Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – Johnathan Sandow

My Darling Katherine,

I apologize for my delay. The train which I have boarded seems to have broken down in a tunnel which no light can penetrate. It’s been very quiet and I’ve kept to myself as to not create a disturbance. Most here, at least of those from my car, seem to have the same idea. It’s been quite scary to say the least. I believe a man a few rows down from me passed away and the man next to him somehow didn’t seem to notice. What nerves of iron he must have to remain so calm in such a situation. He should be an inspiration to all of us. He was very well prepared too as seems to have an endless supply of matches which he lights whenever he wants to look at something. Or perhaps it is simply to cover the stench of the deceased next to him. A foul odor has been growing about the car and it is a relief every time he sparks one; I can only imagine what the smell must be like next to him.

On a more pleasant note, a sweet old lady sitting a few rows behind came over to me earlier today with an oil lamp strangely enough. She sat down beside me and we exchanged pleasantries. And then, out of the blue, she started talking to me about the Bible. I was so glad too, as I was feeling quite uncomfortable and squeamish. We talked at great length about Sodom and Gomorrah and had an absolutely wonderful discussion on 1 Corinthians 6:9. You should have seen her face, Katherine. She seemed so elated to have someone to discuss scripture with. I suspect she must get shut-down about it often as our conversation really seemed to make her day. We exchanged address and telephone numbers so that we can perhaps have a Bible study sometime. Until then, if we are to remain here for longer, perhaps I shall offer her some company and we can discuss some of the finer points of Origen and his writings

Anyhow, my darling. I hope to see you in Church this weekend. I pray that the Lord shall see us all safely off this train and into the embrace of our loved ones.

Yours in Christ

Johnathan Sandow

Can Stop Love

Luke sat in his car in front of the old café. His fingers gripped the wheel tightly, his knuckles turning white as his breath created a fog upon his windshield. The car was off. He had pulled over to the side of the road to collect his thoughts for a moment. He and his fiancé of three years had just suffered a terrible breakup. Words were said. Obscenities were shouted. Doors were slammed. And hearts were broken.

As Luke sat in the cold, he had time to think it over. Was it really worth it? Was throwing away the best relationship and years of happiness over a stupid terrier worth it? He glanced out the passenger window at the old café. His eyes widened when he saw the sign. Le Coffee. Luke didn’t realize it when he pulled over, but this was the very café where he and Jessica had first met. Was it a sign? Luke leaned forward and looked up at the sky through the windshield. At first it was a single, but then a second ray of light broke through the clouds, as though they were just for him. Hell yeah it was a sign.

Luke looked at his watch. He frowned. In fifteen minutes, Jessica would be boarding a plane to visit her family in Florida for the Christmas. And then, well, and then he might not ever see her again. At the very least, he couldn’t let her on that plane without saying he’s sorry.

With a turn of his key, Luke started the car and peeled rubber. If he was going to make it in time, he was going to have to break some speed laws, but you know what they say. You can’t stop love. Within seconds, Luke was going sixty-seven MPH in a thirty-five MPH zone. He soon passed an intersection going a cool seventy-eight, startling a parked police officer causing him to spill his hot coffee all over himself. The blue lights came on, but Luke took no notice.

As he approached the town’s border, the road was blocked by a couple of granola type people pushing a fruit cart across the road. Was. Luke plowed through that fruit cart like it was the eighties and he was one half of a buddy cop team. Watermelon, oranges, and bananas were everywhere. It was of no concern to him, however, as his goal was fast approaching. The airport was within his sight.

With a sweet power slide, Luke parked his car right in front of the airport entrance, thereby blocking normal traffic, and ran inside. Racing down the twisting corridors, he pushed his way through various people trying to find the correct terminal of Jessica’s departure. Jumping a turnstile, he caught the eye of a security guard who started running after him, but Luke was just too damn fast. Taking a brief stop to look down the terminals, he spotted Jessica about to board a plane. With extreme gusto, he ran through the security gate, pushing down other passengers waiting their turn, only to be tackled to the ground by a TSA agent. The rest of security soon caught up and held Luke down, placing him in handcuffs as he fought to no avail to free himself..

