The Station

by Johnny Carlton

Copyright 2012 Johnny Giesbrecht

Johnny Carlton is a writer of suspense thrillers available as e-books at

When people on Earth get old, and sometimes while they’re still young, they find themselves in The Station or on their way to it.  Most of them don’t seem to know where they are, apparently because they haven’t bothered to find out.

The Station is a combined train station and a space station.  The trains and spaceships are constantly taking passengers away out of the station, and seldom bringing any back.

The sooty black departing trains all have the same destination–they go underground into the coal mines.

Likewise, the glistening white departing spaceships all have the same destination–they head up among the stars to a beautiful world.

Those people in the station who wish to take the trains already have their tickets with them when they arrive.  These people are usually quite proud of their tickets, for they have earned them with hard work, sweat, and tears.  It hasn’t been easy for them a good deal of the time, for they have had to do selfish and even cruel things to earn those tickets.

They have been told, before they got to the station, as well as after they got there, that free spaceship tickets are available.  Should they decide to board one of the spaceships instead of a train, they simply need to go to the big garbage can with the sign, REPENTANCE, over it and throw their train tickets into it and ask for a free spaceship ticket to replace it.

But the people who still hold train tickets have worked so bloody hard for their right to get on the trains leading down to the coal mines that they hate to give them up.  After all, they have murdered, killed babies, figured out ingenious ways to be cruel to their spouses with imaginative insults, cleverly cheated on their income tax, and encouraged their fellow human beings to muddle up their minds through the imbibing of various kinds of chemicals, etc., etc.  Some of them have also been energetically involved in churchgoing and making up great lists of moral rules and complicated guidance systems apparently calculated help them get through the problems of the world as they’re on their way to the coal mines.  It’s hard to turn against all this stuff that they’ve done to earn their train ticket–particularly since all of their accomplishments are listed right on the ticket.

Still, many of them do just that, throwing their train tickets in the garbage and accepting their free spaceship ticket.  Some do this even while they’re still on their way to the station (a provision has been made to allow for this), but others wait for the last moment before their spaceship leaves.  Some wait too long, ignoring the “All aboard” calls and warnings, so they miss their flight and have to take the train instead; for no one is allowed to stay in the station very long.

When someone in the station, or on their way there, decides to take the spaceship rather than the train, and the free ticket is granted to such a person, something of great importance is revealed and explained to that person:

He or she is informed that although the ticket is free of charge to the one who receives it, it has been very costly to the one who provides it–namely the pilot of the spaceship.

You see, he once took the train trip into the coal mines, even though he had no ticket for that–he had not done any of the things that qualify one for the trip.  But he went through the terrible drudgery of carrying great loads of coal on his back, and then went down still deeper to where the coal is being formed under immense pressure and intense heat.  Then, because of his particularly great and heroic power, and because–after all–he had done nothing to earn his stay underground, he came back to the surface.

Before this happened, travelers on Earth had only one option: the trains.  It was only after the hero’s underground trip that the spaceship line opened up as an alternative way of traveling on from the station–to the place among the stars already mentioned.

And the GREAT STATION MASTER, who had set up the train lines, and now the spaceship lines, and who was the Father of the hero who had made the undeserved underground trip, made a great announcement that rang through the station and through all the Earth:

Anyone who so desires can now throw away his or her train ticket because the pilot of the spaceship has already made that unhappy trip for them.  He now offers to all the totally free ticket entitling them to go with him on a glorious one-way trip to the stars.

But this applies only to those who are willing to loosen their clutch on their well-deserved, hard earned train ticket.



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