Toby and the station of death

I saw a band of angels.

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Copyright © 2008, Michael M Wayman

I must have got out at the wrong station. The automatic station announcer in the train didn't work and my count of the stops was wrong somehow – the station name was unreadable for me, as usual.

I walked down the tunnel under the tracks to find the way out and got lost. I found a way out but it was very dark. I walked further and suddenly I saw a band of angels coming towards me. I laughed to myself, it's dark and you are seeing things. But they were angels, made of stone on the other side of a hedge.

I saw another station in the distance, perhaps that is where I should have got out. It was a strange white colour and badly lit, but there was a train in the station. I ran to the station, but no need, it was a train of trucks, covered wagons.

“You're late!” said a man wearing a top hat, “The first day, I mean night, at work and you're late. You've gotta be punctual in this trade. A fine way to start, I must say. And not one of the others has come. Don't you guys want a job? Oh well, you'll gonna have to learn the hard way, there's just the two of us to do the work.”

He opened the door on the first truck, got in and pushed the end of a coffin towards me. “Grab hold and we'll put it on that trolley.” It was heavy, but the trolley was close. We wheeled the trolley with the coffin inside the station to a room with several tables.

“This one goes on table number three” he said after reading the label. Each of the tables was numbered.

We unloaded more coffins – they all had a table to go to. At last all the tables were full. Was I pleased! End of work, but no. “There's one left – no relatives.” I did not understand this.

We wheeled the last coffin into the room with all the other coffins. “Oh, let's take a rest” he said. “You've made a good job of it so far. You could stay in this job.”

“We call this room the room of last respects. Some of the relatives like to say goodbye for the last time. I don't know why. We have to open the lids. Some of them get kissed. Yuk!”

“OK, this one gets taken into the chapel. It will be the first one to go in the morning, before the first train comes with the relatives from the big city. But this one has none, there'll be just the priest and us there in the morning.”

We wheeled the one with no relatives into the chapel. It was bigger that I expected. The decorations were just awful, black and white and just awful.

“Yeah!” he said, “Just awful. It's my idea of hell.”