“JESSICAAAAA!” he screamed.

The only woman who turned was a large blonde woman who was not his Jessica. She was clearly frightened by this and hurriedly boarded her plane.

Luke was arrested and charged with multiple misdemeanors and felonies including evading police, criminal speeding, destruction of property, resisteing arrest, and illegally passing through a security check point among other things.

Jessica found out about Luke on news. Though she had regretted her break up and was planning on calling him as soon as she arrived in Florida, she was terrified of the insane man Luke had become and decided to move to Montana where she started a whole new life.

Blonde obese Jessica became paranoid of and slightly aroused by the strange handsome man who she believed was stalking her at the airport. She made sure to keep her doors and windows unlocked in case he ever got out of prison.

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – Mark Ambrose

Evening Frank, or whatever the fuckin’ time it is. I don’t know. We’ve been stuck in this blasted tunnel for what must be at least a few days it seems. I can’t be sure. I only know that I’ve slept twice since I’ve been here. Haven’t showered since before I left. I must look like a real piece of work. My face is scruffy, my hair is getting greasy, and the grime is building up in my hands. Not very respectable looking for someone in our line of work. I’m gonna need a real hot bath and some toiletries when I arrive.

Don’t worry. I still got the stuff. I haven’t allowed it to leave my side since I left. I was worried that someone might try to steal it from me in my sleep, but everyone seems to be pretty honest here. My biggest worry is that some twat will try to burn it. Can you believe it? Some fuckin’ kid comes up to me and asks if he could have my suitcase or anything inside of it to burn. I said, “No, you little fucker! You touch my case and I’ll burn you!” He got all wide eyed and buggered off. I’ve seen him a few times since, but he’s tried not to make eye contact with me and hurried past. Apparently some of the other passengers are cold. Dummys should’ve worn a better coat. You ain’t never seen me beggin’ for nothing. I come prepared.

Anyhow, despite the troubles, most people seem unnaturally calm. Why, just earlier today, I heard a gunshot followed by no screams. When you hear a gunshot on a crowded train, you expect a little screaming, but no. Nothing of the sort. Now, I was in a different car at the time and reacted the only way someone in my position could deem appropriate. By getting calmly getting off the train and nonchalantly making my way all the way passed the final car to take a piss. I don’t want no part of whatever was going on in there. I’ll just keep to myself, thank you very much.

Anyways, I’m taking a piss and I hear this rustling some cars back, near the one I heard the gunshot from. So I kind of peak around, turning my head back best I can without pissing on myself and I see a big fat butt pointing up from the ground. Well I soon discovered that the big fat butt had a big fat body when it stood up holding something with a slight sparkle in his hand. Well, it must have been something very interesting because fatty waddled off and back on board the train, all the while holding the sparkly item in both his hands, never his eyes looking up from it. I don’t know why that stuck out to me as peculiar. It’s not like it was the most interesting thing to happen on this trip. No, far from it.

Let me tell you, since we have arrived in the tunnel, I have not seen one single employee. It’s like they all just disappeared. Not a fuckin’ clue of them anywhere. Now that I think about it, the calmness of everyone seems that much more fucked up. In fact, the only person who even seemed to panic even remotely was some scrawny fellow who made a run for back where we came. The stupid bastard didn’t even have a light. There could be miles of darkness that way; he’s likely to trip and break his neck or run face first into a wall. We don’t even know if the entrance is still open. For all we know, we could be trapped in here and that fool running off into the darkness is likely to end up dead.

Oh fuck, me. Listen, if this letter reach you before me, know that I’m not letting go of the package. Hold tight and I will arrive.

-Mark Ambrose

Where We Put Our Faith

Matthew sat alone at his desk in the living room, the only light coming from the computer monitor in front of him and the kitchen through the doorway. Smoke rose up from the cigarette between his fingers as he stared at the bright screen. It had been a particularly miserable day and he felt completely drained. He scrolled down the screen until he found the numbers he was looking for and compared them to the piece of paper in his hand.

