No railway station at night looks less than a haunted place, especially at 2 a.m. at midnight. One or two humans can be seen at the platform, waiting for the train. Otherwise, mostly stray dogs and those whom you cannot see but only feel, roam around. Yet, unaware of whatever happening around him, Sumedh chose the rail track to sit over at the moment. The pitch-black darkness of the night overshadowing his black pant made his legs vanish only to make him visible in a white shirt from torso to head. Stopping down toward the ground and burying his face in both his palms, just
when he thought about his dismissal from the job, a sudden tap on his shoulder made him flinch. He turned back and stood only to see a handsome face of a man. “who ..who are you? What do you want?” asked Sumedh, a fright in his voice.
“what are you doing here?” The man asked in reply, looking striking in Black Pant Suit, though it fused with the darkness of the night, leaving his face brighter. His voice was deep. For an instance, Sumedh assumed he is a TT, but then thought they didn’t take a toll on the railway track.
“Nothing, I was just ..mmm.. looking for the cigarette that I might drop here.”, Sumedh lied as he did not want any trouble until he got to know who the person was.
“For the last three hours, am I right, my friend?” A slight curve appeared on his lip as he gave a sly smile. Sumedh felt his heartbeat thumping rapidly. A shiver went down his spine. For the whole time, the man was watching him. Shocked and frightened, he could only ask, “What do you want?”
The man chuckled. “That depends, but usually I stroll here every night and never find living things until now.” The man was weird and scary, thought Sumedh.
The man continued, “so are you ready?”
“For what?” Sumedh shrugged.
“For the train to go over you”
“what.. what rubbish are you saying?”
The man sat on the track and lit a cigarette. “So what did you come here for? To fire up a barbeque?” a mockery in his voice.
Sumedh remained quiet. Though he didn’t want to deny the fact that he came here after losing every hope to live, but couldn’t accept it either in front of a complete stranger.
“You want a drag”, The man offered him the cigarette. Sumedh hesitated first and then took it from him, took a deep pull, and sat beside the stranger.
“ Strange, I don’t get to talk to people here more often, you are my first “The man laughed quietly, then continued, “You know, I always wonder why people come here, why they want to take their lives when they’ve been given a precious gift, life. Not everyone is…”.
“Because it becomes a burden sometimes because of the pain life gives you, only death can cure.”
Sumedh cut in. “Sometimes life snatches the last ounce of hope from you, leaving behind no option to live“ He finished with a big sigh.
The man was watching him. “And only life can give you second chance what death is unable to offer, my dear friend.” The man was smiling at him. “Once you die, this is it. You can’t go back, undo is not an option.”
“Life is not fair to everyone, at least not to me, I have lost my job, lost my parents and my little brother before time, I have no one to go.” He could feel a lump in his throat, out of a snubbed agony. “I am sorry to hear that, but you still have time, still have life left in you. Dying is as easy as we are talking about right now. You die, you sleep, forever, until life wakes you up again in your next birth so that you can finish what you left in your past. Nothing fancy, I am telling you.” The man took a long drag of the cigarette. Sumedh felt a sudden uneasiness piercing his every nerve. Is he dreaming or a real stranger was sitting beside him talking about life philosophy in the middle of nowhere? Thoughts were shuffling in his mind. He could not speak anything but kept staring at the person he had just met, like a foolish child. Suddenly, a train whistle coming from a far distance broke the awful silence, and they saw a faint light growing brighter, approaching them. The man got up. “It’s time to go.” He started to walk across the rail path and went to the other side of the track.
Sumedh stood up too, and outside of the track, this time.
“ I think, I should go as well.” dumbfounded and was talking to himself.
The man kept walking alongside the tracks.
Without a deliberate consideration of what he should be doing, Sumedh uttered in a slightly loud voice toward the man, “Nice to meet you, umm.., but, I didn’t catch your name?” The man stopped and looked back at him. The handsome face looked inscrutable in the harsh darkness of the night.
“ Death”, the man yelled.
The train rushed through the wind.