28 minute read

The Spirit Train - Nina Turnipseed

Parental Advisory: The following short story falls in the genre of Erotica.

The Spirit Train - Nina Turnipseed

Victor and Ashley were jarred awake at 4am by Victor’s mom pounding on their bedroom door. Victor who was supposed to have the day off, flip the covers back and got to his feet. He was stumbling to the door while rubbing his eyes as Ashley pulled the covers over her head. Ashley gritted her teeth as the conversation between Victor and his mom progressed. She rolled over, her face to the wall and slapped the mattress as she heard Victor agree to work for his mother down at the bakery she owned. She knew we had plans to leave this morning to start our vacation. But no she has decided she needs the day off instead. She slapped the pillow under her head as the thoughts continued. Pisses me off that Victor didn’t remind her of our plans and refuse…but no he just agreed without hesitation. Victor not returning to bed as he needed to be at the bakery by four forty five began getting ready. Ashley sat up in the bed pulling the sheet up to her neck as she said. “Vic, we were going to depart around six am, now we won’t be out of here till six pm if we are lucky.”

“I know Ash, but you heard, she feels she needs to go to psychiatrist today as she is feeling anxious and nervous.” Victor said as he was pulling on his pants. While

reaching in the closet for a shirt he inquired. “How long did you say the trip was?”

“Around twelve hours,” Ashley stated as she rolled from the bed and began walking to Victor like she was walking a runway. Standing in front of him she was helping him with his tie as she said “Leave the BMW here, I’ll get it gassed up, then packed and be ready to leave when you get home.”

“I don’t suppose you would consider leaving in the morning and travel as you are now.” Victor said as he popped Ashley’s bare bottom.

Why so your mom could do the same thing in the morning as she did this morning, Ashley thought, but said. “I would rather leave tonight. The way I figure it we’ll take our time, enjoy the scenery and talk, something we don’t do a lot of these days without an audience. As for as traveling in the nude, I’ll see what I can do.”

The two were kissing as the banging filled the room followed by the voice of Victor’s mom. “Victor, are you ready yet? Don’t want to keep the employees from clocking in on time because you haven’t arrived to open up.”

Ashley stomped her foot on the plush carpet, turned

Ashley still fuming about the events of the morning was determined to keep her temper in check. She desperately needed this to be a pleasurable trip for her and Victor. The two were about to merge on the expressway from the on ramp when Ashley began reassuring Victor that she was not angry for the late start. “I actually think leaving at this time is advantageous to us. The sun will be setting in a couple of hours making it cooler, don’t have to worry about traffic once we get through this rush hour and I can get into your preferred travel attire.” Ashley said as she reached over and began rubbing Victor’s thigh as she whispered. “Plus once the sunsets we can take breaks, and get crazy under the stars.”

Victor never looked over at Ashley as he snapped. “I think it would have been better if we had stayed home and left out in the morning. There is no way we can make up the lost time.”

Ashley was placing some papers above the sun visor as she said. “Grandma has been notified not to be expecting us till tomorrow afternoon. Since making up twelve hours is impossible we are free to do what we want for the next twelve. That’s the beauty of it Vic.”

“I must say you have a great outlook about it. That does relieve some the stress from me.” Victor said still keeping his eyes on the bumper to bumper traffic ahead of him.

“Oh my dear Vic there is more. I know we are having problems and have talked of divorce. That doesn’t change the fact that I love you. I wanted to do something special for you…for us. Why? Because I know after working all day you are tired but still agreed to leave today. That meant a lot to me and tells me there is still hope for us, which warms my heart.”

“I’m not really looking for a divorce, I think my problem is I don’t know what I’m looking for. I mean I know I want to be with you, but after that I’m lost. Maybe I should go see moms psychiatrist, what do you think.” Victor inquired as the traffic began moving somewhat better.

“May not be a bad idea. You and her both are taking the unexpected death of your father bad. Tell you what, I’ll also go and see if he can help me with my mood swings and anger issues.” Ashley said. “Really, you would do that?” “Of course, I want us back to the way we were in the first year of our marriage.” Ashley said.

