Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Haunted Train Ride Continues #coffinhop

You take the window seat. Regan sits next to you and Hanover takes the seat across the aisle. As the train pulls out of the station, you look out the window to see the sky darkening. Is it that late already, or is there a storm brewing, you wonder as you watch the trees whir past.

"How long is the train ride?" you ask.

"Long enough for a drink or two," Regan answers, looking down the aisle.

"There's no service on this train, Regan," Hanover says. "They cut that years ago. Don't you remember?"

"Don't be silly, Hanover." Regan giggles. "There's the waiter now."

Hanover rolls his eyes.You look down the aisle and see no one.

"I'll have a bottle of champagne," Regan chimes. "Better make it two. And three glasses. We have company.

"I hope you're not too thirsty," Hanover leans across the aisle. "If you are, you can have some of my medicine. And if you don't like that, I'll go get you something in the dining car."

"I'm fine," you say. "I had a drink at the Black Cat."

"Hanover, are you crazy? I just ordered enough champagne for all of us."

"You thought you did, but the waiter wasn't real, so it doesn't count."

"Sure it does," Regan gives Hanover a smug smile. "I just hope the champagne's decent this time. Last time it tasted like crap."

"Last time was over forty years ago. There was a real waiter. He brought real champagne."

"Whatever, Hanover." Regan turns her attention to an empty seat near the front of the passenger car. "I'll be right back."

"Where are you going?"

"I have to find out where that lady got that marvelous hat."

"What hat? The only lady I see isn't wearing a hat."

"The red hat, silly. Don't you know anything about fashion? That hat is to die for." Regan stood. "Can you watch Dolce for me?"

You shrug and look at the handbag on the floor beneath Regan's seat. "What do I need to do?"

"Just keep her quiet if she yaps. Open the bag a little and scratch her behind the ears. She likes that. Technically, she's not allowed in the passenger car. But there is no way I'm sending her as baggage. I hate when they make up stupid rules." Regan hurries off to the front of the train.

You watch her lean over. Her hands gesture as she carries on an animated conversation with an invisible person.

"Don't mind her," Hanover says. "She can still see the ghosts."

"Ghosts?" you ask.

"The ghosts of the people who died in this passenger car  the last time we took this train."

"Oh," you say. "What happened?"

"A tornado. A real doozy. It blew a tree down on the tracks. The train hit it -- smack. Only a few of us survived. Regan might not have...except for her dog. Dolce two that must have been."

"How did the dog save her?"

"Regan was wearing some flowy, fringy scarf. When the train wrecked, she flew down the aisle. The scarf caught around her neck...nearly stangled her. That dog gnawed at it until she was freed."

"Dolce was my hero!" Regan slid into her seat. "All my Dolces are heroes. Hanover was out cold. He didn't come to for three days."


"Just in time!" Regan exclaims. She passes you a glass full of golden bubbles.

You take a sip. It's a little dry for your taste, but not bad.

"Would you like me to open the second bottle?" a man's voice asks.
You look up and see a face shadowed by a glowing drink tray.

"Not yet," Regan says. "It'll keep better if we wait."

"Very well, ma'am." The man said and then he's gone.

You hear laughter tinkling toward the front of the passenger car. You look up and see the car is filled with people, most dressed in fancy attire. Everyone is talking, laughing drinking, including a lady wearing a black dress and a red hat that's to die for.