's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"Everyday Encounters"

Submitted by Nicolai

Iím outside to do the midweek shopping. Itís a fairly decent afternoon, after local standards, I only have to wear a jacket to keep warm and the sky is more blue than grey. On the way to my local store I pass the old rusty railway line. We hardly get much traffic these days, but itís a remainder from our days as frontiers. I get lost in my trail of thought and am quickly brought back to the reality by the loud ringing of the roadside bell. Apparently weíll have a train coming. The gates glide down, to keep the average dare devil or busy body off the tracks. I have plenty of time. Getting a few extra gulps of fresh air and earfuls of bird chirping doesnít hurt anyone. Or then againÖ I wonder if you could weaponize bird chirps or air. Actually air can be pretty lethal when sped up!

Luckily, my thoughts are once again abrupt by a pimple on the soundscape. From what I can make out of the rugged dark speck on the horizon and, more than anything else, the racket of this prehistoric fossil engine. The train I and a small crowd by now, have been waiting for should be passing anytime. It gets slightly larger, which doesnít do its shape or sound any favors.

Actually, the damn thing seems to be louder than anything around here.

I pass a joke about the state of our countries rail-way services to the person besides me, whom I have until now shared a great relationship of trying to ignore each other with. He just gives me that look. I guess that is as close as weíll get. But the overpowering roar of the train continues rising, there is no-longer any birds or murmuring. I catch myself clenching my fist until it turns white, in an attempt to focus on something else. At this point it is all there is within my head: the sound of the wheels punish the old rails. And then it hits me.

Itís only going to get louder.

I want to move away, I donít care about shopping anymore. But Iím just standing there fixated by the approach of this heaving and bellowing monstrosity. The scream of metal against metal grows louder and louder. I can feel myself trembling, hands clasping my ears. I grimace as try to muster all the power within me to distract myself from this sensation. There I stand rigid, teeth and eyes forced as shut as possible in a sea of people, unnoticing, uncaring and unhelping. As the train is only meters away I fall to my knees, my trembling legs unable to support my weight anymore. I open my mouth to let out scream only to be drowned in the tsunami of noise.

Then itís over. It has passed, the noise is getting weaker. The gates open again and people cross the railway. Iím left on my knees, breathing heavily, terrified by the thought of what an everyday encounter has done to me.