Storytime Sunday: The Station

The-StationThe woman in front of him didn’t appear to have a head, just an over-sized floppy hat placed directly on her shoulders.

It took him some time to notice this, as he’d been absorbed in a game on his phone, only looking up after one too many crushing defeats crashed the app

She was very tall, nearly 6’5”, which would be a good height on a woman with a head and was rather over-achieving on a woman without one.

A worry entered his thoughts, and he checked his bank account. Paycheck still hadn’t come through. Damn. They were getting later and later with that every month.

He looked up from the phone again and noticed that the woman also seemed to fade around the edges. There was something else off about her, too. It was as though light didn’t affect her as it did everything else around them. That was strange.

He poked open another app and fidgeted while it loaded. The train was running rather late today, he thought. The app opened but it was the wrong one. He closed it, found the one he wanted, and almost pressed it before deciding to check the train schedule instead.

The woman was standing closer now. He shuffled away, muttering “Sorry” under his breath while scrolling through the day’s schedule. Ah, good. Just two minutes until it arrived.

The woman was close again, and again he shuffled away, not bothering with an apology this time.

He checked Facebook.

One message… no, he didn’t feel like answering that now. Two notifications. Someone had liked a comment he had left on the status of a mutual friend, bringing his comment to five affirmations in total. He was pretty sure it was funny enough for at least ten likes. Someone else had commented, but it was not as clever. It had six likes. He scowled.

The woman placed a bony hand on his shoulder, so cold it sent a chill spreading from her fingers through his clothing, his skin, his muscle, and settling in the bone beneath. Irritated, he shrugged it off.

Someone had posted a photo of a cat with a funny caption. He loved cats. He opened the photo and read the caption. He smiled slightly, typing “LOL!!!” in the comment box.

It had been posted by the pretty receptionist from the office, he noticed. He clicked her name to read her profile.

The hand was back, spreading its creeping cold through his bones and into his blood, settling like splinters of ice in his heart. He tried to shrug it off, but it clenched harder. He decided to ignore it.

Damn, the receptionist had a boyfriend. He might have actually asked her out tomorrow. “I liked that cat photo a lot,” he would have said. “Do you want to have dinner?”

He wished the strange woman would just let go of his shoulder. Some people just had no sense of boundaries.

He tapped the search bar and typed his ex’s name, even though he knew she had a new boyfriend and was on a beach trip and would probably have photos of the two of them kissing in their bathing suits plastered all over her wall. Also, the last time he’d talked to her she’d called him a directionless loser with no hope of improvement so he could just stop calling her before she blocked his number thank-you-very-much.

He was pretty sure he was now in her phone as Bastard#4. That’s what happened to her other exes, anyway.

The train arrived before her page could finish loading, though he could see she’d changed her profile picture to one of her and that dick of a new boyfriend kissing on the beach. The train doors slid open and he walked forward to board with some difficulty. The strange woman was clinging harder to him, grasping at his clothing with her other hand.

Yep. There was a bikini shot. She’d even gotten a tan, and it looked like she was working out more. He stepped onto the train, flicking through the photos to see if she’d kept the ones from their relationship. Behind him, the woman gurgled madly, trying to pull him from the train. He swatted at her hands and she lurched back just as the train doors closed.

That was weird, he thought. The train pulled forward.

 

Back at the station, the headless woman stared after the departing train car, following its motions from the gaping hole that peeked from beneath the huge hat. She sighed wetly, sending more blood gurgling up through the neck wound and spilling over to dribble down her gore-soaked dress.

It was getting to be very difficult work, being a ghost.


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