“I know the last two years have been a living hell for both of us. I’m relieved yet shocked that you are admitting that you have issues also and it’s not all my fault. I say we check in to doing just that when we get back.”

“Agreed. Now I have a couple of surprises for you. One the owner of the strip mall grandma has her herb shop in passed away. The family put it up for sale and I bought it.”

“What?” “Yep, now we have rental income coming in along with my commissions from reprints and interest from my savings. Plus, if we decide to move there you could start your own bakery, the sleepy little town needs one. Owning the space cuts down on overhead.”

“Oh you got that right. Hell Mom’s rent takes around forty two percent of her gross. That’s the reason I help out for a little of nothing.” Victor explained as he took Ashley‘s hand in his then asked. “What other surprises you got?”

“I made reservations for us at the half way mark of the trip. We can get some sleep or… make wild passionate love, getting as loud as we want without worrying about your mom hearing us. That would be great wouldn’t it?”

“That it would. I’ve been excited since I left you naked this morning. However for now I suggest we share driving duties and drive straight through. After all we do plan on taking breaks on the backroads remember.”

“I do and can’t wait to feel the breeze of the night blowing over my nude body as you are pressed up against it pleasing me.” Ashley was shivering and licking her lips as she pictured the actions she just described. She shook her head to clear the visual then said. “Tell you what, let’s go with your plan. We can use the hotel as a backup if we get to the point we can no longer drive safely.”

Victor was nodding as a thump – thump – thump came from underneath the car as it began to shake and pull hard to the right. “Fuck I can’t believe it…a damn flat tire.” Victor shouted as he pounded the steering wheel of the BMW M760i as he slowed. With the blinker on Victor began cutting across traffic to reach the emergency lane of the expressway.

“Calm down Vic, remember we are not on a time schedule.” Ashley said as she was opening the glove box. She pulled the leather BMW manual that contained the numbers she would need. With it in her lap she inquired. “You want to call Triple A or BMW roadside service?”

“Both, whoever can get here the fastest gets the job.” Victor barked.

The car was safely in the emergency lane of the expressway. Triple A had the best response time by fifteen minutes and was on their way. That was the good news, the bad was that with the high traffic volume of rush hour they were forty five minutes to an hour away. Victor and Ashley were out of the car and standing in between the wall and the BMW. Ashley began pacing back and forth, shouting so she can be heard. “Vic, Nothing seems to be going right today, tomorrow will be better I’m sure of it…I can feel it deep down in my soul.” She said while stopping at the rear of the car. “I certainly hope so. Maybe this is an Omen telling us we need to head back home after the tire gets replaced. We are only an hour away.” Victor said.

With her thin sundress flapping in the wind from the traffic she was heading back to Victor. A gust of wind

from the line of Semi’s that were passing got under the dress and lifted it above her waist. “Wow, what a rush,” she shouted then began giggling. Ashley was fighting to get the dress back down and under control. The truckers were giving Ashley their approval by filling the air with blasts of their air horns.

Ashley, heading back to Victor while holding her dress at the sides with her hands was smiling as Victor began screaming. “Took you long enough to get the dress down. Makes one wonder if the show wasn’t planned.”

“Victor you can’t believe that my dress blowing up was planned. I was pacing to try and calm my nerves. We were talking and making progress with our problems when the tire blew. That pissed me off so I took a stroll. I didn’t want to take my anger out on you since you had no control over what happened.

“I say it was an Omen. We are heading home.” Victor barked.

“Vic you don’t believe in Omens. I know Omens when I witness one. Trust me what just happened was only a tire blowing out. Happens to a lot of people every day. We should be thankful it blew during the day and we weren’t traveling at a high rate of speed.”

“You may be right, but we are still headed back home after Triple ‘A’ gets here.” Victor said as he was glaring at Ashley with his hands on his hips and added. “See if you can resist from putting on another show while we are broken down.”

The veins in Ashley’s temple became visible as she clinched the material of her dress in her fist. She was breathing deep and counting to ten in her head. She made it to six before letting loose. “You asshole, let me demonstrate the difference from and a freak incident and a show.” Ashley snapped as she was stepping behind the BMW and closer to traffic. Once she unclenched her fist she placed her hands on top of her head. The dress began to rise again. With the sunflower pattern cotton material floating in the breeze she began dancing, spinning and gyrating. The air horns mixed with the ones from cars sounded like a symphony as they admired Ashley’s provocative moves while revealing her tanned athletic lower body to the drivers.

