Train Delayed Due to Horrible, Horrible Accident


The holiday, to put it mildly, has been spoiled. From where I am lying on some type of straw pallet frozen hard as a bed of rocks, I can see, through a chink in the logs, snowflakes twirling downward in the moonlight. Somewhere here—on the floor/ground I suppose—is a mess of scattered papers: my research that had seemed so promising. Although I believe I have lost most of my senses, including smell and feeling, a phantom trace of vinegar, or rotten wine, haunts my numbed olfactory node.

It seems there’s been an accident. Someone (I’ve heard) was hit in the head by a train—and though I am not sure who, I am confident that my personal conduct has been blameless.

Yes, there was the inappropriately behaved man with a nub for a hand; the sniveling weirdo whose least crime was the interruption of my snack; the conductor of dubious innocence who may or may not have tried to illegally confine me; and the secret, wholly unmerited hostility of some or all of the other passengers. But if there was a single moment when I should have been able to see the awful direction things were taking—the escalating series of misguided assumptions and malicious suggestions that seems to have conspired to land me here—I must have somehow missed it.

In any event, I was robbed—yes, robbed—of those few things I still believe I was not wrong in assuming I had in the bag: a juicy bird, gravy boat, plump pillow, warm wife, and sleep.

Or perhaps I merely caught the wrong train.



User Fiction Cover 4

First published in TriQuarterly.