Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
page0rz would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Man on the Train

By page0rz All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

The Man on the Train

He leans in close, the acid smell of cheap wine on his breath, his stained lips. “A grip like a desperate lover,” he says. I can see the blood vessels in his eyes, red lines like tentacles reaching for the iris. “That’s how William described it. Always a poet, he was. To the end. What a prick.”

“Pardon me?” I say. I look around the train, at the other empty seats. There are people watching, cameras. I don’t need this in my life.

“You think you know about it,” says the man, still leaning in. His heavy jacket is open, showing a stained and wrinkled dress shirt. It might have been blue once. The skin hangs loose at his neck, has the look of used sandpaper. “All the programming, the stories they tell you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I can almost feel the lens in the ceiling as it turns, dilates.

The man laughs. “Nobody does. Nobody ever does. William didn’t, either. But he learned the hard way.”

Maybe if I ignore him.

“He and his sister, they were the first to ever meet one of those things. Did they tell you that? She opens the airlock, he’s supposed to interpret. A body language expert.” He snorts. “A twerp.”

He pauses, like he wants me to agree. I stay silent.

“I told them it was a bad idea. The worst idea in the history of the human race. But you know that. You want to say you don’t, but I see it in your eyes. Walking down the street, sitting alone. Not watching while they all watch.”

He’s not waiting for a response anymore. “This thing slithers in. Can you believe they looked even worse back then? It comes through the airlock like an octopus escaping a jar. And William is there with a smile on his face. Mugging it up for the news back home. We’re in the Kuiper belt, and he thinks he’s going to be more famous than Neil Armstrong. He had a speech written and everything. Something about extending a hand of friendship, building bridges across the stars. Prick.

“And it comes in, you know? It slithers in, takes one look at William and his sister. Ashley, that was her name. A good kid. Popped her head like a cherry tomato. We’re up on the bridge, and the navigator starts screaming.”

One of them is moving across train, yellow-green limbs floating above the slender body like hair in static electricity. I hold my breath as it passes, nod politely. Don’t look at the man sitting next to me. But I can feel him there, shifting in his seat. What if he tries to attack it? With me there, on camera talking to him.

But he doesn’t. Does it pause as it passes us? Perhaps, but who can read them? The door at the end of the car opens, shuts. I breathe again.

The man goes on, in a quieter voice. “William just stands there for the longest time, looking at her body. And then it grabs him, pulls him in. He was wearing his space suit. It’s squeezing him, pulling at him. And it’s like he stopped caring about anything, like he was the first to figure that out. He turns his mic on, opens all channels. The live feed that never made it back. That’s when he started describing it. It tore his arms off, and the pain medication kicks in. He’s slurring, but he doesn’t stop talking until I blast the whole place out the airlock. And even then.”

The man stops talking while the train pauses to let on more passengers. I look at the digital clock next to the route map. I could get off here, escape, but I can’t afford the lost time.

“I should have been there. I told them I had to be there. They wanted the guns locked up. Why even bring them, then? We argued for days. Would anything have changed? Could anything change? William wants me to tell his family. Nobody can tell them. Nothing was ever as secret as what happened there, right up to the point where it didn’t matter anymore.”

He’s standing up now, swaying in the aisle as the train bucks and screeches through the dark tunnel. “The trial of the century,” he shouts, throwing his arms in the air. “The trial of the millennium, starring yours truly. They lost the tapes. A magnetic anomaly. A public court-martial for the rogue military officer who killed poor William and his pretty sister. I did it. I started the war with the press of a button. Give me another chance and I’d do it with a shotgun. Or a knife. Or my fucking teeth.”

The door at the end of the car slides open again. It’s back. It moves toward the man, and he turns on it, baring yellow teeth, a snarl curling his mouth. I put a hand up to the side of my face and turn away.

I see it again as it slides through the middle of the train, not stopping. No screams. I look up, and the man is standing, face blank, watching it leave again.

“You think I don’t know what you’re doing to me?” he shouts after it. “Making me remember. Every second of every day, I have to watch what you’ve done to us.” He looks down at me. “We’re supposed to be the ones with a backbone.”

The train stops again, and I get off, pushing through the people waiting outside the doors. I tell myself to never forget to bring music or a book for my commutes. I nod to the guard with the automatic weapon standing at the station’s exit. I can keep my head down. I changed my name. Nobody knows that the most hated man to have ever lived, the man who doomed our entire race, is my uncle.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, page0rz
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

Stevie Smith: Wow What a story i like the way this writer has took the time and went into every detail to explain what was actually happening in this story and i also found that the writer made sure that all of the characters had been described very well and it could be really intense as the story went on and ...

Someone: This was a lovely read -- very clean stylistically, developed setting, fairly interesting plot. The characters occasionally felt inconsistent, but overall they were well-developed. I enjoyed it. CHARACTERS:In the beginning, Andrew was the cautious one. By the end, he’s a full-blown revolutionary....

Chevonne Prinsloo: I loved this book.. I didn't want to stop reading it! just my kind of book... I really love how the plot of the story carries along. I hope there are more books to follow after this one! I like the way she describes how Rogue is feeling and the way she shows the emotions going through Rogu. I als...

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Alex Rushmer: I just read the first two chapters of this story and really enjoyed it. I have to admit......I have a real problem with insects, especially nasty ones like what are in this story. I don't think that I'll read any more, but I did like what I read. It was interesting seeing different instances in w...

TonyHeredia: I've been reading science fiction and fantasy for many years and I still don't think I've read a story like this before. It is realistic, lusty and techy all at the same time. It jumps back and forth in time giving the reader two different versions of the same man. I found myself reading for h...

More Recommendations

Dru83: This is probably the fourth time I've read this one. I read this a few times on fictionpress as dru83. This is a wonderful story. It still needs a lot of shining up as there are many instances of punctuation issues, grammar issues, and issues with using the wrong word. But all that still can't ta...

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...