Victor was dashing to Ashley shouting. “You know you are not wearing panties right.”

“That I do and thank you for noticing. You used to like it when I left them at home.” She said while continuing to dance and twirl.

“Come on Ash cover yourself and get away from traffic. Sorry about the remark about it being planned.” Victor pleaded.

Ashley was working the dress back down while the two were walking back to the wall as Ashley barked. “Victor we have no home. We live with your mom.” Victor with his arms crossed leaned against the wall as Ashley opened the passenger’s side of the car. She was removing a cigar from her purse as she continued. “We were married one year when you suggested I sell my house, which I did. We were going to use that mon

ey to build a bigger one that we could start a family in. I also agreed with your plan to move in with your mom till we found a spot to build or a house that we liked. Vic that was two fucking years ago. We have looked at a total of four houses and one plot of land in that time.”

Ashley squatted down to get out of the breeze and the sudden gust of winds the traffic was causing. She was lighting her cigar as Victor barked. “You know I don’t like you smoking, especially cigars.”

“Smoking a cigar calms my nerves.” She said as she stood back up puffing making the tip of the smoke glow. “Vic you forget, I have options in life but chose to marry you. Four years ago I was a high paid fashion model. I could be found in print and walking the runways of Paris, New York and Los Angeles. I can return to the modeling field tomorrow with one phone call. The hundred thousand dollar car you like to drive around town and show off, my name is on the title, not yours. ” Ashley snapped as she took a drag from the cigar. The smoke was rolling from her mouth as she continued. “Since I bought the car with the money earned from my modeling career before we got married there is no court in the land that will give it to you in a divorce.” Ashley paused as she blew smoke straight up in the air before lighting back in to Victor. “I may add the court won’t give you a dime of the money from the sale of my house that was purchased before our marriage. With all that said, if I was you I would stop fucking with me about returning back to your mom’s house.” Ashley once again stopped while pulling in smoke of the cigar. Smoke was flowing from her nose as she said. “Why? Simple. I have the option to leave your ass leaned against that wall and wave by as I drive off.”

“Ok Ash… I get it…you have the money. Calm down and enjoy your smoke. I have been under a lot stress lately. Mom is pulling me one way and you the other. She is old and needs me since dad died in the horrible car accident. I can’t leave her all alone.”

“Your mom is not old, she isn’t even fifty yet and has done well for herself. She holds your father’s death over your head to get you to do what she wants you to do. After all he was on his way to get you out of jail after a Halloween prank went bad.” Ashley said then took a deep drag from the cigar while looking at Victor shaking her head. “Let me ask you. What twenty three year old man, goes trick - or – treating dressed as the blue power ranger, gets mad when he is run off a porch, then takes a shit in the man’s front yard.”

“I use to attend a lot of Comic-cons and have several costumes. My friends and I decided it would be funny if we went trick-or-treating.”

“Comic-cons are OK. That’s where we met. But hell Vic you didn’t stop there. You placed your feces in a paper bag, placed it on the man’s front porch and lit it. After you rang the doorbell you didn’t even run. A kid of five, dressed as a princess opened the door and began stomping on the bag. She suffered burns on both legs. Did you not see all the security signs in the yard?” Ashley inquired as she was tapping the ashes from the

cigar. When Victor didn’t reply she continued. “The video from the home owner’s security camera’s captured the whole episode. With that information and the fact you removed your mask while taking a dump made it easy for the cops to track down a six foot two inch blue power ranger.” Ashley said. Ashley dropped the cigar to the pavement. She was twisting the sole of her sandal on it making sure it was out as she stated. “That dumb ass shit cost your mom her husband and a pile of money. She had to cover the medical expenses for the little girl, your court cost and fines along with your probation fees every month.”

The Triple ‘A’ service truck with the yellow lights flashing was pulling up behind the BMW as Victor said. “We will talk about this later, Ash. Right now we need to get back on the road.”

