driver screams in sheer terror and covers his face in a vain effort to protect himself as everything in the cab fades to white.

Suddenly the driver jumps out of a bench screaming, Looking round him in a confused panicked state he sees a Class 158 leave Platform 1, The locomotive blaring its horn as the driver leaped out of the bench. The train continues on in to the night.

He is on Platform 4 of the station.

Relieved the driver says to himself “I must have drifted off… It was just a bad dream?” Confused he soon composes himself, He stares at the remains of the sandwich left on the bench “That’s the last time I eat that cheese” he laughs to himself as he picks it up and puts it in the bin next to the bench. He looks down and sees his shoelace is untied. He lifts his foot on to the bench and securely ties the lace.

He looks at the station time.

23:05 it reads.

He looks at his locomotive.

A Class 67 hauling 3 Mark 3 coaches.

He then looks at the night sky as walks towards his train, It is very cloudy. “Looks like it might rain” he says as he boards in to the cab. Unbeknown to him a figure stares at him whilst sat at the bench as he boards the locomotive and closes the cab door behind him…

“Yeah, I noticed that!” it says replying as the Class 67 locomotive revs to life.

“It was like this on that night when it happened”…

The End


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