“You’re in the wrong seat.”
Liam took out his air pods and looked at the older gentleman who was tapping on his shoulder. “Excuse me?”
“You’re in the wrong seat. Move.”
“Oh, um…” Liam looked down the train hoping the conductor was in his car but found only empty seats looking back. “I’m pretty sure this is my seat.”
The older gentleman grumbled under his breath and pulled out his ticket. “You’re in my seat! Look!”
Liam looked and the seat numbers were indeed the same, but the man was in the wrong car. As he tried to explain the man’s error, the man grabbed him by the collar and proceeded to shake him while screaming obscenities. Liam was not prone to violence but it took everything he had to restrain himself.
“Sir, this isn’t your –“
“You stupid, spoiled, young people!” The man started slapping Liam’s shoulders. “Think everyone–“
“Is there a problem here?” A uniformed man interrupted the escalating argument.
Liam raised his head, panting, and looked into his savior’s eyes and shivered. Something about this man made Liam want to flee. As if he was staring down a hungry lion.
“This smart ass, greedy, little bastard won’t get out of my seat.”
The uniformed man raised his hand and stopped Liam. He looked both men up and down, then took a deep breath. “Young man, I think you’ll find your seat in the next car.”
The older gentleman grew smug and watched with a great sense of accomplishment as Liam collected his things and walked toward the car’s door.
“Liam,” the uniformed man said, holding the door open for him, “you owe me one. Make better decisions. Understand?”
In that moment, all his past transgressions and wrong decisions flashed in his mind. His knees quaked and his mouth longed for moisture. All he could muster was a quick nod.
Before the uniformed man closed the door behind him, Liam turned and said, “Thank you.”
“Remember what I said.”
Liam found his seat in the next car and leaned against the window. The world raced past in a blur. Before he could ask whether it was normal for the train to be going that fast, the train derailed and split apart. The last three cars on the train, including the one he was assigned to, plunged into the ravine.