The Night Train: The Beginning

By Michelle Tan

            I watched my reflection being slapped by the buildings as the train progressed. She seemed like she needed some rest, as she looked right back at me.  Her sleek, waist-length, ebony-black hair is placed at her left upper body; making the night city sparks appear on her hair, which apparently, makes half of her upper body look invisible. My reflection was once a beauty, until time has taken away its parts.

            Looking up at the information panel, I saw how the silhouettes move and fade; slimming down, as they were ones revealing their thick shadowy-structure. It guided me to look at the right side, the division of the train. I am at the women's section while my bodyguard, Steve, is at the male's section. Since, I have night shift in my college schedule, my dad won't let me commute on my own because he thinks it isn't safe. Eight stations plus two jeep rides and a twenty-meter stroll, the distance between school and home seemed so far.  Steve has been guarding me since 1997; I was just turning one when he started being all around the house. He has four lovely daughters in whom he didn't grow up with just to "form" me or take his place as my second father because of my busy biological one.

            Steve was holding my school bag. I remembered the feeling while waiting on the next train, because we missed the skip train. There were tremendous coughing and sneezing by the public, also waiting for the next train. Steve grabbed my bag. "It's not safe. I should hold this so you could regain your strength."
            We debated that I should hold it, but he insisted. By the glass windows on the division, I looked at him at the glass mirror and he looked at me. He is still guarding me even if I am far away.

            Two meters away from the rail transit doors. There are 3 stations left.
            Suddenly, the women's section were shocked by the tapping heard at the male's division. There were three handprints filled with blood. At the male's section, people were screaming. We cannot fully see what is happening at the other side, but we all know that something is happening.
            "My bag." I said to myself. But there is something worse...Steve!
            The next station is approaching. Should I leave or should I stay? Where is Steve? I hope he is okay.

            Then, the speakers beeped and the train driver spoke with emergency.     “ATTENTION: We will no longer arrive at the next few stations. This will be the last station for everyone. The zombie apocalypse has just begun, and we are sorry for the interruption. Have a safe trip." The speakers were switched off.
            Everyone got frightened. The faces of women draw a significant frown of terror and a noticeable big-eyed confusion, flooded with tears.
            Without my bag, my only weapon now is my three-inch heel. I hope Steve is safe. Not because he HAS my bag, but because he knows better.

            The train stopped. My escape plan: ZERO, but I have to run.
            As fast as I can, I ran towards the security guard, grabbed his gun. He tried to stop me but before I know it, a zombie had already bitten his left arm, and another one gnashed through his throat. I have to find Steve. I entered the male's section, and saw my bag left on the floor. Where is Steve?
            Someone grabbed me. It's him, putting his index finger at his mouth. I closed my lips. He pointed the hole down the train station. He then guided me to the rail tracks to the other side.
            When I got to the other side of the station, I lost track of Steve. I don't know where he went; I am confused, on where to go and what to do.

