“I can’t believe it!” Gabriel cried in anger, frustration, and sadness all at once. He’s running across the city of New York at a fast pace. No matter how exhausted he is or how many stop signals he ignored, Gabriel just kept running no matter what. That is until he tripped over.
“Damn it!” he cried repeatedly while pounding the ground as much as he wants until he doesn’t have the strength anymore. It only makes him angrier. A mere reminder of how useless he is to the people here. The first incident involves his parents who’re going through a separation. Next is James, his brother, who has tormenting him by making fun of his poor driving skills. Now…
“Why? Why Emily!?” he screams to the blackish sky.
Emily was his childhood friend since first grade. They’ve gone through so much together, whether those days were either the good times or the bad times. Everything has always been the most joyful moment for Gabriel whenever he’s with her until today.
It began after the start of their junior year in high school. Tonight, was the school’s annual costume dance party, which only occurs on the day before Halloween. He had decided that this would be the day he would confess his feelings to her while dressing as a knight in shining armor. It does sounded very romantic; unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
When he finally found Emily, she was talking with two of her female friends near the snack area. They seem to be dressed as the old band from back then, "Josie and the Pussicats." As he approaches, he overheard them talking about him. Although, his heart is set on Emily, he would not mind eavesdropping on what the other girls would think about him.
“You like him, don’t you Emily?” smirked one of the girls.
“You mean Gabriel?”
“Who else,” said the other girl, “he’s the only boyfriend you ever have, right?”
“He’s not my boyfriend! I have lots of others guy friends here too. Besides, they’re much more fun to be with than that annoying emo.”
Hearing her saying that had hurt Gabriel. His heart aches in pain like a drill slowly drilling down a hole through his heart.
“I know what you mean. I was with him in chemistry class last year. I was playing a joke on someone’s necklace which was hanging out from the back of his neck, but he had to spoil all the fun by telling the teacher on me. Because of that snitch, I got kicked out of class for the rest of the year.”
Gabriel remember that time. It’s true he told the teacher on her. Then she ended up getting kick out of class because of it; however, Gabriel knows he had a good reason for what he did. Honestly, he didn’t mind her playing around in class. That is until she was using burning tongs and was quietly trying to place its burning tip on the necklace hanging by the back of someone’s neck.
“Emily, maybe you should cut ties with that guy. If you keep hanging out with him, he might think you like him.”
“Now that’s a disturbing sight,” the other girl said in disgust.
“I was planning on telling him after the dance, so there’s no worry.”
“Oh, I have an idea,” said one girl pulling out her phone. “Let take a video of his reaction in the end. It’s going to be hilarious and could gain millions of viewers all at once.”
“That sounds cruel,” Emily mocked and all three of them burst into laughter.
Gabriel couldn’t take it anymore. First was the sudden divorce, a brotherly torment, and now…a betrayal from the only friend. There’s nothing left for him in this world anymore. Only misery lies before him now.
After taking off the entire knight costume he's wearing, Gabriel was then standing on the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge. From his view, it was a long way down. He could die if he fell in, even though it’s just a large pool of water. Gabriel was afraid, but it didn’t stop him. With just one step forward, he fell off from that edge. Once Gabriel has hit the bottom, his entire body was instantly swallowed up by the cold dark waters. He couldn’t breath and he is sinking deeper within.
“Goodbye, everyone. It was fun while it lasted.”
“Wakey! Wakey!” cried the teenage boy with a British accent. He's trying wake Gabriel by shaking him up. However, his eyes didn’t open an inch.
That boy's name is Dirk. He’s 16 years old with a blondish hair dye covering all over the top while the sides below remained the same brownish color. And with is his massive muscles, many people always thought that Dirk looks a bit older than his real age.
“Let me try,” said another teenage boy. This one’s name is Hideyoshi. Unlike Dirk, he’s a year older and currently wearing his school uniform instead of just regular clothes like a hooded jacket Dirk is wearing.
Hideyoshi got close to Gabriel’s left ear. By taking a deep breathe and forming a circle with his thumb and index finger, he whistled. The sound was too close and too loud for Gabriel’s ear to bare. In fact, it scared him out of his sleep.
“What the…” he groan. Although he’s half-asleep right now, his ear is still ringing in pain. At least the pain has ceased a few moments later.
“Finally, you’re awake,” Dirk sigh relieving his frustration.
Gabriel was looking around to see where he’s at. It looks like he in some sort of train. A very fancy train, considering the soft cushion seats lined together. Then there's a few small chandeliers hanging separately above the center row. The one thing this train doesn’t have like the normal one does is that there’s no windows.
“Where am I?” he asked.
“So, you don’t know what this place is either, huh?” Hideyoshi stated.
“W-What? Is this not the afterlife?”
“What the bloody hell are you talking about?” Dirk asked.
“This isn’t the afterlife,” Hideyoshi explained to Gabriel.
“How do you know?”
“Well, I’m certain I was walking back home from school instead of dying and boarded into this train.”
Gabriel tries to stand but then lost his balance a little after the train suddenly hit a little bump or something.
“Is the train moving?” he asked.
“What else are trains for?” said Dirk.
“It’s been moving for a while now…”
“D-Dirk,” the little girl literally cried at the corner of her seat. Her name is Emma, an eleven-year-old girl. Of course, she’s short but not as short her brownish hair.
“Emma, everything is going to be okay” Dirk comforting her.
