They pulled into the station every so often, looking like any ordinary train, if you weren’t looking too hard. Sure, maybe a little shabby, a little old, but still perfectly normal. Still perfectly safe. When you step inside, you might be surprised by how wide the carriages are, or how empty. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re too tired to notice.

You sit in at one of the tables and relax, or try to. Maybe you’re noticing how the train doesn’t seem to stop at any of the usual stops, or even pass through them. You’re passing through familiar scenery, familiar places, so you know you’re on the right route, but you should have stopped at least two stations. By now you’re getting worried, but you tell yourself you’ll stop soon.

Five minutes go by, then ten. Still no stops, and no sign of the ticket guard. And by now you’ve noticed the noise; the train’s been growing louder as it speeds along. Louder, yet sounding far-off, as if disconnected somehow from reality.

There are two ways this story ends.

If you’re lucky, the train eventually stops at a station platform, and you step out. It’s dark out; no matter what time you got on the train, it’s always dark when you get out. If you get out. The train doors close the moment you step out, and it starts moving again a few seconds later. You shake the experience off and it becomes a story you tell to friends.

Or the train never stops. You stare out the window and watch the scenery become more unfamiliar, more wild. Dawns breaks and the train doesn’t stop, nights fall and the train doesn’t stop. You remain on in the train, no longer alive but unable to die, and the train doesn’t stop.

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