“So we are continuing our planned trip.” She inquired as she was walking beside Victor to meet the driver of the service truck.

“I guess so since I don’t have a choice.” Victor barked.

“You’ve got a choice. I’ll take you back to your mom’s, get your shit out of my car and be on my way. What about that choice?”

“That’s OK together we will continue. I think we both let the tire get to us. Well that is if you don’t mind?” Victor said as the driver was getting out of the truck.

“I would like that. I think once we are back on the road and calm, we will hopefully pick up where we left off, before the tire blew.”

Victor was nodding as he took Ashley’s hand as the driver approached the two.

***

Victor and Ashley had not said much to one another, but had been civil since the tire had been replaced. Victor was doing what he loved which was driving. He had the powder blue BMW M760i in the wind. The needle of the speedometer was hanging around a hundred and ten miles per hour. A beautiful full moon had replaced the ball fire as the darkness of night arrived. Ashley checked the GPS, they were about fifty miles from the Oklahoma Arkansas state line. She unbuckled her seat built and lifted her bottom from the seat as she grabbed the hem of her dress. With both hands she pulled the garment over her head and tossed it in the floorboard. Victor looked over and smiled. “You remembered my request. You know your dress blowing up by accident earlier got me as horny as hell. I think that’s what made me so angry. I wanted to take you but couldn’t. Seeing you naked now has me aching again.”

“But you could have. That’s the reason all I wore was a sundress.” Ashley said as she picked the dressed up from the floor and put it back on.” “What did I say wrong?” “Nothing at all Vic.” Ashley said. A big smile spread across her face as she began patting Victor on the thigh and added. “We are still in Oklahoma so turn on the blinker and ease to the emergency lane.”

Victor did as Ashley wished. With the car in position Ashley turned on the emergency flashers then exited the car. She motioned for Victor to crawl out her side so he wouldn’t open the door into the traffic that was light but moving at a high rate of speed. She maneuvered Victor and sat him down on the concrete wall of the interstate. “Are you erect,” she asked?” Victor nodded as Ashley said. “I guess if I had let you on this earlier we may not have gotten into that awful argument.” Ashley leaned down and unzipped Victor’s shorts. She was removing his erection as she said. “Sex with you calms me better than smoking a cigar.”

Ashley turned around and raised the back off her sundress as she began to sit down. Victor was guiding his member as Ashley continued to lower herself. Victor moaned and Ashley hissed as he entered her.

Over the next eight hours Victor and Ashley repeated this process in Arkansas and Louisiana. There was no wall in Arkansas so they opened the passenger’s back and front doors. Ashley with a floor mat from the car on the rough asphalt got to her knees. Her upper body was resting in the car seat as Victor took her from behind. When the two reached Louisiana they were on a two lane with no emergency shoulder. Victor set the cruise control, then pushed the seat all the way back. Ashley facing the windshield crawled over in Victors lap. Once they made sure she could reach the brake pedal Ashely grabbed the steering wheel tight as Victor penetrated her. The car was filled with moans as they drove down the road at a steady fifty five miles an hour.

When one or the other were not napping after the switch from driver to passenger, they were having productive conversation in between the playful stops. The only glitch in the night were the two speeding tickets Victor received. The first was before they had made it out of Oklahoma after the first sexual encounter. The second in Arkansas, that stop was a close call for Ashley. She was pleasing herself after the quickie on the expressway as Victor drove and watched. The faster Ashley’s fingers moved the faster Victor drove. She was almost there where the flashing lights and siren of the state trooper’s squad car filled the interior of the BMW. Ashley managed to get off and get her dress back on before the trooper got to the window. Neither of the two were convinced the trooper didn’t get an eye full. Midnight was almost three hours in their rearview mirror. Ashley was sleeping as Victor slowed the car as he was crossing over a stone tunnel. The area below the overpass was glowing with many colors. The lights appeared to be coming from neon lights. “Ash, wake up,” Victor said as he nudged her arm.

“What is it Vic, my time to drive.” She said as she began to stretch.

