This piece was written for the Six Sentence Story Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘train’.
Note: This piece departs from my usual humorous approach to these challenges.
As Max watched his son-in-law, David, board the train and then boarded himself, he knew two things for certain; they would both be dead soon, because David would die on this train and that he himself would die later, from terminal cancer.
Amidst the metal-on-metal soundtrack and the rock-and-roll sway of the carriage, Max ruminated on the journey that had led to this, seeing early on what David’s narcissism would bring upon the life of his daughter, Jane, and he wondered what had happened to create a world where men could do evil things and other men would not only not intervene but aid and abet.
The early warning signs were there with the litany of jobs that he walked out on because management failed to realise his self-assessed genius and gathered pace when he took out a second mortgage on their house to start a business that was going ‘to revolutionise the world of on-line marketing’, requiring expensive suits and a luxury car to impress potential investors; and then he was bankrupt and then he was violent.
Jane came to live with the widowed Max and an incensed David bombarded them both with increasingly bizarre emails and texts and when the AVO Jane took out didn’t stop the stalking and harassment and the death threats, Max knew it was time and took his old service revolver from the safe, cleaned it and loaded it.
As the train slowly emptied and the aisle between the seats became clear, Max stood and walked towards where David was sitting and David looked from Max’s face to the gun in Max’s hand and back to Max’s face and the condescending smirk that was his trademark turned to a frozen grimace.
The last words David heard were Max quoting Edmund Burke’s dictum that ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’ before Max did something and pulled the trigger.