Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Week Eight: April 19th - April 25th

Limbo in Transit

I think I might be stuck. The years -- like the landscapes outside -- have quickly gone by, yet here I sit, still on this train. Over the years, memories have charmed their way into my head, and then have abruptly slipped right back out. However, I do somewhat know how I came to be here.

I had been fired from my place of employment, and the best solution I could find was to take a large quantity of drugs. Looking back, it was so curious, the way strangers surrounded my body hanging out of an alley; their inaudible lips smacked together slowly, but all I could hear was a dull humming before everything went black. When the light came back on, I was sitting here, on this train that never stops; this train completely devoid of life.

Looking out of the window, the speed of my vessel makes the scenery blend together until the landscape is nothing more than paint smeared haphazardly on a blank canvas. It gets lonely here, but you learn to deal with it; you have to learn to deal with it. I have also learned that I cannot die here, which leads me to believe that I have in fact passed on. Coincidentally, this would also mean that I cannot live, so as I said before, I am stuck. At the very least, I can find a sort of comfort in the fluid earth outside. It sort of reminds me of the messes Scarlet used to make with her paints sets.


Oh lord, Scarlet was my daughter once upon a time. My gorgeous, intelligent, artistic, perfect little angel. I remember how she loved to go outside. She would run out there to hide when I would come home drunk. She would raise her little hands to her ears while sitting inside of a small evergreen bush we had growing in the backyard. I remember we could always find her because she would sing to herself until I was done shouting at Ashley. Why did I think this was alright for a young child to deal with? All the pain I have caused her, why did I do that! My perfect little angel, how could I treat you so bad? How could I!


That must have been my wife’s name. Yes, that was her name; she was such a strong woman. She always stood behind me, even though I would never look back. The long nights arguing, and the physical abuse; she didn't deserve that out of a piece of shit like me. She didn't deserve it much the same way I didn't deserve her. No, they didn't deserve it. I'm glad there aren't any mirrors on this train. I don't think I could stand to look at myself right now.

Ashley, my dear, sweet Ashley; my wonderful, caring, supportive Ashley. I made a habit of only apologizing after you left the room, and for that I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry, and I know I deserve to be here. I won't complain anymore.

I won't complain.

The man's cries leaked from the train, and flooded out into the world, climbing hills, and tumbling down valleys. Latching to wind, the cries were tossed into the air, and plummeted like rain drops into the earth, but nobody heard them. They waded into rivers, and swam out into the ocean, but nobody was there. He was truly alone.

No one is ever listening, and nobody will.

You are alone.


  1. I like the idea that for some after life is like a train that leads to nowhere. A train is a place where people bring books, ipods, sudokus, nintendos... ect. to escape the inevitable thinking they know that they will have to face if they have nothing to distract them.
    This abusive alcoholic has all of the time in the world, with no distractions, to lament over his actions.

    Format wise, I like the way you have them separated. They are divided into different regrets, but one leads into another, which gives us a clue as to how his thought process goes from one horrible thought to another. (now maybe it's because I have been to two art shows in two days, BUT) the separated paragraphs are like the train cars, and when he transfers into a new thought it's like the link from one car to the next.

  2. YEAH! I did that on purpose!

    No, but it DOES work, and I had been trying to make it appear almost as if he was the train. That is not the storyline of course, he is physically a person, but that his character personality matched up with a machine I guess. Even though he acts human, you can tell throughout the storyline as he's gaining back memories, he is but a sorry shell, and the ending was a sort of symbol of the limbo/train. He's sort of becoming inanimate I guess? I dunno, perhaps I didn't, but oh well :]