The train with four carriages arrived at Greenvale Station with a loud shunt, its doors opened and a man carrying an old, brown briefcase and wearing a light grey suit that was slightly too large for his body hopped on board and took a seat towards the rear of the end carriage. As far as the man could see, there were no other passengers, so he was able to sit in silence and wait for the whistle to blow, signalling that the doors were about to close and that they would soon be on their way. A moment later, the train shunted off and, although there was no one on the platform to wave him goodbye, he smiled, excited about the possibility of the adventures that lay ahead.
With the town now out of view, farmland and trees whisked passed the windows that surrounded him. He placed his briefcase on the empty seat beside him, adjusted the way he was sitting to make himself more comfortable and reached into his jacket pocket to take out his ticket. He had read the information on the ticket prior to boarding the train, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to him, so he was hoping the quiet train ride would provide him time to sit and contemplate exactly where he was going and what he was going to do once he got there. Unfortunately, however, the ticket did not contain a great deal of information. It listed his name and gave the pickup time as 9:05am, but it did not contain any other information that the man may have considered useful.
He had found the ticket in the pocket of his suit only some days before, though, due to the number of creases and stains on the ticket, he could tell it had been sitting in there for quite a while. Very rarely did the man take his suit off, so he had thought it odd that he should it find the ticket so close to the time and date he was scheduled to depart. Having been unable to think about much else since discovering the ticket, he thought it best to at least arrive at the train station on time and see what was waiting for him. Since there were no other passengers, he felt oddly sorry for the train and the train driver, so, having no other plans, he decided to see where the ride might take him. Looking down at his ticket while sitting alone at the back of the train, the man heard the doors between the last two carriages open and noticed a man in a blue uniform enter the final carriage. The uniform consisted of a blue hat, a blue button-up shirt, blue pants, black shoes and large badge that clearly read: TICKET MASTER
The man watched as the ticket master made his way down the carriage, curiously checking each seat despite it being obvious that there was only a single passenger on the entire train. With a nervous smile on his face, the man held out his ticket for inspection. Before looking at the man’s ticket, the ticket master lifted his wrist and checked his watch. He then stared at the man for a moment before speaking. “Where is your destination?” asked the ticket master.
“I’m not exactly sure,” the man replied nervously. “I was hoping that, maybe, you might be able to provide me with that information.” The ticket master looked at the man, deep in thought.
“Are you saying you got on this train without knowing where it was going?” he asked with a furrowed brow.
“That’s correct,” replied the man, shifting his posture slightly in his seat. The ticket master handed the ticket back to the man.
“Then, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. This train is one-way only. We don’t go back, and we only have one destination.” The man stared out of the window next to his seat, watching the different layers of the landscape passing him by at various speeds.
“That’s O.K,” the man replied calmly. “I have done all I needed to do. There’s no purpose in me going back.” The ticket master shook his head and let out a small chuckle.
“Fair enough. Well, I’ll let you know when it’s time to get off.” He then turned and walked down the aisle, again inspecting each seat as he passed them by. The man found comfort in the idea of being told when he would reach his final destination, so he stretched out his legs and fell asleep.
He wasn’t sure how long he had been the train when, one evening, as he was watching the sun set over an ocean, a red light illuminated above his carriage door. The man looked up and smiled at the light, as the sound of the trains’ breaks began to echo through the carriage and the train began gradually slowing down.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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