Night Train

“Choo! Choo!” the night train from New York leaves the station at exactly 11:01pm and not a second later. departing for chicago, the overnight train is mostly empty save for a few

A man is sitting in a booth reading the paper. the headline reading “Commie Found In Suburban America!” he ponders the title before reading the opening paragraph and lets out a sigh. As he turns the page he catches a glimpse of a man passing his booth. his curiosity is sparked as to what that man might be riding for but is then quickly doused by reading the next page’s title; But before he can get 10 words into the story, the door opens. his attention is quickly drawn to the door. “Hello” says the man. He moves over to the seat opposite and removes his trench coat and trilby hat before taking a seat. “Evening” replies Ernest wearily. “I hope you don’t mind, but there wasn’t any lights on in the other booths”. “not at all” replied ernest, wanting to get back to reading his paper. Just as he was about to read on, the man spoke. “my name is Juri, Juri Jaakola”. Seeing where this was going Ernest replied once more “Nice to meet you Juri. My name is Ernest”. The booth fell silent once again, just as Ernest intended. Not to say Ernest was antisocial, just that he didn’t like the general small talk of meeting new people and would rather relax and read the paper, but it seemed that this would not happen this night. “So Ernest, what brings a man like yourself to be on a train at this hour?”. I’m a journalist he said, “i have a new article ready for publishing”. “Ohh, how interesting. what’s it regarding?” “the CIA” “.The CIA” Juri Replied. “and what article might you have about them” He asked. “How the Hoover administration is directly tied and working with the media to persecute people and remove our civil liberties as Americans” “woah” Juri “Replied “that is quite outlandish for a American to write about, especially considering your country’s conservative politics and culture” “yeah” replied Ernest. ” I mean, look at this” Ernest pointed to the front Headline. “Commie Found In Suburban America!” “this is blatantly a distraction used to avert peoples attention to this “red threat” when its the administration that claims to be protecting them is the one imprisoning them” “IT IS!” Juri exclaimed! “Such administration seeks to rule you all, yet pretends it is acting on behalf of your safety and values!” “yeah..” Ernest said once again wearily. The booth fell silent once more. Ernest now actually engaged rather then being polite, asked “So, Juri. Where are you from?” Juri smiled and said “i am from Karelia. near the Finnish Border” “Finland?” Ernest asked “Yes, Finland and Russia share the Karelian border” “Russia….” Ernest stopped for a moment. “I hadn’t a clue that Jaakola was a Russian name” “it isn’t” Juri said “it is originally Finnish, but my Grandparents moved to Russia over 90 years ago” “Right…well what a colourful history”. Ernest got back to reading his news paper and once more, silence came over the booth

Remembering his team were playing that night. ernest asked “Juri. Mind if i turn on the radio?” “not at all” replied Juri. Ernest started fiddling with the dials trying to find a frequency. then suddenly, the static was broke by the soft voice of America FM’s lead anchor Bob Lindberg. “In sports today the Red Soxs beat the Yankees by 8 – 2. “ahhhh, damn” ernest mumbled as the broadcast continued. “And in other news, Authorities are advising citizens to watch out when traveling alone, as Soviet agents are reported to befriend people with the hopes of extracting information and even capture to be programmed as sleeper cells”. “pffft” “let’s turn that tripe off shall we?”. Juri pressed the switch and the radio cut off. “i’m glad there are people like you Ernest” “People to show how absurd this country can be”. Ernest feeling rather troubled by the report remained silent. “excuse me, i’ll just go to the toilet” Juri got up and strode towards the door “watch my stuff will you” Juri laughed.

