The train by Terry Cummings

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He turned quickly to look behind him and then looked back into the cubicle. The mirror was angled directly toward him and he should be seeing his reflection now. But it was simply not there. The wall behind him, the door, the entrance to the compartment behind him. All where they should be. It was just his reflection that was missing. He staggered backwards and felt the wall on his back, his eyes still trained on the mirror. He reached a hand out toward the mirror but although he could feel his arm moving there was no sign of his hand or the sleeve of his jacket. Nothing. He looked down toward his legs and feet and saw only the floor of the carriage. A cigarette butt lay where someone had sneaked a smoke from the open window, a chewing gum wrapper. Dirt.
No body. He quickly placed invisible hands onto every part of his body and was rewarded with familiar sensations of touch. His hands could feel his body and his body could feel his hands. He was there. He could feel himself.
He rushed into the cubicle and turned on the cold water tap, water rushed out obediently into his cupped hands and he splashed it across his face and into his eyes. With blinking eyes he looked up again into the mirror. This was no dream, the water was too fresh and clear. The mirror showed him only the cubicle walls and the hallway of the carriage beyond.
He turned and walked out. He was half convinced now that someone had drugged his coffee and that his mind was playing an hallucinogenic game with him. All he could think to do was return to his seat and wait for the effects to wear off.
The carriage doors opened at his approach and he walked through the compartments back toward his own.
As he stepped into the joining section before his carriage he noticed for the first time that the trains rhythmical thrum was whispering a now familiar noise as it rushed across the tracks. terribilis est locus iste, terribilis est locus iste, terribilis est locus iste, terribilis est locus iste. Over and over. He stepped toward the door and entered his compartment. The noise was muted slightly as the doors closed behind him.
Before him, halfway down the carriage, near where he had been sitting, stood a man dressed in khaki.
"Ah, Mr Tate, I'm so very glad you could join me." He said. "Please, do sit down". The man raised an arm and indicated the seats to his left. Tate walked toward him, unbalanced by the rocking, lurching motion as the train negotiated the tracks beneath it, his hand grasped the headrests of several seats as he made his way toward the man. He noticed that the man seemed unaffected by the trains movements, standing calmly and still as Tate approached. As he got nearer he could see the yellow stained teeth beneath the mans smile.
"You are quite right to be confused Mr Tate." Said the man. "If you will take a seat I will explain."
Tate sat slowly, easing himself onto the seat, his unseen knees knocking against the table before him. The man in khaki sat opposite him.
"How do you feel Mr Tate?" He asked.
"Confused." Tate replied groggily.
"You have a right to be, this is a very confusing moment in your life".

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