The Neverending Train

Written By Audrey Lau

I wake with a start on a cold metal floor. I don’t remember how I got there. My shoulders also feel rather tense.

I muster the strength to get up from the fetal position I am curled up in. When I open my eyes, I find myself on a train. I sit down in one of the many empty seats that lined the walls of this train car. It’s rather odd how nobody is here but myself.


The sound of my voice ricochets off the metal walls enclosing me. I pause for a second and listen for the sound of anybody else on this moving train. I get up and move to the window.

I peer outside as I wipe away the thick layer of condensation on the window I am facing. I squint as I try to get a glimpse of where this moving train was heading. But all I could see for miles and miles was a foggy blur of colours. When I took my eyes away from the window, all I could feel was my head pounding. I felt confused and disoriented; with my head spinning, because of the dizzying and wild spinning of colours outside. My muscles and limbs also felt oddly stiff, like they had been set in position for a very long time. I stretched for a little bit, then got up to explore.

I felt my palms growing sweaty as I grew more and more anxious. Where is the train going? Why am I here? Why was there not another human being in sight? A look towards both sides indicated that the answers I seeked would require a little more investigation. Not that that was ideal, of course.

I move through train car after train car, eventually coming to a sprint. I run through the train, calling out as loud as I could to people who weren’t there.

“Is anybody there?”

As I ran through car after car, I look up to find that there is not even a map of where this train is going. Soon, after a long time of sprinting from train car to train car, I grow winded and out of breath. I have no idea how long I have been running for, being that there was no clock anywhere and I did not have a watch on me. My yelling had also taken a toll, making me out of breath faster.
I stop for a break, and sink onto an empty seat. I wish I had some water. I sit there for a little while, panting heavily, my breaths almost coinciding with the jolts made by the train as it went by on invisible rails.

I didn’t know where I was, or where I was going. Running through the cars hadn’t given me a single clue.
I look upwards again, my eyes scanning the walls of the train car I am in, searching desperately for clues as to how to get out of this train. Then I spot it.

A little speaker, painted green. I move to it, and I see a little painted words on a sign next to it.

Unlike most other speakers, this speaker is not just for calling about emergencies,

but more. Use at your own discretion. Press the green button adjacent to the

speaker in order to activate. Use the receiver attached to the wall to listen.

I eye the words for a little longer, finding these instructions a little strange. I then notice the painted green receiver hanging on a cord, on a little holder next to the speaker; also painted green.

I pick up the receiver with apprehension, then press the little button. I wait, with some fear of what will happen next. The ring tone sounds. I draw a breath in rather sharply. While the ringtone sounds, I also notice the car number of this train car that I am standing in right now. It read:

Car no. 4857502 of

I looked up, noting how the number of train cars stretched endlessly, each one smaller than the last before it disappeared from my sight. My whereabouts and reasons for being on the train in the first place were mystifying enough as they were - I now had to deal with the possibility of a never ending train as well. This greatly confused and worried me even more than I already was.

I was busy thinking about this when I heard someone pick up the phone.

“Hello, kind sir. Welcome aboard the train. How may I help you?” said a calm female voice.

I thought a for a bit about what I wanted to say.

“Any questions you would like answered? Or requests you’d like granted?” the voice says again.

“Um...w-where is this train going?” I ask nervously with a slight stutter.

The voice pauses for a bit, “I’m afraid I can’t tell you that, sir.”

“W-why not?”

“There is no way of knowing where this train is going. All you can do is relax and enjoy the journey ahead. Any other requests or questions?”

I frown. I then ask, “Is there a way for this train to turn back? Like...go backwards?”

“I’m afraid that’s not possible, sir.”

The reality of her words hit me full in the face. “B-but what if I want to go back? I don’t even know how I got here!”

“I’m sorry, sir, but that is not possible. It is advised for you to relax and enjoy the journey ahead.”

“Is there a way to go back?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but that is not possible.. It is advised for you to relax and enjoy the journey ahead.”

“Why can’t I go back?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but that is not possible. It is understandable that you are not in the right state of mind to be on this train, but it is advised for you to relax and enjoy the journey ahead. ”

I groaned in exasperation when I realised the voice was repeating the exact statement over and over again. I mutter back to the receiver that I would know if I was in the right state of mind or not and that I didn’t need some disembodied voice to tell me so. I slumped back on the seat, annoyed at my interaction through the speaker. After a while of glaring at the speaker, I hear the receiver ring. I walk back and pick it up.

“Would you like any water? Press the button twice for a bottle of water, should you need any.”

I scowled and put the receiver back in its place, having barely even registered what was said. My mind was too occupied with questions, too occupied with worry.

I paced up and down the train car, giving the windows an occasional glance every few seconds or so, hoping that something would turn up to give me a clue. A sign, a building, maybe even a human. Something I was familiar with, anything that could answer my questions.

The receiver rung once more. My brain still buzzing with questions, I clumsily stumbled my way to the receiver and slowly picked it up.

“Would you like any water? Press the button twice for a bottle of water, should you need any.”

I grimaced and glared at the speaker, even though I knew it wouldn’t do much. I was about to put the receiver back when I heard the voice speak again.

“It’d be better if you relaxed,” the voice stated matter-of-factly. “The destination may be unclear, but you’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the train ride. The journey can be quite marvelous, but only if you let it be.” The voice paused briefly, and then asked if I would like water once again.

I took a deep breath and stared at the speaker for a while. ‘Some water would be nice, I guess,’ I thought to myself. I swallowed and felt the dryness of my throat. ‘It couldn’t do much harm.’

I pressed the button twice, and a bottle of water instantaneously materialised on the ground.

“This is pretty nice,” I said to myself, as I opened up the bottle and took a long sip. Instantly, I felt my head clear and my vision sharpen. I heard a ring from the speaker again and I pick up the receiver.

“Was that bottled water to your satisfaction?” asked the person on the other line.

“Yes,” I answered quietly.

“Would you like some music to be played?”


Calming classical music started to fill the compartment. I hooked the receiver back onto the wall and sat back down in my seat.

I guess this isn’t so bad, I thought to myself.

Then I heard the voice again, only this time, it didn’t come from the speaker, but from somewhere in the train.

“Is this journey to your satisfaction yet?”

“Yeah, pretty much. It’s not so bad here,” I answered back. I paused, then decided to give it another shot. “Where are we headed?”

“The destination is still unclear. However, that is more of a worry to the driver rather than you, You ought to relax and enjoy the rest of the journey,” said the voice in a cheerful manner, then it sounded off with a click and the classical music resumed.

I leaned back into my seat, and watched the now swirling colours, no longer a blur, outside my window. I closed my eyes and let my worry fizzle out. I ought to relax and enjoy the rest of the journey, shouldn’t I?

Renaissance College