“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath. Not a single number matched. He wouldn’t even be getting his two dollars back. Matthew crumpled up the lottery ticket and threw it into the small can by his desk.

Picking up the 24 oz can of Milwaukee’s Best Ice on his desk, he gave it a shake. Save for a few warm drops, it was empty. Matthew put his cigarette down and headed for the refrigerator. It was time for beer number three. He reached in, opened the next can and took a swig. Closing the door to the refrigerator, he nearly choked on the beer as turned around.

Standing outside the kitchen door was a somewhat short but slim Asian man. The porch light was off, so Matthew wouldn’t have seen him if he hadn’t been standing so close. The man was older, probably in his fifties, and sported a dark gray wiry goatee with streaks of silver running through it. A black bowler hat sat upon the man’s head as he simply grinned a thin smile at Matthew, just enough to show a row of perfectly straight and white teeth.

Matthew reluctantly opened the door part way to find out what the man wanted.

“Can I help y…?”

Before Matthew could finish, the Asian man took the opportunity to pull the door all the way open and push his way inside. He was very well dressed in a suit that looked custom-made in the fashion of 19th century attire. Black jacket, vest, tie, and shoes, with a white shirt. A silver pocket watch chain hung from the waist pocket and buttons of brass on his clothes. In his hand was a black briefcase which he promptly placed on the kitchen table.

“Let’s get down to business,” the Asian man said authoritatively as he opened the briefcase revealing a large stack of papers. “I’ll just need your signature on these forms and then I’ll be on my way.”

“Wait, what… who…” Matthew stumbled out the words. He didn’t know what was going on and was absolutely flabbergasted that this strange man just pushed his way into his house and basically started barking orders.

“Look,” the Asian man said, “I’m here to help you out, to give you a better life, but in order for me to do that, I need your signature. Legal documents to cover your ass and mine. Without this, there’s no deal.” The Asian man flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for and pulled out a pen. “Ah! Sign here please.”

Matthew looked at the outstretched document confused, then to the man holding the document.

“What are you talking about?”

The Asian man looked mildly annoyed, then sighed reluctantly. He had come on a bit strong. Couldn’t really fault Matthew for being confused.

“My apologies. To put it simply, what this document states is that in exchange for your immortal soul, you will live the perfect life you’ve always wanted. Everything you do will be incredibly fulfilling, you’ll live in good health, and you can fulfill your dreams. At the end of said contract, your soul is forfeit and shall descend into the pit of Hell where it will burn forever in eternal torment. At your time of death somewhere between seventy-one and one hundred and twenty-two years of age, dependent on when the most Holy One has deemed your time on Earth to be finished, your soul will be collected. Though we cannot control the exact date and time of death, we can push it into a roughly fifty year window. We also guarantee that your death will be peaceful and comfortable as every moment living from the time you sign this contract will be absolutely perfect.”

Matthew just stared at the Asian man in silence for a few moments as he let what he had heard sink in.

“Did you say my immortal soul?”

“Yes I did.”

“Uh-huh. And who is ‘we’?”

“That would be myself and the denizens of Hell.”

Matthew pursed his lips together and furrowed his brows somewhat as he continued to stare at the man. He took a sip of his beer, not once taking his eyes away.

“Wait. Are you telling me that you’re the Devil?”

“Bingo!” the Asian man said with a smile, swinging a pointed finger into the air. “Now you’ve got it. I’m sorry for not properly introducing myself earlier.” He began walking a circle around Matthew. “I sometimes get so caught up in the agreement that I forget the important stuff like introductions and terms of the agreement and what have you. By the way, you can call me Todd.”

“But I didn’t ask for you to come,” Matthew said as Todd continued to walk a circle around him.

“No. No you did not,” Todd replied, “but any salesman worth his salt will identify and seek out those in need of his services. One cannot just sit there and expect the clientele walk through one’s doors. Though in my line of work most people do anyways. Despite this, it is still important to be proactive. Besides, if someone is going to spend the rest of time itself in the lake of fire, shouldn’t they at least have a fantastic life? Shouldn’t they get some small pleasure and enjoyment while they can? Shouldn’t they…”

“Are you stupid?” Matthew cut him off.

