I’m used to this platform being very crowded even late at night so it being so empty is giving me the heebie-jeebies. Quentin’s note is in my left pocket and Mom’s .38 feels reassuring tucked into the waist of my jeans. The 4:25 to Simpton is a little late. Another thing making me jumpy.
Quentin said for sure that Payton would be here. I’ve never seen the guy but Quentin’s like you can’t miss Payton.
The steam coming up from the grates mingles with the fog turning the length of the platform into something ridiculously noirish. I think I see someone coming out of the station and turning to walk in the other direction. Tall fellow and it looks like he’s dressed all in red. Even the fedora with the nodding feathers, all red. That has to be Payton. But why is he walking away from me?
There’s the 4:25. I start to run trying to catch up with Payton. All I have to do is hand him the stupid note and get on the train.
Why the .38? Hey, who knows what could happen, right? And then I see that something has happened but my gun’s not going to be of any help with this. Instead of one Payton striding along the platform away from me, emerging from the fog and steam is another one ahead of him. And another one.
The train is pulling into the station and here I am chasing three — oh wait, there are four of him now — four Paytons through the fog and steam.
Next to me the screech and grind of the slowing train is mixing up my thinking. I only have one note and now it looks like there are five Paytons up there, walking away from me. I speed it up and catch up to the nearest Payton. The guy just looks straight ahead, ignoring the note.
Fine. I shove it into the pocket of his snazzy red suitcoat and fall back to get on the train.
Waiting for the door to open, I look back down along the platform. I’m not even all that surprised that there are no Paytons to be seen. Figures. What is with this door? It’s not opening. I look up and down the platform. No one’s getting off but it looks like one of the doors on the next carriage down is open.
Just as I reach it, the door slides shut. I yell and grab at it, jumping up onto the step in time to block the door. A conductor calmly nudges my foot out the door and I’m left on the platform watching the damned train pull out. I’m so angry that it takes several minutes before I realize that the reassuring weight of the .38 is no longer there.
And in my pocket? The note. I open it because what else am I going to do at this point?
“Any brilliant ideas on how to end this story, Champ? Quentin”
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved.
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.