“So what are you waiting for?”
“I gotta get home and put on the spuds.”
“Go home then.”
“But I can’t until you’ve made up your mind.”
“What business is it of yours?”
“None, you’re absolutely right. But let me tell you —
“– You’re not going to talk me out of it.
“Oh so you have made up your mind then?”
The blue eyed boy peered over the top of the railing to the tracks below.
“It’s not very high up y’know,” said the white-bearded man. “You will most definitely be conscious and in quite considerable pain.”
“Can’t be as bad as what I feel now.”
“Why, what do you feel?”
“Nothing,” said the boy, his eyes following the tracks into the distance until they disappeared from view.
“So err.. when’s the next train?”
The boy glanced at his watch, “2 minutes.”
“2 minutes of your life left. What are you going to do in that time? Streak down the street? Kiss a random stranger?”
“I’d like to not talk to you old man.”
“So why do you feel your life is worth ending?”
“There’s nothing…” the boy trailed off. “There’s nothing left for me here.”
“And you think the Afterlife might be a better choice? Grass is always greener so they say.”
“I don’t believe in God.”
“Well then what do you believe in?” The old man furrowed his brow.
“I believe I was put here to suffer.”
“What—you’re parents died in a horrible car crash? Your cat choked to death on a fur ball?”
“No, but –”
“– You fail college?”
“No, I –“
“A girl dump you?”
“Fuck! Would you stop interrupting me?!” the boy’s face turned red. A horn blasted in the distance. A light was drawing nearer.
“I don’t have anyone or anything keeping me here. I’m a stranger to even my family. No girl would even look at me let alone be with me.”
The old man stayed silent.
“Don’t have anything else to say huh?” spat the boy, just missing the old man’s shoe.
“You asked me to say quiet. So why haven’t you done it already?”
“I’m doing it goddamn now alright!”
The train was closing in on the bridge now. The light shone brighter, and the sound roared louder with a clickety-clack of the rails underneath.
“See,” said the boy as he climbed up onto the rail. The old man stayed still.
“Okay, looks like you’ve made your mind up,” said the man as he retreated.
The boy turned to see the man walking down the ramp, “Hey! Come back here!”
“Hey, I’m talking to you!” A gust of wind hit the boy and he slipped. He fell, catching himself with one hand on the railing. The boy dangled precariously above the tracks, his fingers red and hurting. The train almost upon him now.
A wrinkled hand grabbed his own. “So you do want to stick around then?”
“Oh god, oh god, shit, shit, shit!” the boy started to panic.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” The white-bearded man pulled up the blue-eyed boy.
The boy fell to the ground, sweating and panting. The train thundered underneath them.
“So what now?” The boy looked up. Nobody was there.
The boy rushed to the ramp; nothing. He swerved his head around to the ramp on the other side; nothing.
The old man had vanished.