Todd stopped in his tracks on Matthew’s left. He turned his head and looked him in the eyes.

“Excuse me?”

“I’m a Christian,” Matthew answered. “I’m not going to sell my soul to you. What makes you think I ever would?”

Todd made an uplifting sigh and continued his circle around Matthew.

“Well, yes, you are a Christian, that I know, but just being Christian doesn’t get you into Heaven. Matthew 7:21. Look, Matt. I know you. You’re a very depressed individual.” Todd look at the 24 oz can of Milwaukee’s Best Ice in Matthew’s hand. “That’s what, beer number three for you tonight?” Todd glanced into the room with the computer. On the desk was a half empty pack of cigarettes with one almost burned out in the ashtray and then back at the beer in Matthew’s hand. “Let me guess, you’ve got three more in the fridge. I know you. You’re going to drink yourself miserable and drunkenly jack off to whatever pornography suits your fancy at the given moment. You’ll lie down with a cigarette in one hand and the final beer in the other crying about how sorry you are, begging for forgiveness. Eventually you’ll pass out naked somewhere in the house and wake up in the morning feeling horrible about yourself. The next day you’ll try to pass it off and feel renewed, all peachy keen and living for the Lord. And it’ll go great for a few days. Maybe even a few weeks or months. But you’ll fall again and repeat the same process over and over again.”

Matthew inhaled deeply through his nose, eyes closed and held his breath. The words stung. Todd was right. He was a miserable sinner. God wouldn’t want him. Every good thing he ever did was just one broken promise after another to God. Every vow he ever made had been broken. He often became so depressed about it he would sometimes plan to get messed up, not because he wanted to sin, but because he wanted to forget about his sin, even if it meant intentionally sinning in order to escape for only the briefest of times. He hated himself and he hated his life. Oh why couldn’t Jesus come and take him in one of the brief moments of grace he sometimes felt?

Matthew exhaled slowly and then took another deep breath before speaking.

“What of it?”

“What of it!?” Todd exclaimed. “What of it!? I’ll tell you what of it. Heaven doesn’t want you. You’ve rejected the grace of God all too often. You’ve burned your bridges. Your words are empty and hollow. Let’s face it, you’re coming to see me whether you like it or not. You might as well enjoy life while you can because your suffering is going to last forever. And the thing is, you know deep down you deserve it. No amount of continuing to go to church is going to change that.”

Matthew looked away and spoke through his teeth, ashamed of himself, but angry enough about it to fight back against the accusations.

“You’re right,” he said. “I do deserve death and Hell. But you know what? I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”

Todd froze where he stood. He was stunned, but only so briefly. An evil smile came back across his face and he started circling Matthew yet again.

“Quoting Luther will get you nowhere,” he said. “You Protestants think you’re so great, but you’re the most deluded of them all.” Todd’s clothes started to stretch and break at the seams as his body began to grow. “You don’t worship Yehoshuah. Your American culture won’t let you.” As the clothes fell off Todd’s body, horns began to grow from the sides of his head, his muscles increased, and his skin started turning to red. “Your independence is so ingrained in what you are that though you talk a big game, you rely entirely on yourself. So how about it? Would you like to enjoy your remaining years?”

Todd leaned in behind Matthew, stopping just over his shoulder. A large red hand with terrible claws held up the contract, another held up a blue ink pen. Matthew was sweating profusely and breathing hard. His life had been miserable. He’d always suspected he would burn in Hell for the terrible things he’s done. And here was Satan, offering him a chance to have some happiness before the end. If only he’d just sign.

And then something clicked in Matthew’s head.

If he’s going to Hell anyway, why is Satan trying so hard to get Matthew to sign? Being proactive is one thing, but this was resorting to scare tactics. Satan was supposed to be the most beautiful of angels, not this big red demon that shows up in the movies. This kind of effort is completely unnecessary unless…

Matthew took a deep breath and turned to look over his shoulder. There was the face of the devil staring back at him. A red dragon-like face with black beady eyes looked directly into his. Matthew gulped and then spoke softly, but forcefully.