As Juri had left from the booth and was strolling down the corridor, it replayed in Ernest’s head. “watch my stuff will you”. Ernest’s eyes were slowly drawn to the suitcase on the side of padded bench. there laying on the seat, was a brown leather suitcase as plain and ordinary as any you might see. but the growing suspicion of his fellow traveller was starting to circle in his mind. I mean Ernest was critical of the government and its doings, but he was none the less a patriot and thought this only because he loved America so much; but was it right to look into a mans personal belongings with no evidence to warrant such a thing? He weighed up the options, he knew he hadn’t long before Juri would return and the opportunity pass but he couldn’t decide what to do. In a spur of energy he reached for the briefcase and placed it on his lap. He examined the briefcase carefully and then came to the latches. he pulled the first latch “whack!” it swung open hitting the briefcase as the end, the 2nd one followed accordingly “whack!”. As he sat there in awe of what he had just done, he slowly lifted the cover of the briefcase and took out a sheet that looked like a official document. He couldn’t make out anything as it was all in Russian. he took out another, it was a official American document. Puzzled as to how a foreigner had government documentation and forms, he sat blank for a moment. He snapped out of it and realised the urgency of the situation. Ernest examined it as well he could but in the quick and frantic actions, all he had managed to see was Juri’s photo in the top right corner, and on a separate sheet, a list of names, American names, some Ernest had even recognised as big business owners. Ernest’s began shaking, he could barely process what he had saw when suddenly “WOOOOH!”. a passing train whizzed past the left side of the train causing Ernest to shudder and look at the flickering lights piercing the black night outside. when the train had finally passed he saw in the reflection, Juri approaching. he was striding through the corridor only 4 booths away. Terrified Ernest began franticly throwing the documents back into the briefcase. he rammed the latches back into place as he stared at the reflection of the approaching figure. He was one booth away but Ernest was still with the briefcase on his side. so Ernest in a fit of panic tossed the briefcase. It bounced about from the cushions and landed in the middle of the floor just before Juri had opened the door. Ernest paralysed with fear, tried to remain calm and act natural as if nothing had happened in Juri’s absence. Juri looking at Ernest who was quite obviously startled asked “is everything alright?” “fine, yeah everything’s fine”. Juri, puzzled slowly walked back to his seat when suddenly “thud”. he looked down to see his ordinary, brown briefcase. “huh” Juri said. “how did this get here?”. Ernest trying to remain as collected as possible replied “beats me. we went over a bumpy patch a while back, perhaps it fell then”. “…..and you didn’t notice it?” asked Juri. “i did not” Ernest sharply replied. Juri continued over to the bench and sat down. Now Actively starting conversation, Ernest asked. “so Juri, you never told me what you do?” “Ohh its nothing exciting” Juri said “nothing like writing about the CIA” Juri accompanied with a laugh. “Ohh but your being too modest, i’m sure you have a interesting story”. Juri looked at him discomfited, sensing the change in Ernest’s demeanour.  “I have foreign investment ready to set up with American businesses”. Ernest also sensing a change in the atmosphere knew now that the game was on. He thought to himself “i have to try to lure him into something incriminating” “get proof of my suspicions”. Ernest “ohhh wow, now why didn’t you want to tell about that? that sounds pretty interesting. Maybe even interesting enough for me to write a article about international relations between the US and Russia improving” Juri looked at him displeased. “So tell me, what kind of businesses are you looking to invest in?” “that is only for me and my employer to know” he replied. “your employer huh?”. “Well being a journalist, i happen to know more then the average joe about Russian industry. does your government still have active shares in the industry sector?” “NO MORE QUESTIONS!” Juri barked. “Why! is it because you have no more of this facade to play?!” Ernest stood and pointed at Juri. “What!? What are you talking about?” Juri bounced back. “the briefcase! show me the briefcase! Ernest demanded! “My briefcase?! never. It is my property and you have no right to ask me such a thing” “Ahhhh but a innocent man would not refuse” Ernest exclaimed. “But a free man would not give in to such madness”. “Ha” Ernest laughed, “thats real original coming from a commie” and at once Ernest pounced on Juri, going straight for his throat. He grabbed him and Juri did to as they both flung each other to the ground and were wrestling on the floor. “You son of a bitch, ill kill you!” Ernest bellowed into Juri’s face as he slowly tightened his grip around his throat. the light in Juri’s eyes started to fade, desperately Juri started to claw and scratch the face of Ernest, trying to free himself from this suffocation. Falling back screaming, Ernest laid on his back in agony as Juri laid there trying to recover from near death. Getting a second wind, Ernest then picked up Juri’s briefcase and proceeded with bashing his face in with it. “crack” “crack” “crack” the sounds of the briefcase hitting the hard head were soon replaced with those of squishy sounds as Juri’s face was reduced to nothing more then a bloody pulp with a crevice. He then dismounted and sat there with his back against the door breathing heavily at what had just happened. He turned to look at Juri’s destroyed face and the remaining hole that was left, and the briefcase beside the mess that had wreaked such damage. Tiredly, he reached for the briefcase and opened it. Inside were the documents he had seen before. The official document that he had seen before and sheet with the names of the Americans. Looking at them he saw on the official document two dates. The first dated a week ago and the 2nd due in 5 days. upon further inspection he saw more information that could be deciphered. a birthplace, Karelia, just like he had said and his full name Juri Abram Jaakola. then an American ink stamp on the bottom left corner in a boxed area. Ernest started to Panic as he started to realise this was a Russian visa to enter the country. “Wait!” He said aloud as he remembered the names of the Americans on the sheet. He franticly pushed all the papers aside to find this. he grabbed it and brought it close to his face, as if to examine it in fine detail; but the more he looked, the more he had realised the grave mistake he had made. Starting to see that in fact all names on the sheet were that of American businessmen who had in the past expressed there plans to trade in agricultural goods. Ernest sat there, covered in blood as his whole world around him fell apart. He started to shake frantically in the self realisation that everything he had ever stood for, in the preservation of liberty, privacy and innocence until proven guilt were destroyed by his own  paranoia. just like they had intended. and as he sat there drenched in the deeds he had committed he heard the whistle

“Choo! Choo!”

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