On The Train

We were in the tunnel when they blocked it. Perhaps they knew we were in there as they set the charges, perhaps they did not. Someone must have seen the train go in at one end or the other but both sides decided to detonate at the same time, and schedules are schedules.


It felt like a joke at first. We all laughed. We’ll be in here forever! someone cackled, and we all fell about. Probably wouldn’t make that joke now, not now it’s clear they have left us here.

Most of us have left the train and gone looking for a way out. Nobody has found one; we can be sure of this as, after an incident with someone groping in the dark and finding nothing but deeper darkness, we count people in and out like sheep. Fewer people now venture into the tunnel. We found the rubble at both ends and know that above us only sea. Anyone who leaves goes only to take a break from the train.

This is understandable. Order has not broken down, because we all know the only thing keeping us alive is co-operation. We have some communication issues, but generally speaking there is someone to translate for everyone, even if it sometimes has to go in a chain. The only people completely in the dark are a Japanese couple, with whom we have decided on a rudimentary sign language. I’m glad they have each other. Being able to speak to someone, really speak, is the greatest candle we can light against the gloom.

No one knows how or why the lights are on in the train. Who stocks the food in the furthest carriage. Where the toilets flush to, precisely, is also a mystery. If we could follow that, could we leave? Or would we find ourselves crushed in a full-to-bursting septic tank bolted beneath the chassis? No one is that brave.

How long, then, will we sit here in this chain of light beneath crushing darkness? Do we breed down here, bring sallow infants to a world never to know the daylight? Or simply go on as we are, live until the last of us is gone? I know what I favour, but humans are human. We will try, somehow, to endure. To continue. Something or someone, some group has decided to keep us down here. What example shall we give them? We must stay together and remain as we were – civilised, respectful, kind. They have not created demons, down here in Hell.

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