“No not yet, can you tell me what is causing that glow,” He inquired as he stopped the car and pointed. “That’s an old train dining car. This over pass spans an old train tunnel, the tracks have been long removed. They turned that car into a diner for…” Ashley leaned back over and was rubbing her eyes as a gasp

escaped her lips. Fuck I can’t believe I forgot the date. The sad part grandma reminded me of it. We got to get back to the hotel. The question is how do I get Vic to do that. She leaned down and removed her dress from the floorboard and was putting it on as she said. “Vic we have traveled passed the halfway point. The hotel is back the other way about thirty miles. We need to go there and check in. We’ll come by the diner tomorrow.”

“Why we only got about three more hours of driving?” Victor inquired as he placed the car in drive.

“We have had so much sex tonight we need showers and some sleep. I know we have been napping but we need some good shut eye in a bed. I think it’s too late to be on these back roads.”

The road became curvy as it began to descend from the ridge the tunnel was bored through. After fifteen minutes of turning left then right and back left the road straightened out. The diner with its neon lights came into full view. “That has to be the coolest diner I have ever seen. Look at that it is sitting on an old set of tracks. We have worked up an appetite, what do you say we stop and grab a bite?”

With her arms crossed and staring out the passenger window tears started flowing down her checks as Ashley answered. “I would rather not. Please make a U-turn and let’s get to the hotel.”

“Look sorry about the tickets, I’ll handle them when we return home and see if there is something I can do to keep them off my record.” Victor said as the diner was getting closer.

Ashley reached over to the center dashboard and turned the radio down as she said. “Vic it’s not about the tickets. This is something that is bigger than the both of us.”

“Ash why are you crying and shaking.” Victor inquired.

“I have got us in a mess by not keeping up with the time.” She whimpered.

“Now I am confused. When we left you said we didn’t need to worry about time.” Victor said his brow furrowed.

“I know what I said but now I realized I was wrong. I really don’t know what to say or how to explain it. Please turn around, I’m feeling sick.” Ashley said while wiping her face with the back of her hand.

“We have discussed a lot and made great progress in our relationship. Let’s talk about this now, before it becomes a bigger issue. I have seen you upset but this is more than that.” Victor said.

Ashley turned to Victor as the gravel began crunching under the tires of the car and said. “Why are you pulling in? I told you I didn’t want to eat here. Look there is not one car in the parking lot. That is a sure sign of that the food sucks.”

“Ah come on, let’s at least get a cup of coffee and sandwich while we discuss what’s bothering you. Plus you’re getting sick because we haven’t eaten in eight hours. After that if you feel like it, you can take over driving since you know where we are. You can also

make the call whether we continue on or head to the hotel.” Victor said as he placed the car in park.

Ashly was unbuckling her seatbelt while staring at the clock in the car. “Tell you what, you run in and grab two cups of coffee and a couple of sandwich’s to go. That will give you a chance to stretch your legs. I’ll walk around out here and do the same and be behind the wheel when you return.”

“Why get the food to go?” Victor inquired. “Like you said, I know where we are, we must get back across the train tunnel or the tracks heading to grandma’s house before the Spirit Train comes through. We will never make the crossing before it is blocked. The fastest route out of here is over the tunnel. ” Ashley said as she exited the car and began stretching looking up at the full moon.

Victor with his crossed arms laying on top of the car said. “Don’t start that voodoo talk now that were are back in the Bayou. I take it we have a train coming through at what time?”

“Damn it Vic it’s not voodoo, just trust me for once. The train is called the Spirit Train for a reason and today is a special day. Run in and get the sandwiches and coffee, get back out here so we can get the hell out of here.” Ashley snapped.

“I do trust you Ash, but you didn’t tell me what time the train comes through.”

“At three am, the peak of the witching hour.” Ashley stated then let out a sigh.

“I thought this had nothing to do with voodoo.” Victor said with a smirk.

“Vic, please, do as I ask.” Ashley pleaded. “I take it this train has a lot of cars, so it takes sometime to pass, or maybe stops to switch tracks and blocks the crossing for an hour or so. We counter that by eating inside and hang out till four, then depart. Problem solved.”

“No Vic, you don’t understand and we are wasting time.” Ashley shouted as she was tapping her watch then added. “I’ll be pulling out of here no later than two forty five…with or without you. That way I can be safely across the overpass with time to spare.”

