Did you know that all trains in the U.S. nearly stopped running the other day due to a labor strike? Well, needless to say, the news of the strike got me thinking about being on a train again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been on one. So, today’s writing prompt is about being on a train.

Created by K.E. Creighton in Canva

Today’s Writing Prompt: While on a train …

Today, write about something mysterious or interesting that happens to your main character while they are on a train. Or write about a railroad employee who is part of a labor strike. Or both?

Completed Version of Today’s Writing Prompt

While on a train… , by K.E. Creighton

Melanie was sipping her coffee in first-class Canada-bound when a stranger sat down beside her. She thought it odd, that this stranger would sit down right next to her, seeing as how a good portion of seats in first-class were vacant and that those vacant seats were near no one else currently sitting. Melanie could see from her periphery that he wore a yellowed undershirt, tattered jeans, and faded brown leather boots that didn’t have laces. He smelled like stale sweat and toenail jam.

As many of us would, however, Melanie pretended not to notice the stranger’s presence and continued reading her book, Murder on the Orient Express. Her co-conspirator had packed it in her carry-on in jest. But Melanie didn’t mind because the novel was engrossing and exactly what she needed in order to be able to stomach the ride and avoid eye contact with strangers like the one sitting next to her now.

She was fleeing, her final destination presently unknown. And she couldn’t have anyone else discover her here or where she was going, wherever that may be.

After a few minutes, Melanie had to use the lavatory, so she placed the book on her seat and headed down the narrow corridor in her train car. The lavatory was midway down on the right. Once inside, the space seemed more claustrophobic than it probably was due to the busy wallpaper. But at least it had a small window above the small metal sink basin and a large mirror above that, to offer the illusion of a vaster space.

As Melanie was washing her hands, the train jolted to a stop.

Through the window, she saw nothing but a dry landscape that stretched for miles. And a throng of people with picket signs. There must have been at least one hundred people out there in the sweltering heat. One of the signs read, “No healthcare = No healthy bodies to work.” And another had a cartoon image on it. She squinted to make it out. It was a cartoon of a man with bloody bandages wrapped around his head lying down on a set of railroad tracks as a train was approaching his supine body.

Melanie left the lavatory to see if she could get a better grasp of what was going on from her first-class seat. But there was no one else in the train car when she returned. There was no one to whom she could direct her questions.

Instead of panicking, Melanie intuitively decided to take a seat for a few minutes and perform some breathing exercises. When she looked down at her seat, however, she noticed that the book was missing. She then looked above her seat and noticed that her luggage was gone too.

That’s when she heard a noise coming from behind her.

[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons or places are purely coincidental.]

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