“FUCK. OFF.”

Satan roared in outrage, throwing the contract and pen in the air. Reeling back, he lunged with his right arm and grasped Matthew firmly around the throat. Lifting him into the air, Satan slammed him down on the floor, squeezing tighter and tighter.

“Do not insult me boy or I will kill you right here where you stand!”

Matthew struggled with his hands to no avail in an attempt to pull Satan’s fingers from his neck.

“Go for it,” Matthew managed to gurgle out. “I hate this life anyway. I’ve got nothing to live for. You’ll just be sending me to Jesus early.”

Satan leaned in mere inches from Matthew’s face and scowled. There was no fear in his eyes. Satan squeezed his neck a little tighter. Matthew choked a bit, but managed to smile. He was telling the truth. He was ready to face death. With a snort in Matthew’s face, Satan released his grip and stepped away.

Matthew lay on the floor gasping for air. When he finally looked up, he saw the Asian man whom Satan had come into his house as stepping out the front door.

Todd stopped briefly and looked at Matthew who was still gasping. He smiled and said, “Just so you know, it is possible to lose your salvation.” With that, Todd tipped his hat and left, gently closing the door behind him.

The following Sunday, Matthew met with the pastor of his church after the service and told him all that had happened. The pastor quietly listened, not interrupting but making sure to absorb every detail. Though the pastor was skeptical about whether this really happened, he was deeply concerned.

“You said at the beginning of our conversation that you beat Satan,” the pastor said.

“Yes,” replied Matthew.

The pastor stood up and walked to the window. He looked outside to see the trees and birds. He felt the warmth of the sun on his face. Normally, he would marvel at God’s creation on the day like this, but not today. The pastor had dealt with tragedy many times over his career. Members abandoning the faith. Death in the congregation. But nothing had ever felt quite like this. Without looking back, he spoke to Matthew.

“If what you tell me is true, then I am afraid you did not beat the Devil. In fact, I fear he may have achieved exactly what he set out to do.”

Matthew was stunned. So much so that it took him a few moments to respond.

“What do you mean?” Matthew asked.

“Satan is the great deceiver and will do whatever it takes to bring us down with him. From what you describe, it sounds to me that his goal was not to get you to sign the contract, but to make you lose what faith you had.”

“What?” Matthew said as he stood up. “That doesn’t make any sense. It was my faith that saved me. That’s why he let me go. He knew if he killed me that I would go to Heaven.”

“In that moment, yes, perhaps.” The pastor turned around to face Matthew, a deep concern and worry for the member of his congregation showed on his face. “But despite your flaws and sinful ways, you still had faith in Jesus. You still hated your sin. But now, I fear, the Devil has turned your faith away from Jesus and onto itself.”

“I….I don’t understand,” Matthew stammered.

“Your faith is no longer in the one who saves but in your own ability to have strong faith. The switch was almost unnoticeable, but it happened. I heard it in the way you approached me. You said, ‘I beat the devil. My faith in Jesus saved me.’ The focus in your language was not on Jesus but on you. Don’t you see? You were already saved. You had your problems, but you were saved.”

Matthew dropped into the chair he had risen from, his face almost expressionless. The words Todd spoke at the end of their encounter rang through his mind. Just so you know, it is possible to lose your salvation.

The pastor carefully pulled a bible off the shelf and laid it open on his desk. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. And so the pastor began to read the Word and prayed that Matthew would hear.

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – Sam Davis

Yesterday a young girl left her mother’s side and began walking in circles, chanting ceaselessly. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” It was quite chilling, really. She attacked a man who tried to help her and then went back to her circle as though nothing had ever happened. Today she collapsed to the floor and died. A gunshot next to my ear went off and put a bullet in her head, apparently just to be sure. The bang was unexpected and left me doubled over, temporarily deaf except for the ringing. Save for some people that entered our car from the front, there was almost no commotion, or at least none that I could tell. I was too busy dealing with my own problems.

Stumbling to the back of the car, I pushed the door open and stepped outside. As soon as my feet touched the ground, I bent over and puked. There seemed to be no-one around me to witnesses my grace, so I slumped down against the cave wall on the dark side of the train and lit a cigarette as I watched the car.