“Whatever Ashley. Let me ask you a question. If you are so scared of this Spirit Train why didn’t we come through Texas as I suggested?”

Ashley was crying and stomping her feet as she was yelling at Victor. “Once again Vic, we are wasting valuable time. It doesn’t matter if we traveled through Texas or Arkansas. Both routes would have lead us here. There is only one way to grandmas and that is coming through the dead zone, then crossing the tracks in to voodoo country. Please hurry.” Ashley pleaded.

Victor threw up his arms as he was heading to the diner as Ashley jogged around to the driver’s side. Before getting in she continued jogging in place keeping her eye on the time. With only a couple of minutes left before she wanted to depart she got in the car.

With her seat belt buckled and the car running she checked the time and shouted. “Damn it Vic, I don’t want to leave you…but I don’t want to die either.” She

placed the car in drive and began turning around. She was about to pull out on the road as she spotted Victor in the rear view mirror, waving one hand and shouting. Ashley slammed the car to reverse and began speeding toward him. With the brakes being applied hard the car began skidding on the gravel from the parking lot, coming to a stop just short of Victor. He flung the door open and got in. His head slammed back against the head rest as Ashley tried to drive the accelerator pedal through the floor. With tires squealing and gravel flying she left the parking lot with Victor screaming. “Fuck Ash, you almost run me down and now are driving like a maniac. You are scared shitless, what in the hell is going on.”

“We got to move Vic, ain’t got time to diddle ass around.” Ashley said as the BMW speedometer was registering ninety and still climbing.

“Slow down there is no way you can take those curves at this high rate of speed.” Victor said as he was placing the coffee in the cup holders. With the java in place he began removing the sandwiches as he said. “Ash that was the coldest diner I have ever been in. The people were awful pale and sickly looking almost like…”

“Like they were dead.” Ashley said as she backed off the accelerator.

“Yeah, like the zombies we see in the movies. Anyway tell me more about this Spirit Train. The staff fell silent and rushed the order through…”

“Let me guess when you mentioned you were trying to beat the spirit train. They gave you the food free and wished you luck and hoped they never saw you again.”

“Yep how did you know that?” Victor said as he was staring at Ashley in disbelief.

“Leave my sandwich in the bag I’ll eat it after we get out of the dead zone.” Ashley said staring at the road in front of her.

“Will do,” Victor said as he placed the bag with her sandwich in the floorboard. “Now tell me why this is called the dead zone, how you knew what went on in the diner and about this Spirit Train”

“Explaining the train will answer all those questions. The Spirit Train is just that. The cars are being pulled by engine number 7. It carries the spirits of the dead to judgment day. You can see those spirits swirling around in the passenger cars as they pass.” Ashley paused as she turned the radio back up, nothing was heard but static. Pointing at the radio she said. “That’s the reason this is called the dead zone. This is where the dead are transported to and from. As you hear you can’t get a radio signal and we have satellite radio. Check your phone if you don’t believe me.”

After taking a bite of his sandwich Victor picked up his phone from the center console and looked at it. “I will be damned, you are right.” Victor said.

“If I don’t get us out of here by three thirty am we both will be damned. Like those in the diner.” She picked up her coffee took a sip and placed it back just before going into the first curve. She began to ex

plain the special events that happened every year at this time. “The Spirit Train pulls engine number 666, the Grim Reaper Express through here once a year. The Spirit Train doesn’t stop at the crossing except on October thirty-first at three am. Once the train stops the passage to voodoo country is blocked. Engine number 666 then disconnects from the rear of the train and travels to the diner car. The dead people in the diner are those damned to hell. That hook up takes place at three thirty sharp.”

“Honey I hate to tell you this but you are a day early. Today is the thirtieth of October not the thirty-first.”

“That is where I screwed up also. Once I saw the Dining car I realized we left on the thirtieth, after midnight the calendar flipped to the thirty-first.”

“Ok so we forgot that small detail. Do you really believe all this voodoo bullshit?” Vic said after swallowing the last bite of his sandwich.

