The Train of Thought leaves at 11:12 P.M.

“Come on, Jack!” The man leaning out of the already moving train shouted hoarsely at the figure frantically running toward him, tripping and lurching across the lurid red platform, which swayed back and forth, like some congealed substance. “Hurry – hurry and get on, before it leaves!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming!”

“You better be! The Train won’t fall behind schedule – you ought to know that!”

“Yeah, I know,” Jack called back as he ran toward the entrance to the train, panting as he did. He tried not to think about what would happen if he didn’t make it. He would make it. He had to. The pillars of the great stone building which encased the station became a blur as he ran.

He had never been late before, but perhaps this tardiness was justified somewhat by the overwhelming forgetfulness he had experienced beforehand. This year it had been worse than normal, and he had only remembered that he had to get on The Train at 11:02 – just ten minutes before The Train left.

A wave of worry rushed over him, threatening to overwhelm his senses as he watched The Train slowly speed up, now chugging along side him. Straining his aching muscles to the max, Jack ushered forth a burst of speed, and once again began to gain on the doorway to The Train.

He was almost there! Jack grinned at the man on The Train, who grinned back and yelled something to him, but Jack didn’t hear it over the roar of the engine. He checked his watch. The time was 11:11, with only 17 seconds until the time changed to 11:12. As Jack looked toward the doorway – still several yards away – nausea and panic threatened to overwhelm him. He wasn’t going to make it. Clenching his teeth and praying for a miracle, Jack ran faster – the fastest he had ever ran.

The man on The Train must have noticed the look on Jack’s face, because he glanced down at his watch. He looked back at Jack, but the grin which had been on his face was gone now. He looked at Jack in horror, the terrible fate which awaited Jack at the forefront of his mind.

Too afraid to watch the train, too scared to see what would happen, Jack concentrated on his feet as he ran. CRACK! The noise was devastating, and a shock-wave reverberated throughout the station. Jack stopped running and bent over, panting, knowing what was about to happen – ding – a chime sounded now, and Jack slowly lifted his head. The train had vanished. He cursed himself, and he felt tears coming to his eyes. He was powerless to stop it. What? Wait, what was he doing…

What was…

Did I stop something?

But I need to get on the train! I need to get…on…

Who…

Jack fell to his knees. As he keeled on the platform, small and insignificant against the expanse of red that surrounded him, his body began to deteriorate. Small white particles chipped off of his hands – at first slowly, but then speeding up, spreading to the rest of his body. As the last chips floated away, a brilliant white sphere revealed itself from within what had been Jack’s body. A shadowy figure appeared, materializing out of thin air, and snatched the white orb away before it disappeared – forever.

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