How tragic that so few reacted. Surely they must have heard the gunshot. Perhaps they did hear it and were reacting cautiously, though if they were I certainly didn’t notice it and all I heard was the terrible ringing in my ears.

As I smoked my cigarette trying to comprehend what had just happened, I happened to see something reflect it if the corner of my eye. I don’t know why I initially got up to inspect it, though I suspect my subconscious telling my mind to cease considering what had happened on the car had something to do with it. It was a little copper name badge, one worn by much of the staff of the train. It seemed strange to find this outside the train and stranger still that I don’t think I’ve seen a single staffer since before we entered the tunnel.

I hate to cut my letter short, but the letter carrier shall be departing soon and I should be finding someone to show this badge to. I don’t know who or how they could help, but if I can find someone who could make use of this information, it’d probably be best if he knew before the letter carrier departs.

Sincerely, Sam Davis

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – President Seymour Wellington

Terrance Adams Lincoln, you filthy little twat-wrangler. It has come to my attention that there are those in this world that are at least as qualified as you to do your job. Until now, I have turned a blind eye to your personal proclivities because you did such exemplary work that I had great difficulty believing that there was anyone as competent as yourself. I see now that I was very mistaken. No longer shall I allow your indiscretions to risk tarnishing the reputation of my company. If I don’t have a exemplary report about how you’ve cleaned up from Ralph when I return, you shall have only your personality with which to woo those street walkers you’re so fond of. I hope I have made myself abundantly clear.

Sincerely,

President Seymour Wellington

Can’t Stop Love

Alan slowly lowered the telephone receiver and placed it on the shelf in front of him as he stared through the glass with longing at the woman he loved. Their conversation had been brief, only the five minutes that the state would allow, but the fire it ignited was unmistakable. This was love, love that could not be constrained by things such as glass and prison guards.

With the dexterity of a Hilton daughter, Alan ripped open his prison shirt and pressed his left nipple against the window that separated him from his lover. Mary, the woman whom which he had been conversing, thrust herself against the glass and began licking frantically at the spot which Alan’s nipple was pressed. Oh, it was flat and cold, but it did not matter for their love could not be separated. Alan moaned with pleasure as her tongue made light ‘plap’ sounds when it smacked the glass.

The guards stood by uncomfortably, not entirely sure what to do. Their eyes glanced over towards each other, then back at the couple, and then away altogether. Suddenly, the prison warden burst in shouting words like, ‘over the limit’ and ‘unacceptable behavior.’ The guards burst into action, grabbing Alan and pulling him away. Alan and Mary began screaming in terror, as though someone had decided to break into their home and rob them mid-coitus. It was a frightening situation, the guards almost dropping Alan as the other inmates and their visitors looked on in worry and fear, some of them starting to cry.

As Alan was being dragged back to his cell, he could be heard screaming, “You can’t stop our love! We will find a way!” The steel security door slammed shut and echoed through the room. Mary lie sobbing on the floor curled up in a fetal position. With the exception of her tears, the room was silent.

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – Bart Mankinson

Dearest Mary,

Should I ever evacuate this journey and return home to you, I fear I shall forever be a bitter shell of the man whom I once was. The journey back from my trip that started out so enjoyable took a degrading turn when we lost motion and light traversing through the Sanderson Tunnel. While most of the passengers seemed to take it with stride, the business man in front of me was all too quick to express his displeasure and has continued to express it for two days. I must say that it has put quite the damper on my mood. If not for his continued mutterings, I may have been able to patiently enjoy myself whilst I wait for the train to return to motion.

He was actually quite pleasant when we took board of our journey, sitting there quietly going over what appeared to be business work. I say this only because of the way in which his papers were strewn about his lap and seat; rest assured that I was not snooping. Anyhow, the train suddenly seemed to lose power and slowed to a stop. After a few moments of silence, I heard him mutter something to the effect of, “Is this really what my ticket has paid for? Does not my money go towards the experience?” His grumbling only grew stronger until someone eventually came through with some old oil lanterns they had found in one of the storage cars. He was apparently placing them at key points on the train to make things easier. That is until the businessman in front of me berated the poor bastard into hanging it by his seat.