“Vic you need to take me serious, your life depends on it.” Ashley shouted then in a calmer voice said. “That’s the reason the waitress at the diner never waited to see you again. They all are hopping you beat death and not suffer the faith they are. Any man, woman, or child in the dead zone when the Grim Reaper arrives dies.

“So that’s why we got to be out of here by three thirty am.”

“Yes do you believe now?” “Nope and I’m beginning to think my mom was right. I should have never married you as your family is a bunch of devil worshiping Cajun heathens.” Victor barked.

“I can’t believe you said that after the night we have had.” Ashley said as tears were streaming from her eyes. Through her sobs she said. “You would rather die, trying to prove me wrong.”

“They only way for you to see that all the bullshit your grandmother has been feeding you since you were a child is a pack of lies from the devil is to face it. You would rather tell me that I am wrong instead of proving it.”

“If I prove it, you will die.” Ashley said as the tires were squealing as the curves were becoming sharper.

“Ash, you use that excuse as a way out of proving it. You don’t want to admit that your devil worshiping Cajun heathen grandma is off her rocker. The only way to prove who is right is to return to the diner. We shall fight the zombies and wait on the grim reaper together.”

Ashley pulled up the emergency break as she spun the wheel. She released the brake and floored the gas pedal. The tires were squealing, the smoke bellowing in the air as Ashley was spinning the car around. “I hope my grandma has a few more favors left, if not you just sealed your fate.” She hollered at Victor as she sped back toward the dinner.

Ashley slid the BMW to a stop at the diner door. She sprang from the car, rushing for the diner door. Victor was close behind and entered through the door Ashley was holding open. “Hey my lawyer will be contacting you about the divorce.” Victor said.

“Afraid not,” Ashley said. She followed Victor in and took a seat at the first stool of the counter. She removed a glazed donut from the covered pastry stand in front of her. The occupants of the diner stopped all motion and stared into space as a lonely and faint train whistle cut the night air. Ashley turned to Victor and wiped her mouth with a napkin then said. “Sounds like the Spirit Train is only five minutes away.”

Victor twisted his head and was looking at the clock above the cash register, it was eight till three. He looked at Ashley and said. “I’m about to prove you are wrong.”

“Maybe, we will have to see. I may be collecting your insurance money once they find your body with a severed head at the Spirit Train crossing.” Ashley said with a smile then took another bite of the donut as a waitress was pouring her a cup of coffee. “Explain this to me. My car is the only one in the lot. How did all these people get here? I’m betting there are more now than when we were here ten minutes ago.” Victor began looking around the room. His eyes got big as he started backing toward the door.” See I was right, I hope we don’t have to fight these zombies.” Ashley said as the waitress placed the pot back on the maker. That waitress along with the cook came from behind the counter. The cook was wielding a butcher knife and leading the pack, the waitress and the customers who were not there before fell in behind the cook and began slowly approaching Victor. “Get away from me you coon-asses,” Victor hollered as he was picking up a metal napkin holder. He hurled it striking the waitress in the shoulder. With a pop her arm flew off, hitting the customer behind her. The progress of the waitress toward Victor never changed or the blank expression she had on her face. The customer behind her was now spinning the severed arm over his head while he continued to march. As he got closer he threw the arm at Victor hitting him in the face. Victor stumbling backwards spotted a cup of coffee that was still steaming. Once he regained his balance he pick it up and dashed it in the cooks face. The cook never screamed as the coffee ran from his face so did his skin. Victor dropped to the floor and with a sweeping kick tried to take the knife bearing cook off his feet. A snap echoed as the cook’s upper body separated from the lower, at the waist. Two thuds echoed through the diner as both sections hit the floor. The cook continued swinging the knife at Victor with one hand while using the other to pull himself across the floor. Victor shouted, “Ash you are right I believe you - get us out of here.”

The diner began to shake as the squealing of the train coming to a halt reached the ears of Victor. He looked up at the clock that displayed three o’clock. “You came to that conclusion a little late Vic.” Ashley said.

The zombies stopped moving and those that were still standing fell to the ground. Their spirits rose and began swirling through the diner. Victor made a dash for the door. He was sliding to a stop as a tall skeleton figure wearing a black hooded robe glided through

the door on a cloud of mist. The figure had burning red eyes and carried a scythe in his right hand. “Back up Victor and let Mister Grim Reaper in.”

