Steve Jones was a nasty piece of work.
‘Always has been and always will be’ his mother used to say. She’d disowned him long ago, in fact after the last time he’d been sent to prison for raping a thirteen year old girl, who had been so traumatised by what he’d done to her she committed suicide rather than face him again in a courtroom.
The judge had given him five years to serve, which had outraged the parents of the young girl, but there was nothing they could do. Steve knew that with good behaviour he could possibly be out earlier, but he really didn’t care. It was his home, he’d been in and out of prison so much he thought he’d actually come to like it. He had a warm bed every night, television to watch and a games room. So what if you had to slop out every morning or had to work while he was there, the pros outweighed the cons.
But here he was again, five years later, being turned out of prison into the big wide world. He knew he’d probably be back in here again soon but for now there were people to see. These people owed him money, a lot of money, and he was going to make sure that they paid him back in full.
Steve looked up and down the bleak road, which was lonely, dark and silent. Damn he thought. The taxi had been ordered for half past one and it was now a quarter to two. He paced up and down outside the tall and imposing prison gates, cursing the taxi driver under his breath. He’d show him; maybe he’d hijack the taxi and make the driver wish he’d never been born.
This thought brought a smile to Steve’s thin, tight lips. But he knew he didn’t want to get put inside again until he’d recouped his money, so he just carried on pacing up and down angrily.
Five minutes later and the taxi arrived. It was one of those that separated the driver from the passenger with glass, so there wouldn’t have been much chance of Steve getting hold of the driver anyway, Steve thought as he climbed in and slammed the door.
The taxi driver had tried to strike up a conversation, much to Steve’s annoyance, but he soon realised his passenger was not the talkative kind and he stopped talking. The journey to the station was in total silence. Nothing passed them on the road, all was quiet, and nothing stirred. The moor road on which they travelled was as cruel and unforgiving towards people who lost their way on them as Steve was to anyone who got in his way.
The taxi eventually pulled up outside the station and once Steve had paid the driver, the taxi pulled away giving a small wheel spin in the gravel on the road.
Steve stood on the platform of the train station, constantly looking at his watch. The station was deserted. Suddenly, Steve heard the distant rumble of the train as it headed towards the station.
Pulling out a cigarette, from the crumpled packet he’d taken from his pocket, he watched the train pull in. He deliberately lit it and stepped onto the waiting train and waited to see if anyone told him to put it out. No-one did.
The train was crowded with what Steve saw as no hopers. This was his view of the world. Not that he included himself in that category. He knew he was the scum of the earth and he also knew that this frightened a lot of people that he knew. A fleeting smile came across his lips as he sat next to a young man dressed in an expensive suit and resting a briefcase on his lap, clutching it tightly to his chest as though someone was going to snatch it from him.
As Steve sat down, the young man looked up at him and Steve halted in mid-air. The man’s eyes were cold and unwelcoming and Steve could almost believe he was looking into the eyes of a dead man, black and glassy. He shrugged off the feeling and sat down in his seat trying hard not to look at the man. The train started to move out of the station and Steve started to think of all the money that he was going to get at the end of his journey.
Suddenly, he was jolted out of his thoughts by a timid voice beside him.
‘How far are you going?’
Steve looked into the face of the young man, shuddering inwardly at the gaze from those eyes.
‘What’s it to you?’ Steve said, trying to show that he wasn’t disturbed by those awful staring eyes.
‘Just thought I’d be friendly,’ replied the young man, ‘my name’s David, what’s your name?’
Steve looked away as he answered the man. ‘What’s with all the questions?’
‘I told you I’m just trying to be friendly. You’ve been in prison, haven’t you?’ said David.
‘How the hell did you know that?’ Steve replied, harshly.
‘I can tell. I’ve been there too’.
Steve snorted as he turned to look at the man. There was no way this person had been in prison and a smile spread across his face as he asked, ‘What were you in for then?’
‘I killed my wife,’ replied David, ‘I found out she was having an affair and I cut her up really bad.’ David hung his head and continued, ‘I didn’t mean to kill her, just make sure no other man would want her again.’
Steve knew David wasn’t lying, he could tell. The emotion in his voice as he spoke, or the lack of it, proved the fact.
‘So what were you in for?’ David asked again, smiling slightly.
‘Various things,’ Steve mumbled, ‘Why?’
‘Well you are on this train, so it’s obvious you’ve done something bad’.
‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?’ Steve said angrily, spittle flying from his lips, face burning with annoyance. He so wanted to smack this man in the face.
‘This train only makes two stops, to pick people up that are the most evil of human beings to walk the earth and…’
Before he could continue, Steve grabbed David by the tie and pulled him close to his face and said, ‘You are not right in the head, this train is going to Liverpool and as far as for only picking up evil people, I think you should be in a mental home, now leave me alone.’
Steve let go of the man’s tie and faced forward in his seat, slumping slightly.
Thoughts were racing around his head. ‘Why me?’ he thought, ‘Why do I always get the nutters?’
Just then, footsteps approached them from behind, calling out for tickets. Steve turned slightly in his seat to retrieve his wallet from his back pocket and a pair of feet stopped by the side of his seat. He stopped what he was doing and his eyes slowly moved up the body. When they rested on the face of the conductor, he gasped loudly.
The man, if that’s what you could call him, was hideous. His features were twisted on his face and his head rested on his shoulder at an odd angle, as though he had no neck and someone had just balanced his head on his shoulders the best they could.
‘Tickets please,’ the thing slurred. It had an awful grin on its face.
‘One to Liverpool,’ Steve said nervously, holding out his money.
‘I’m afraid Mr Jones; this train is on a one way trip to Hell!’
Train journeys will never be the same