Inspector Sam Wakes looked around, his mind trained to expect the unexpected taxed to the limit of its training. He stared accusingly at the Conductor and said, “When, or, if we ever get back to reality I am arresting everyone involved in this fiasco, especially you, the hotel manager and…”
The Conductor cut him off. “Did you not consider that your other life was the illusion and this is the true reality. Our destination is not a place exactly. It is an occasion. You will be required to conduct an investigation of the most dire importance, a man hunt, for we must find a thief named Gerald Muldock.”
“If this is about some book, we already have the thief. He has the book on him now. Why not just wrap it all up and be done with it so I can go home.”
“All aboard the Orient Express. Next stop Budapest.”
A Whistle blew. Lightening flashed and the wheels screech on the track as the engine roared into life.
The scream was startling but it was only the train whistle mixed with the conductors grating voice crying out, “All Aboard,” over and over again. Inspector Sam Wakes tried rationalizing the insanity crowding into his head, ripping like a claw at the very fabric of his mind. But all he could manage was to keep from crashing into the depths of what looked like hell, or his version of hell. But what tortured him worse was the mind that kept trying to break in and take over.
“You will still be you Sam Wakes. Your mind will reach heights of intellect no human has ever found. You will know things that…”
“You will destroy me. I am human. I am a cop, I am not here. This is a nightmare or I am in the throes of the worst hallucination anyone has ever experienced. I have been drugged and I will come out of it sooner or later and whoever did this to me better hope he’s got Satan to back him up.”
“Sam Wakes. You have not been drugged and you are not going mad or insane. I need your help. I cannot function in the three dimensional world on my own. You might say I am a ghost, but what I am really is pure energy that was once flesh and blood. I am the Asphyx of a man who started this insanity and I must undo the evil he brought to men. If I fail, my energy will be destined to emptiness forever.”
“Ok. What’s your name?”
“I am Lexington Pratt. I was created by a mad man.”
“You just said you were once flesh and blood. You are lying.”
“He is not Lexington Pratt, Sam Wakes,” another voice broke in. “He is alien.”
Sam Wakes charged down the aisle between the seats screaming, “Get out of my head. I am not mad. I am nor insane. I have been drugged. Someone help me.”
Something exploded in his head and he crashed face first into the floor of the train car. Whatever madness was wreaking havoc in his mind was driven into some darkness beyond consciousness.
“Someone help me get this man into a chair. He’ obviously on some kind of drug.” The conductor cried out.
“A cop on drugs. Ain’t that a hoot.” Someone tossed in a scrape.
“It doesn’t matter. Just help me get him off the floor and if there is a doctor on the train please find him.
Anne Morris looked at her husband and gave him a shove. “Help him you idiot.”
Trevor Morris pushed back and told her to do it herself.
And she did. It took all her strength but she helped lift Sam Wakes into a chair and get him settled so he wouldn’t slide out. When she was done she turned to Trevor and said, “We’re done. Stay away from me until we can get back home.”
“Are you crazy woman. We aren’t going back home. We are going into madness and we are not coming back. Can’t you see it. WE have been abducted by…by…hell knows who.”
“The train conductor came through. “What goes here. Get to your births or the dining car. You can’t just wander around. The train could lurch and you could be hurt.”
The Conductor from the Valley of Dreams sneered. “These people are my responsibility so mind your own business.”
“We have been abducted. Trevor Morris cried out and they are going to take us to be tortured.”
“Trevor. Shut up.”
“Everyone to your births. Dinner will be served in an hour.” The train conductor bellowed.
“What are you talking about. It still early in the morning we have just started up.”
The train went dark.
The Train lurched.
Fire filled the car.
The door of her room opened. Anne Morris stretched and yawned as she padded down the hall to the bathroom.
“Trevor. We better get moving. We have to shower.”
“Anne. I have a bad feeling about this trip. Do you ever get those. I feel like something is going to go terribly wrong.”
“Nothing will go….”
Anne. Are you ok?”
“You screamed and passed out. You said something about the train was crashing.”
“It did Trevor. We were fighting. We shouldn’t be fighting. We are on our honey moon.”
“I told you something was going to go terribly wrong. How the hell did we end up on a train in Turkey in 1944. It’s madness.”
“What are you talking about?” Sam Wakes came out of his stupor. “Don’t you know what is happening. Aliens are looking for a book and they think one of us has it. They are looking for Gerald Muldock.”
“Trevor. Isn’t that the book you have hidden in your suitcase.”
Trevor froze. “Shut you damn mouth. It has to get back to the people who wrote it. It…”
Donald was once a Hobo Musician and Busker and in many places was considered a King of The Buskers. In his mid fifties deafness directed him to reinvent himself and so he became a Storyteller of fantasy, mystery, Science Fiction and hybrids of all three. He lives a quiet life on an island in a lake with his wonderful wife and dogs, writing stories to entertain.
I have learned the art of simplicity. https://wt.social/u/donald-roberts