Victor didn’t respond as he lost consciousness and fell to the floor. Grim Reaper was floating over him as his red eyes were fixed on Ashley. The hooded figure gave a nod and in a voice that rolled like thunder across the sky spoke. “You grandma is worried about you. She figured your husband here was going to be trouble. Shall I spare him?”

“Only if he remembers this night and that the dead zone exists. He needs to start respecting its purpose in moving spirits from one realm to the next. I would also like for him to understand the roll my grandma plays in keeping the balance in the dead zone. But that may be asking for too much. I would also like an apology however for the names he called her.”

“I shall consider your wishes.” Grim Reaper stated as Victor was coming around, fighting to get to his feet. Grim Reaper reached down and lifted Victor to his eye level then released him. Victor was suspended in air, his feet dangling above the floor as Grim Reaper spoke. “Ashley you know about the diner, train, and engine 666 along with the time frame. If you get caught in the ...”

“Yes sir, I understand you can’t guarantee my safety as I will be trapped in between realms.”

“Your grandma taught you well.” The voice rumbled. “I’ll let her know you approve sir.” Ashley said as she was walking toward the door. With a smile on her face she paused in front of Victor. “Don’t worry, I’ll fly your body back home for a funeral then collect the insurance money. That’s how this marriage will end. After that I will keep my voodoo Cajun heathen ass that you like fucking so much tonight on my side of the tracks.” Ashley began laughing as she began walking to the door.

“No Ashley don’t leave me. You were right and I was wrong.” Victor whimpered.

Ashley didn’t stop walking as she said. “Vic although I feel somewhat responsible for this we can’t turn the hands of the clock back. We can’t change the natural order and timing of life and death. The moving of spirits must run on schedule, not waiting on anyone.”

Victor’s eyes became wide, his forehead pouring sweat as the sharp edge of the scythe pressed against his throat. Victor with tears in his eyes was frozen as he was watching Ashley walk out the door. “Ashley please come back. I’m sorry about what I said about you and your family. I now believe. Please come back and get me.” Victor pleaded.

Once she was in the car the Grim reapers eyes began glowing brighter. Victor began hollering for Ashley once again as Grim Reaper raised his left hand and sentenced Victor to death. A plop was heard as Victor’s head hit the floor, then a thud followed as so did Victors body.

Ashley with tears in her eyes was maneuvering the BMW around the curves at sixty plus miles an hour with one eye on the road and the other on the clock. She

was half way up the incline with only eight minutes left to clear the zone. Ashley knew if she was going to make it she must drive faster. She pressed down on the accelerator. When the needle was hovering around eighty, she held it there. Ashley checked the clock she had six minutes left. The car was kicking up gravel as Ashley took the next two corners, but she managed to keep control of the car. “I need more speed,” she shout as she once again eased down on the gas pedal. The needle jumped to ninety plus as she went in to the turn. The car wobbled coming out of the corner and entered the next turn, the last one. Coming out of the corner the car began fish tailing then spinning around in the road. She was fighting to get the car under control before running it in a ditch or worse down the embankment. Her hands were sweating and her heart felt like it was coming out of her chest as the car came to a rest, pointed in the wrong direction. She glanced at the clock, three minutes to get the car turned and across the over bridge. The tires were smoking as she spun the car around. Ashley was

lined up like a plane ready to take off. She slammed her foot down, lighting up the tires again. The car shot forward and reached sixty in no time. She was headed across the train tunnel as the smoke from engine number 666 was rising from underneath it. She looked down it was three twenty eight as she reached the other side. She slid the car to a stop. Hopping out she dashed to the rear of the car, making sure no part of her body entered the dead zone. She was in tears and shaking while staring down at the diner.

A loud clank rose from the area. The diner lunged back as engine 666 coupled with it. The whistle of the Grim Reaper Express pierced the night air at three thirty sharp. The train began to move forward. The neon signs of the diner that caught Victor’s eyes flickered several times then went dark. The smoke from the engine engulfed the diner as the train entered the tunnel, but never exited the other side.