“B-But I’m so scared. I want to go home. I want to go home…”
“Emma, please don’t cry. Your big brother is here with you. And I promise I’ll get you home no matter what. So, you need to be a strong girl until then, okay?”
“O-Okay,” she said.
“Is she okay now?” approaching a young woman. Her name is Sarah. Even as a young woman, she is very tall and a little bit muscular but not as much as Dirk’s. Her elegantly sleek black hair. To Gabriel, she is quite beautiful and quite tough all at once.
“Did you find anything Sarah?” Hideyoshi asked.
“Unfortunately, nothing at all. There are no doors, no exits, and no other way out of this train.”
“Then how are we put inside in the first place?” asked Gabriel. “If we somehow got in, then there has to be some way to get off. M-Maybe we can just wait…”
“Waiting is out of the question,” Sarah said.
“But if this really is a train, then maybe we can get off once it stops at its destination.”
“Even if the destination is at a slave auction?”
Emma began to cry again. She repeated the same quote, “I wanna go home”, as she clinches her teary face into Dirk’s chest.
“Pathetic,” Sarah scoff.
“What was that?” Dirk snapped. Sarah was silent, and it really ticked him off.
“What, shouldn’t a big brother take care of his sister whenever she cries?”
That finally crossed the line. Dirk instinctively put Emma aside for now as he was about to deliver a left hook at Sarah. Gabriel and Hideyoshi interfered.
“What the hell are you doing?” Dirk said while the two hold him down. “If she wants a bloody beating, then I’ll gladly give her one she’ll never forget!”
“This is no time to fight!” Gabriel grunted
“He’s right. We have more important matters to handle than this.”
“Indeed, you do, my young travelers,” spoke the strange voice.
Everything becomes dead silent afterwards. The violent tension that was hanging in the air has just gone out the window. Then, after a moment, a door suddenly appeared at the end of the train where Sarah used to be.
“I thought there wasn’t a door over there.” Hideyoshi commented.
“There wasn’t,” Sarah explained.
“Seems Ms. Perfect needs her eyes check,” Dirk criticized before she’s giving him an antagonizing glare. It’s as if she’s saying, “One more word out of you, and you’ll get out of this train in a body bag.”
All five of them, including Emma as she’s a little calmed now, headed towards the door. Once they’re pass through, the door shut itself and everything was shrouded into darkness in an instant, until a large chandelier shed its light. There was nothing except…a man who just appeared the same time the darkness vanishes. He’s standing at the other side of the train cargo away from the group.
“Greetings, I am the Alternate.”
To the five, this Alternate person is certainly a mysterious character. Even his face is being kept hidden because of that massive cloak he’s wearing.
“I see that all of you are getting along so well back there. Oh, how it makes me happy,” the Alternate commented while approaching to the five.
“W-Who are you,” Gabriel asked. The Alternate immediately stopped his approach and introduce himself as the Alternate again.
“No, who are you really?”
“I am just the Alternate. Nothing more.”
“Well, whoever you are, let me ask you this one question,” Sarah butting into the conversation.
“Don’t you mean one more question?”
“Shut up!” she snapped. “Now tell me, did you bring us here?”
“Well of course. Who else beside me, the Alternate, could have done such a thing.”
“C-Could you please take us home…mister?” Emma asked as she’s trying her best not to cry as much as she did.
“Aw, I’m so sorry little girl. I’m afraid I cannot do that, nor can I tell you why?”
“And why not?” Hideyoshi said with agitation.
“Well, it would spoil the fun we’re all going to have soon.”
“You take us home right now!” Dirk enraged as he charge straight at the Alternate. With just a right jab, he has successfully deliver a hit at the face. However, instead of the Alternate trembling down onto his knees, Dirk became the one to have been knockdown.
Gabriel, Hideyoshi, and Emma came to his side. His nose was bleeding. Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any other fatal wounds anywhere else on him.
“What did you do to him?” asked Gabriel.
The Alternate didn’t say a word. Sarah, who was closer at the time, was more fazed than Dirk because of what she sees at the time he was struck down. She approached him and slowly moving her hand towards his face. Just as Sarah was about to touch him, her hand has somehow landed onto her own face instead of his. Everyone was speechless.
“I see now you all realized what would happen if we get physical with each other. Especially me.”
“What do you want?” Sarah sighed
“First, let me explain a few things before we all begin the fun. You all, of course, know that this is a train. But unlike an ordinary train, this one has the ability to travel from world to world.”
“You can’t be serious?” Dirk commented.
“Indeed I am. This train can take you to any world; however, it cannot take you to the world you wanted yet.”
“Yet?” said Hideyoshi. “So then, we can just wait it all out until we reach home?”
“Waiting isn’t a good option,” said Sarah.
“Why is that?” Gabriel asked.
“How many worlds do you think there are?”
“Quite perceptive,” the Alternate complimented. “Indeed, there are more worlds than what any of you can imagine. Simply waiting to arrive to your world will take years. Most likely a century, perhaps.”
“Then how else can we get home?” Hideyoshi asked.
“You’ll need the sacred keys. Five keys to unlock every cargo leading to the train's engine. By controlling that engine, you can control the train.”
“And if we can control the train, then we can all control where it’s heading, right?”
“Can’t you take us home instead?” Emma asked.
The Alternate was strangely silent. He also stands very still like a statue. He suddenly disappears. Before his departure, he announced an important message: you have arrived to you’re first destination.