Stove pulls her jacket tighter. It’s a warm day, but the motion of the train makes a relentless gale.
She crouches with the fingertips of her left hand against the floor for balance and watches the yellowing fields flash by.
Something changes behind her.
She looks over her shoulder and sees the stranger standing by the doorway, his dead-seeming arms hanging by his sides. Crazy bastard must have been climbing from car to car.
She nods curtly and turns back to her view. Looks like rain. Clouds coming up. She feels him grab her shoulder, but she looks at him coldly and doesn’t bother to stand.
His head snaps back as if something has grabbed him by the hair. Then his legs go out from under him, his tailbone goes up in the air and his arms and legs dangle like rags. He’s spitting and shouting, but it all sounds like train to her.
As if his ass were a balloon and his body the string, he bobs red and foaming toward the door, takes one last swing back into the car and flies out the door and disappears down the grade and out of sight.
She nods once before returning to her cloud-gazing. “Thanks,” she says, but no one answers because no one’s there.