I wish I could say that the story I am about to tell is about overpriced tickets or the overly common occurrence of delayed trains, but I cannot. This story is instead the horror of my experience on a night train when I was travelling from Budapest to Venice.
Being cheap student travellers, we didn’t pay extra for reserved seats on the train. This was our first mistake. Each vestibule was crammed, spilling human litter out on to the corridor. We joined the sweaty passage of flesh and were stuck to the floor, until a stranger with an Eastern European accent told us he had found some seats at the other end of the train, and told us to follow him. This was our second mistake. As we walked through the corridors they began to empty until they were deserted and consumed by the blackness of the night. He showed us into an empty vestibule and sat with us. He began nonsensically talking like madness possessed him. He noticed how I was beginning to get tired, so he tickled my feet and threw a bottle of water at my face. It was 3 am. I asked him to leave so I could sleep and he reluctantly left, his eyes filled with tears. My sleep was broken, as I was conscious he was stalking our vestibule and did not leave our corridor.
We were not far from our stop so we left our seats and moved to the exit. I felt a presence behind me. I turned around and there was the stranger, shoeless and licking his lips. I was so scared I began to sob. He grabbed me by the arms and told me he loved me and gave me a picture of a little girl drawn in biro. I desperately looked around for another person, but there was no one awake in the travelling prison. He started reaching into his pockets and pulled something out and thrust it towards my neck. I looked down, but there was no weapon, it was a bar of soap. He laughed, and reached again, this time pulling out a cigarette, and lighting it. The smoke irritated my eyes.
The train stopped at our station, and we finally escaped the jaw of the doors. The stranger followed us off and I turned around and looked at him. He said, “Don’t worry I am only a little boy”.