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The silence of the night was shattered as the train emerged out of the tunnel, only the moon lighting its way.
I looked out of the window, the shadowy figures, almost unrecognizable now, moving slowly across my screen. This wasn’t my first time travelling late. My job needed me to attend a lot of meetings wide spread as they were, and well, I needed my job.
Reaching into my trusty leather bag and second home, I took out a rather worn out book. Flipping through the pages I took in its smell. Old books have an enchanting smell of libraries, adventures and ancient secrets.
“Hello there sir!”
Coming back to my senses I turned to see the coffee caterer.
“Good evening,” I replied politely, well aware that it was long past ‘evening’.
“Is this your first time abroad, mister? I haven’t seen you before,” the man with his huge physique angled himself comfortably, as if wanting to start a conversation.
“Why yes, yes it is. I haven’t been in this part of the country before,” I said maintaining a professional front.
“Haha…..of course you haven’t,” his eyes were gleaming. “Say, which book is that?”
“Oh this? It’s by an old author, I doubt you’ve heard of him.”
“Heard of him? I know him! Pleasant chaps a frequent passenger here, he is!”
I smiled to myself. He sure was trying hard to keep up the talk. He couldn’t have known the author, he died somewhere in the late eighteenth century. Poor man, I sympathised.
He bid me goodbye leaving me with a cup of coffee in my hands. The heat made me shiver. It was rather cold tonight.
Suddenly, the train came to a halt, nearly burning my tongue as it did. I looked around, annoyed. The station wasn’t supposed to arrive for another five hours. I panicked. This wasn’t right.
The few other passengers in the train though looked unusually calm. I felt a chill run up my spine. Something was sinister about the entire atmosphere.
It smelt of ancient secrets.
As I was getting up I saw the coffee man come in.
“Now, now sir. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
There were quite a few audible chuckles at that. I shuddered.
“..mm… why has the train stopped so abruptly?” I could feel cold sweat trickle down my neck.
The man paused to smile…knowingly.
“Nothing to worry about. We’ll be starting soon enough.” There was a high pitched whistle. “There we go! Buckle up now, ladies and gentlemen!”
Not being able to react on time, I was thrown back. The train had accelerated. Still sunken deep into my seat, I glanced towards the window.
It was hardly noticeable, hardly at all, but I was sure that the train had left its track. Left the ground and was zipping through the air.
That’s when I realized it.
I was on the wrong train.