“What do you think you’re doing?” He said. “Don’t put that there, I absolutely must have that lamp over here. I have very important work that must be done and it doesn’t stop just because of disaster.” The poor boy tried to explain the necessity of placing the lamp where he was but the man would have none of it. “Don’t you sass me, young man! I am doing far more important work than you can possibly imagine and the rest of you can deal with a little dimness so that I can do what must be done.” The boy tried to reason with the man, but eventually he relented and placed the lantern where the man saw fit. I slipped the poor boy fifty dollars just for having to deal with the wretched man in and among everything else so that he might be able to get some much needed enjoyment when we get out of here.

Full of grumblings and mutterings, the business man attended to his work, almost constantly complaining and cursing under his breath. A short while ago when the Postmaster announced that he was going to attempt to walk his way out and offered to deliver any correspondence free of charge, the man immediately stopped what he was doing, pulled out a large stack of paper and began furiously writing letters and stuffing them into envelopes. So enthralled by his speed and ferocity, I couldn’t resist but to look over his shoulder and glance at what he was sending off.

Oh Mary, I wish I had not. Such an offensive string of obscenities laced with phrases such as fanny bandit and twat coddler. I don’t even know what that could possibly mean and I’m certain that I don’t want to know. Sweet darling, how I long to return to the gentle embrace of your arms and soft demeanor. Please know that I am safe for the time being and that for the most part, my time has been uneventful, though annoying.

Your loving husband,
Bart Mankinson

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train – Maxwell Hart

Dear Emily,

I regret to inform you that my arrival has come under delay. Shortly after we entered the tunnel portion of our journey, the locomotive simply gave up the ghost so to speak. I’m not sure what caused the issue; I only know that I was on the scenic car enjoying my pipe tobacco when the lights went out and the locomotive slowed down to a stop. As the people on the car with me hurried inside, I remained patiently behind as to avoid the hustle and bustle of the commotion as well as to finish my smoke. Running inside with the rest of the frightened souls would’ve done me no good and shall have only ruined a good smoke.

When my pipe had burned it’s last, I decided then that I should perhaps make my way back to my seat to make sure my luggage was safe from hooligans who would use such an opportunity for their own misdeeds. As I made my way through the cars, groping the tops of seats so as not to trip on anything, I could hear the quiet breaths and fidgits of frightened passengers. Though it seemed strangely calm, I chalked it up to some instructions that I had perhaps missed by remaining to finish my tobacco. I later learned that no such instructions were given as all the members of the crew seem to have vanished as though raptured away by some unseen force.

Making my way through the dining car, I looked forward to sitting down comfortably and reading the news paper I had purchased before entering the train. I figured I could read peacefully by flashlight while I waited for everything to start again. It was in the dining car that I heard the whimpering of a small child. I took out my torch and found the source of the sound hiding underneath a table. It was a six year old boy named Nathaniel Manx. He was writing a letter to his mother when the power went down. It took quite coaxing to get him to come out. Apparently, his mother had instilled an unnecessary amount of “stranger danger” fear within him. I reason that I must have sat with him in the dining car for a day before he came out because I at one point fell asleep for what must have been six to eight full hours. In fact, he didn’t even accept food from me until after I had awakened because he was hungry enough at that point that his hunger overcame him. Unfortunately, by that point all that I was able to offer were some stale bagels and doughnuts from behind the counter.

Anyhow, he eventually came with me to my seat and I’ve become something of a comfort to him in his time of distress. I’ve learned that we was to visit his aunt and uncle on Sparrow Avenue. I believe that is just a street or two down from your house if I am correct. Their names are Carol and Stephen Hupper. If you could be so kind and let them know of their Nephew’s situation, I would be most grateful. I would take him myself with the postmaster, but I honestly don’t know what we’ll encounter in this tunnel and I don’t want to put the lad in any danger. He’s had enough of a time as it is.

My regards and I hope to see you soon,
-Maxwell Hart