Fantasy, Home

Run, The Whistle’s Blowing

There’s a train coming. A beastly thing, pumping tar-black smoke as hellfire flares beneath that iron carriage.

It is the Hellfire Train. It runs only on nights where the weather is similarly hellish. It is a ghost train that never stops, never slows, and if you should be on the tracks lying in it’s path — pray your feet are quick, else you’ll be sucked beneath those stained wheels. The sound of the whistle blowing, and an echoing scream the last sounds you’ll ever hear.

Your screams won’t stop it, your begging and tears will do noting. It cannot be outrun. Not even the toughest debris will slow it’s pace. What lies in this metal monsters path will be broken and crushed beneath it’s rumbling heels. Especially if said debris is another train sharing the track.

But, it wasn’t always such a malicious metal beast. A long time ago, it was just another train, another machine with no mind or will of its own. But the again, it is not the train itself, that is so furious.

The Conductor that once sat behind the controls, pulled the levers and waved to passersby is the one that fuels the eternal fire that pushes the Hellfire Train on and on. A young man who once went by the name Tom.

Tom had worked the trains since he was a young lad, and after so many years became a Conductor. Tom loved his job, loved his train and his passengers, loved his routes — but the one thing Tom didn’t love, was his greedy boss.

A sleazy businessman that pushed Tom into exhaustion with longer hours, harder work, and pushed all conductors to take the trains on days when they really shouldn’t have. For years, Tom lived in fear of the day his boss would ask too much, the day where his, or his coworkers. trains would crash.

One day there was a terrible storm, and Tom begged and pleaded with his boss not to send out the train. The storm was too terrible, the risk of crashing too high — but Tom’s boss didn’t care. He wanted the train to run, and if Tom wasn’t behind the wheel, he’d find someone else.

Reluctantly, to keep his job, and hopefully prevent an accident, Tom agreed. He set out with the rain hammering down on his beloved machine. The smoke and mist made it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of the train, even with the light on. Even the bright lightning flashes afforded Tom little aid in guiding his way.

Tom tried to go slower, but with the cold and the slickness of the rain, Tom had to force the engine to run hotter, and so the train ran faster.

As the night went on, the storm growing fiercer and more dangerous by the minute — Tom grew angrier and angrier. Glaring into the elements that hindered his path, Tom screamed and cursed his luck, his boss, the world, and even his beloved train as the storm raged around him.

He hated having to be out here in such unpredictable and dangerous conditions. How could his (idiotic, cruel, bastard) boss be guilt-free in sending anyone out in such weather?! Tom was barely keeping up, and he was one of the best Conductors at the station. The only consolation Tom had was he was the only living occupant on the train.

Then, as he was coming by the final bridge, only a few miles from his destination, the event Tom had been dreading, came rushing to meet him.

No one knows what exactly caused Tom’s train to come off the tracks that night. Given the weather conditions, the speed the train had to maintain, and the pressure the engine and mechanics were put under, it is unlikely anyone will even know.

Regardless of the cause, Tom’s train slipped from the tracks, and fell. Burning hot, wheels still spinning, the train fell down to the canyon below, the sound of Tom’s final scream mingling with the train’s final whistle.

The remains of the train were recovered and scrapped. There was too much damage to for anyone to believe the train would ever run again. The cargo was similarly unrecoverable, and the less said about the remains of Tom, the better.

The boss of the station was removed, and justice was swift and merciless on that terrible man. (Even if he hadn’t been charged, so many residents loved Tom the Conductor, the businessman wouldn’t have made it a week before someone sought vengeance.) And a commemoration plaque was made in Tom’s honor, and stricter rules were made across all channels.

Tom and his train were buried, and for a time, there was peace on the tracks.

Until fives years later. On another terrible stormy night, as the men and new management argued the merits and dangers of running the trains, a whistle sounded in the night. A piercing hellish whistle accompanied by a manic scream echoed throughout the station.

All the people still lingering in the station raced to the tracks, and stared in horror as the ghost train came barreling down the tracks. Smoke billowing from the smokebox and windows, fire bursting from the seams, the burnt iron train came rushing past.

The men and women watched, unable to speak, staring at the spectral man in the front window. The ghost of Tom screamed and cursed, his message echoing in the minds of all that saw him.

“If a train runs in this weather, I will make it crash!” 

A flash of lightning blinded the men and women of the station, and that terrible whistle faded. But when the people looked up, sure they would still see that smoking train, it was gone.

This would mark the first sighting of Tom and his ghost train, but it would not be the last. True to his promise, if a train ran in conditions it shouldn’t, you would hear that hellish whistle. A last warning to stay off the tracks, or you would follow Tom and the Hellfire Train down into oblivion. And if you ignored it, or tried to outrun the ghost train?

You wouldn’t live to see the sun burst through the clouds again.

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