The man sighed in irritation. "Ticket. Please."
Blinking his way out of his daze, Danny searched his pockets. "Wha- I- I don't have a... ticket."
Danny watched the man silently as different expressions crossed his pale face. "Listen, kid. I don't know how you've gotten here, and I don't really care. What I do care about, however, is. Your. Ticket." He hold his hand out as a silent command. "Without it, I can't ride this train for you."
Train? Why was he on a train? Danny frowned. For the first time he was here, he looked around properly. Empty, dark blue seats filled the long train car. GZ1056, a sign that hung above him said. No paper, no used soda cans, no unidentifiable goop lying on seats. Way too clean.
Then he gazed out of the window.
Dozens of them. Ghosts. Dozens of ghosts. Walking, no, more like floating around, waiting on the platform.
Blue eyes watched in fascination.
"Are you going to give it or not?"
Right. Ticket. This was seriously nuts. How did he end up on this train? Why were there so many ghosts? Why was he sitting here, of all places?
"Look," Danny began. "I don't know who you are, but I told you. I don't have a ticket." He stood up from his seat, briefly wondering why the other seats were empty. "I'm leaving," he muttered. The conductor raised one eyebrow at the annoyed teen. He simply stepped aside as Danny walked past him. Crossing his arms, he watched the boy trying to open the doors.
Grumbling, Danny took a brief glance over his shoulder. The conductor was still watching with a smug look on his face. There goes his plan of phasing out of the train. He snarled at the button that usually made the train doors open. Pressing it again and again in an impatient manner, he bit his lip. The doors were locked. No way out. Panic settled in his stomach.
Danny looked up at the conductor. He was smiling at him. Perfect white teeth mocked his attempts of breaking out.
Blue eyes narrowed. "Alright, sir, you have two seconds to explain what the hell is going on, before I'll-"
"You'll do what, kid?" The man interrupted, British accent dripping with boredom. He gave Danny a quick eye roll. Danny took a step back and blinked, surprised by the conductor's reaction.
"You don't get it, do you?" He gave Danny a humorless smile. "This, kid, this is it."
He glanced at Danny from top to toe. "I do have to say that this train is usually filled with... older beings." He chuckled. "Well, I guess I can't say 'filled', but you get the point."
He held his arms before him, moving them as he spoke in an enthusiastic way. "Only a few people get on this ride. This train only rides three or four times a month." He tapped his finger to his chin as he spoke. "I don't know actually, time rather flows... pesky. It's hard to get on time, you know. Especially if you don't know what time it is. You're lucky you don't had to wait for me. If I'm late, I'm very late."
"What are you talking about?!" Danny snapped.
"Well, you see, time flows differently in the Ghost Zone, surely you must know that by now? You're the halfling, you know about the Zone... Right? I don't know you, only heard about you. If you don't know the Zone, kid, then I have no idea how to explain this to you, but-"
Danny huffed. "Not that! I mean the train! What kind of train is this? Why can't I leave?"
The man grinned. "Like I said, this is it. This is the last ride."
"The final ride!"
"That's the same!"
"Well, if you're going to be impatient about it, then I just won't explain it at all." Shifting his weight, he stared at Danny.
"I'm still going to need your ticket."
"Look kid, I'll explain it all to you but you've got to drop that attitude!"
Danny sighed, letting his shoulders relax and looked up at the man. "Explain."
Mischief sparkled in the man's eyes. "Not before I have your ticket. You see, I can't get it for you. It's something you have to do yourself. I'll do the rest. You can just sit back and enjoy your ride."
Mumbling something about crazy conductors and stupid tickets under his breath, Danny began searching his pockets again. If only to prove that he did not have it. Feeling the fabric of his pants, and nothing else, he let out a grumble. "Stupid ticket..." He ducked and let his head hung to see if it maybe had fallen under his seat – which was stupid, Danny decided, there probably wasn't even a ticket. Maybe this was all part of a Punk'd version for ghosts.
Then his blue eyes widened. Beneath the surprisingly chewing gum-clear seat, a small paper rested on the floor. He reached out to grab it and sat back up. He examined it and frowned.
DANIEL JAMES FENTON
TIME OF DEPARTURE: 6:23pm 24th AUGUST 2007
Still frowning, he flipped the ticket over to the back side. Nothing. He checked his watch.
"So, Daniel, huh?" Danny yelped at the sudden voice right next to him.
"Or is is Daan? Neil? Danny? Oh, wait, I know! DJ!"
Confused blue eyes watched the man's guessing attempts. "...It's Danny."
"Great! Now I know your name and I can finally check your ticket in." Grinning, he hold his hand out, waiting for Danny to place it there. But Danny grabbed hold of the ticket tighter.
"Why does this have my name on it? Train tickets don't have that."
The man sighed in irritation. "Kid, I told you before. This. Is. The. Final. Ride. If I have to speak slower you really need to see a doctor or something, not trying to be rude, bee tee double u."
"If you don't give it, the train won't depart and all your chances of reaching the ending destination will be gone." Sympathetic eyes watched different emotions running over the teen's face.
"If I give it, and go to this ending destination you keep talking about, will you let me off the train afterward?"
The conductor huffed. "I will personally kick you out if you won't leave. This train isn't meant for travelers to stay on!" He threw his hands melodramatically in the air. "Imagine!" Muttering things, he held his hand out again, raising one eyebrow.
Danny grumbled and placed the ticket in the man's waiting hand. "I swear, if this is some sick joke then I'll-"
"Yeah, yeah, here come the loose threats again. You can't hurt me kid, not in my domain. Not on my train." He tssk-ed twice and pulled Danny's ticket through a small machine, which, Danny had decided, came out of nowhere. It beeped.
Suddenly, the man looked up. He grinned. "It's time, kid. I advice to you sit down and relax. Just watch the landscape or something." He waved towards the window and walked away.
"Wait! I still want to know how..." Danny trailed off, and watched the man ignore him while walking away.
"Geez, he doesn't have to be so rude suddenly." Still standing in the middle of the train car, he looked at the blue seat he had woken up on. He sighed. He'd just get to the ending destination and get over with it. Sitting down, he watched the ghosts on the platform. It was still as busy as before. He let one elbow rest on the small window-still, so that he could rest his head on his hand.
Abruptly, the train started whirring and began moving.
Blue eyes watched in fascination at the landscape that began to unfold itself. It was different than he was used to seeing in the Ghost Zone. The waiting platform disappeared and bright light invaded his vision. He blinked a few times, trying to get the blur that followed the light away. When his vision cleared, he saw infinite meadows of different kind of flowers. Purple, orange, red, and blues filled the landscape. He gazed in amazement.
He smiled softly and leaned back in his seat.
Blue eyes sparkled with amazement as they slowly changed to green.
The train stopped. The boy frowned. Was he there already? He gazed outside. He then smiled. Yes. He was there.
The conductor gave the boy – more of a ghost now – a sad smile as he watched the young ghost float outside. The ghost boy looked around. Wonder glimmered in glowing eyes.
He had reached his destination.
One out of four plot bunnies done...
This was not proof read, will do so later. It's too late now. Meh.
Also, this was inspired by my train ride on Saturday, had a great day of ice skating, and a tiiiinyyy bit from "Last Ride of the Day" by Nightwish.