Alonso raced headlong toward the platform. The station’s clocktower chimed quarter past noon. Strangers filled the sidewalks outside the station. Workers on lunchbreak, street performers, and mothers on outings with their children strolled breezily, unaware of the coming catastrophe.

“No! Look out!” A primal scream bellowed from Alonso’s lungs, drowned entirely by the sudden wail of the train whistle. Too late, he realized as his hue and cry were answered by sudden shouts of the crowd. He fell to the concrete platform floor, hands folded in prayer.

His tears mercifully blurred his vision to the oncoming carnage. The flash and crashing roar of the impact shook him to his core like a shot to the heart. Choked by acrid smoke, he stumbled through the wreckage of ruined lives, his own tears mixing with blood of the lost innocents. Too late.

Alonso had seen it too many times before. An engine driven by hate and fueled by fury. An unstoppable force speeding toward disaster along cold steel tracks. Visions of each catastrophe flashed through his mind, and for each wreck, the missed opportunities for salvation. A driver asleep at the switch. A faulty brake line. Too many missed signals. Too many warnings unheeded. Too many ruined lives.

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 3-28. Public domain image: Train wreck at Montparnasse, 1895.


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