            "Steve?" I called. Later, he revealed himself to me. He is holding his left forearm dripping with blood.
            "It's not safe for me to go," He said. "Go tell my kids I love them, if you see them. I know you can make it. Hurry they are coming!"
            "I don't know where to go" I am helpless.
            "Go home!"
            "I don't know how to go home!" I mean, it's three stations to home. I am not used to connecting directions. Plus, who would want to commute in the midst of an apocalypse?
            "Just go! Now"
            I cried when I saw the sight of him being gnashed by a pack of zombies. I don't know how to say this to my parents nor to his children. I don't know if I will ever make it.
            I only have my school bag and a gun with four loads. In my school bag, there are books, medicine kit, extra shoes (for running, thank God!), some biscuits, a flashlight and extra shirt. Steve always taught me how to be prepared at anything. I guess this one is very handy.
            I ran downstairs and saw the chaos. People were stealing goods, were being bitten by the monsters, were hiding, were running, were scared, and some were turning one of them. I collected and read books about zombies. I went to the "emergency axe kit" and broke into it. I have some weapons now, but I need more... and I just knew the person, Jojo.
            Jojo is my boyfriend who trained all his life to get into military. He is two years younger than me, but still, he knows how weapons work and how to be a soldier. He was always there for me, guarding my back. I feel so weak when I dialed his phone, and he answered.
            "Hi, it's me. I am in 5th Avenue station," Then I dropped my phone, distracted by an incoming zombie at the stairs. I smashed his head with my high heel. I realized that I must change into my running shoes instead, and so I did it swiftly.
            "I'm on my way," He texted at the broken screen on my phone.
            I ran towards the secluded part of the station.
            I went to a shop where there is food, and grabbed all that I can. Toiletries, tampons, canned goods, candies, clothes, some loads, batteries and some shitty meds including bandages. People are panicking. I tried to grab a hammer, but someone had it first and wanted to trade my axe for it. I disagreed, and then a zombie appeared at the front door.
            People pushed through a "safer" area but everyone was scattered. Some of the zombies tried to bite me but I tried to shoot them at the head.
            I have some money left at my pocket and I don't know what it's worth is.
            A motorcycle just broke into the grocery glass. It's Jojo's baby! He threw his extra helmet at me and I caught it and ran towards him while he shoots the zombies approaching us. My warrior! I wore my helmet while running towards him.
            "Hop on!" He said and I sit at his back.
            "Here," he handed me a gun. "Shoot while we run this baby!" He added.
            And he swung his red and black motor baby to swift mode. I braced his torso while looking around for approaching wave.
            The sight of the zombies running towards you are both frightening and exhilarating at the thought of bringing the attention to them. I watched some of the civilians being eaten by them.
            There is nothing ordinary in hearing people scream by having seen their own parts torn by hungry meat-eater, treating them like freshly cooked fried chicken. The smell of blood is flooding all over town and I don't know where Jojo is taking me. I remembered the feeling when I stepped into a puddle of blood. Infected or not, I know what blood meant a lot to both humans and zombies--the flowof life.
            Little than I know, the sight of them is disappearing. Jojo took me to a secluded area that I didn't know.
            "It's my secret hiding spot in case of emergency. It's now in great use."
            There was a gate (painted like its background for camouflage purposes, I think) and he beeped his device that made it open, then close as we pass by. We entered a dark tunnel, and I can hear the beat of my heart pounding fast.
            Then we entered into a door with a staircase downstairs.
            When we got to a room that said DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE, he said, "This is ours now." and the rapid heartbeat grew more. And the sight of the room was revealed to me. It is not really a room of electricity, but a room full of almost everything--a king bed, some food, water, guns, bullets, medicine, gadgets, surveillance camera, books, and TV.
            "Starting now, we could finally leave together, and you are mine." He grabbed my waist and kissed my lips. I miss my boyfriend. We're one year and six months now and I couldn't believe how our dream of living together came so quickly.
            "Your place is incredible," I added. "But what about your family."
            "Thanks, I know you will love it. You are my family now!"
            "But, what about storing more food and water in the future? Or what about my studies? What about my family?"
            "Babe, don't you get it everything is over! There is no future for the survivors, now. We only get to enjoy life the way it is."
            "But, what about the people who can't have any place to stay. We could invite them here."
            "No we can't! These are the days when you cannot trust anyone you just met. These are the days that survivors won't care about anything more than themselves. These are the days when you should only stick to your plans."
            "Don't you think that's unkind and selfish? And what if I don't become a part of your plan anymore?"
            "Babe, I don't want to fight with you. You are everything that mattered to me. Here," he switched the TV on and I saw the chaos outside. No matter how humans outnumbered the zombies, the powerful always win. I cried to the sight that I can no longer see my family. Are they safe? Is Steve's family safe? Am I safe with Jojo?
            He opened his mouth, "babe, you are the only one I've always wanted to be with ever since. I know this would be tough for the both of us but we have to do this. I know how much you wanted to save people out there but there are just people out there who wouldn't want to save you. I don't want to risk that. I love you."
            "I love you too." I said. He smiled.
            "Remember the day when we dreamed of having a home built of anti-zombie? Since then I was saving stash to build our dream home by teaching and training people to do the military and while I was still modeling and acting. Well, I have enough, and it wasn't time, so I just built this place. I dreamed of marrying you, but we were too young. I know that it would be more complicated to build our dream house any longer, but I hope you feel comfortable with it. It's not much, but I hope it would suffice us."
            "Are you kidding? I love it! It's perfect! Thanks Jojo!" I wrapped my arms around him. I can't believe this guy loves me so much and I am so lucky to have him.
            "Even though we are too young to marry today, I would still ask anyway. Milla, will you marry me?"
            "I do!" And we kissed each other.
            "So, are we engaged or are we married."
            "You may kiss the bride." I say.
            And we kissed.

            I lost my virginity to him that night. We are young and wild. But we survived the tragedy. We hid, we fought, and we won.
            Living in a place where there are zombies is not easy, especially now that there are only a few survivors. I learned that there is no easy way out. Dying won't be a solution.
            I have Jojo's back, and he has mine. We love and care for each other. It's not the typical love story, but we are ready to fight back to whoever messes with it. We would be ready in any case, if that happens. Any tragedy won't be keep us apart.

The Night Train: The Beginning The Night Train: The Beginning Reviewed by Michelle Tan on 1:43 PM Rating: 5

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