Three minutes until the Number 5 train

This all took place within less than three minutes. I wouldn’t even know the time, if I hadn’t checked the display board: “Number 5 train – 3 minutes.”

The station was empty except for a group of teenage girls with large suitcases, a young mother with her maybe two or three year old child and an older man sitting at the end of the platform.

It all went incredibly fast. One moment I looked at the display, the next I heard the young mother scream for her child, and the moment I turned my eyes I saw her jumping on the tracks.

Her head disappeared behind the platform. I was frozen in place; I was sure she would come back up. But she didn’t. Instead the child began to scream, then her.

“Help! I can’t move! Help!” She screamed.

That moment my legs started running. It was automatic, not even conscious; but two of the teenage girls were faster. I saw the first one jumping on the tracks; then I finally got close enough to see the woman and her child. They were both lying on the tracks, their necks pressed straight on one of the rails.

But the girl that had jumped on the tracks didn’t pull the woman up. Instead she slowly but deliberately lied down next to the woman.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Screamed the second girl, while she too jumped on the tracks.

“I can’t get away.” Screamed the first girl.

I glanced at the display: Two minutes.

The other teenagers and the large man from the end of the platform were all rushing towards the people on the tracks. They didn’t see it, but I did – the second girl too, deliberately, lied down on the tracks.

Two girls were left on the platform. One of them was screaming into her phone “Stop the train. Stop the Number 5 train.” The last girl only stood on the platform, her mouth wide open and her eyes filled with terror.

She jumped in the same moment as the old man. He jumped fast and nearly fell – but the girl jumped gracefully, landed softly, only her face was still filled with the same expression of horror.

“What’s happening.” She shouted, while her body slowly laid down on the tracks. All their necks were aligned, all precisely on the metal rail.

The child was crying. The woman was screaming for help. The first two girls kept screaming “I can’t move. What’s happening.” The third girl was lying on the tracks with an expression of horror.

Only the old man was acting. He stood on the tracks, grabbed the little boy and threw him back onto the platform. A moment later his movements slowed; he sat down, then carefully placed his neck on the metal rail, just where the little boy had been.

One minute.

My feet began to move again. The concert of screams pulled me closer, I began to walk, not run. But I hadn’t decided to run. My feet were moving on their own.

The fourth girl was still on the platform, still screaming into the phone. “Stop the train. Stop the Number 5 train.” But her feet moved; she was slowly shuffling towards the edge of the platform.

I knew she would fall even before she did. Her feet kept moving and she didn’t even notice it. Then her left foot stepped on air. She fell, caught herself with her hand – and landed with her head straight above the rail.

All lined up; all necks on the rail.

“Help! Do something!” Screamed the young mother.

“My arms won’t move.” Screamed the old man.

The teenage girls screamed too, but I don’t remember what they screamed. All I remember was the approaching shrieking noise of metal on metal – and the way the small child cried while it crawled towards the edge of the platform.

I felt the panic in my back reach a crescendo when I noticed that my feet were moving. They were moving towards the others; slowly shuffling forward against my will.

“Help!” Screamed one of the girls.

“I can’t.” I whispered back.

I saw the lights in the tunnel; heard the shrieking metal getting louder. Several voices were screaming for help.

And I was shuffling forwards. The child was near the edge.

The noise of metal-on-metal grew louder; the train was only a few steps away. The child was reaching over the edge.

The screams grew louder and shrill.

My feet shuffled faster, out of my control. But my hands obeyed; my backpack flew against the little boy, pushed him over.

I heard the train crush their necks. The screams stopped. My body bumped against the train.

I remember falling backwards.

I woke up with pain in my head.

The station was empty. No train; neither blood nor people on the tracks.

Four suitcases and my backpack were lying on the platform floor.

And a little red-faced boy was curled against my body.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

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