The Unusual Commute (FTS 2019 #5)

The Unusual Commute

Faith stretched and yawned. Somewhere in the house, the kittens were rough-housing and the neighbor’s rooster crowed ear-splittingly loud. There was no use in complaining to the Harvey’s again. She sighed, sat up, and slipped into her slippers. Warm chestnut aroma filtering from the kitchen suggested she was running late. The coffee pot’s timer was set for six, but it felt much earlier. Probably should not have watched the late-late movie, she told herself.

“Tom is always worth it.” She chuckled and set about her morning routine.

By the time she showered and poured her coffee to go, she had decided it was much later than usual. No time for breakfast or yoga. Traffic was light and convinced her even more that she was running behind schedule. She dashed through the terminal and reached the train doors with seconds to spare. They closed behind her and the train lurched forward.

Faith grabbed a hold of the person in front of her to avoid falling over and chuckled. “Excuse me. Sorry. I didn’t mean –“

Without intending too, she screamed as her eyes took in the thing standing in front of her. She released her grip and stepped back.

“Watch it, young lady,” a voice said behind her.

Faith glanced behind her and uttered a shrill scream. The vision in front of her was unbelievable. The guy, or was it just a gawky teenager, she couldn’t tell because of the clown makeup he was wearing. The costume was all colours of the rainbow and the face was so skillfully made up to resemble a zombie clown. He was grinning at her and with the get up it really looked as if he was ready to devour her with those sharp teeth.

She looked around her and realized that the whole compartment was full of clowns in different costumes and get up. They were all chatting and laughing with each other. It seemed that she had stepped into a nightmare. It wasn’t their fault. Not everyone is afraid of clowns.

She found an empty seat and sat there. Careful to keep her eyes averted from all those clowns. The train was traveling at an unusually fast speed and soon it stopped at the next station. The doors open to let in even more clowns. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. She couldn’t believe that everyone getting on was dressed in the same kind of clown outfits as everyone already on the train.

She fumbled in her handbag and took out her asthma spray and gave it two puffs into her mouth.

She felt the tightening in her lungs relax and was able to breathe again, but it didn’t alter the fact that she was in a living nightmare. Her fear of clowns had been something she could usually deal with. After all, as long as you avoid circuses and were careful about what movies you watch, you could normally avoid clowns easily.

Occasionally one of the clowns would look down at her cowering in her seat and grin menacingly at her either with red painted lips or from behind a mask.

One person came up to her and bend down to speak to her.

“Feeling a little nervous are we?” The voice said.

“Well, just you wait until we get to our destination” the man added.

“Wait, isn’t this the train to the centre of town? I’m late already for work” Faith asked.

The man laughed for what seemed like a lifetime and eventually responded.

“Oh no, this is the express train to the deepest darkest, crevices of your mind.  You see, Faith, we’ve been lurking there forever, and as dark things that aren’t watched tend to do, we’ve multiplied in number and have grown quite strong, as you can see.  Doctors called it psychosis, but we call it a party!”

The man’s face, which had been a clown mask, contorted and became a painted clown face as he began laughing maniacally, showing his sharpened teeth.  As he laughed, all of the clowns on the train turned towards Faith and also began laughing.  Faith could feel the terror rising up in her.  The asthma spray wasn’t helping.  She curled over, put her hands over her ears, and tried to breathe.

Faith felt a heavy hand on her shoulder.  A woman’s voice said, “It’s time to go, Faith.”

Hoping the woman was there to help, Faith sat upright and looked at the woman.  She was shocked to find a large — and very hairy — man in an orange striped leotard.

“I’m Darryl and I will be your guide today,” said Darryl, in a voice that sounded just like Marilyn Monroe.

Darryl looked down at the end of the train car, to the door way at the end and said, “Come on, She’s waiting.”

Faith’s legs were wooden as she clunked down the aisle of clowns, following Darryl.  Every clown eye was trained on them as they passed.  Faith could feel their menace as each smiled and whispered among themselves.  Faith could almost hear bits and pieces of what they said, but not quite.

They finally reached the door at the end of the train.  Darryl turned around as he began to open the door and breathlessly said, “After you.”

The End


This story was brought to you by:
The Haunted Wordsmith
Keep it Alive
Tales from the Mind of Kristian
Tao Talk

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The Day They Forgot

It had become nothing more than a laughing stop for visitors and local school children. Few remembered why the shark’s head jutted from the pier as though a cheap horror movie was in a constant state of production. Every year on June 3, a disheveled old man walked down the pier and stood in front of the sculpture and wept. He had been seen every June for more than seventy years and each year was more painful than the one before. He was tired – physically, mentally, and emotionally. He was tired of living for ghosts. He owed it to them though – his classmates – his teacher – his father. He owed it to those whose lives were taken that fateful day when the shark attacked. The town may have forgotten … turned it into a mockery, but he never forgot. Survivor’s guilt was worse than death.


Sadje posted the above image in response to the Tell-a-Story challenge and opened it to anyone…so, obviously I picked it up.

Snow

Snow covered much of the known world for over a generation. Few remained who remembered a life before the snow; even fewer believed the tall tales of warm water, parks, and only one layer of clothing. News reports began on Day 14273 but few believed it. Soon scientists and government agencies reported their findings – including photographs. The snow was receding. All were fascinated by their findings. Young people began doubting everything they thought they knew while the old sat back and smiled. There, buried under the snow, was proof of the life they remembered – a life before the endless snow.


While Charli is digging out from Northern Michigan’s snowmageddon and dealing with dying computers, they have posted an informal interim 99-word flash fiction challenge.