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THE PHANTOM TRAIN PART 5

Dear Readers and Listeners,


Prabhu is stranded in the middle of railway tracks with a train approaching. Does he stand any chance of surviving? Well, you will find out in this episode of THE PHANTOM TRAIN. I can't thank you enough for your love and support for our creative endeavors. As you may be aware, we shall soon be on Patreon and other forums where you can become our patrons.


My training program, SPOKEN ENGLISH FOR NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS, is quite a hit with learners of all levels. I invite you to join the program if you wish to improve your spoken English skills.


Remember to visit my websites, biswajitbanerjee.com, and obscurus.buzzsprout.com, where you will find all kinds of creatives I produce. Also, do visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel, which is a wholesome package of useful stuff. The channel has OBSCURUS episodes, video and audio trailers of OBSCURUS episodes, spoken English tutorials, self-development videos, documentary films and a lot of legal stuff (after all, I am a jurist as well, apart from being a writer and podcaster!) that may be of interest to you.


Now, let's lift the curtains from over THE PHANTOM TRAIN PART 5. This episode is the penultimate part of the story, and I hope you find it interesting.


With love and warm regards,


Biswajit Banerjee,

Author, Podcaster, Musician, Filmmaker, Academic, Screenwriter and Jurist.


OBSCURUS ARTWORK is representative of a probing mind. It is symbolic of a deep dive into the unknown and the mysterious.
OBSCURUS ARTWORK

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INTRO 00:00:00


Welcome to OBSCURUS, your weekly dose of paranormal fiction. Every Wednesday OBSCURUS features new short stories and serialized novels written by novelist, screenwriter, and voice-over artist Biswajit Banerjee. The realm of the paranormal stretches far beyond the usual horror story. So, while you will get to listen to lots of ghost stories on this podcast, there will also be many tales of lesser-known paranormal themes. To get us started, here's your host Biswajit Banerjee.


HOST TALK 00:00:47


Welcome back to OBSCURUS, where every episode peels back a layer of the unknown. I'm your host, Biswajit Banerjee, guiding you through Part 5 of "The Phantom Train." As Mr. Shekharan's tale takes another mysterious turn, those interested in honing their English skills should join our SPOKEN ENGLISH FOR NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS course. Dive deeper into our series and explore additional content at biswajitbanerjee.com and obscurus.buzzsprout.com. Your support on Patreon and other forums helps us continue exploring these dark tales. Now, let's get back to the shadows of Shyamalpur.


THE PHANTOM TRAIN PART 5 00:01:59


Written and Performed by Biswajit Banerjee


A phantom train can hit material objects, or so some believe. Does it carry ghost passengers? What is the truth?
Is there any truth in the legend of the phantom train?

00:02:23


The electric locomotive with a series of coaches behind it came closer, still closer, and even closer, and then I found it running over me. It was like a storm of metallic wheels and strange machinery. When the storm was over, I was still sitting on the tracks unharmed, or so I felt. With difficulty, I turned my head and watched the train move away from me. All the light and sound disappeared as soon as the train melted into nothingness. The stillness of the night returned as though nothing unusual had happened.


I just witnessed the phantom train! But it could impact material objects just like a real train - at least, that's what I was given to believe by Mr. Kumar and Mr. Singh. How was I alive then? Or was I alive? I looked down to check if my body was lying on the tracks. No, I didn't get to see my corpse. I was still inside my body - I was alive! Why did the ghost train not have an impact on me? I had no idea. But now I knew the legend of the ghost train was true.


The ghost train didn't harm me, but a real train wouldn't be so kind for sure. Although no train usually passed through Pahari Phatak at that hour, a real train might still appear if it was diverted to those tracks the way Himgiri Superfast Express was made to pass through the crossing due to heavy traffic on its usual route the other day.


From my interactions with Mr. Kumar, I knew that two trains did cross Pahari Phatak at the break of dawn. So, although my injuries were severe, I had to make an effort to move to safety. I tried moving my limbs. It seemed they were no longer parts of my body. The pain was growing, and my lower back felt like a bag of powdered bone. No, there was no way I could move to safety.


As I shot out a helpless cry, I spotted a strong light on the tracks again. Yet another train! This was a real one! Even before the image of the monster formed in my eyes, I lost consciousness.


***


00:05:12


When I opened my eyes, I found myself on a bed with a stationary old-styled fan hanging from the ceiling. Someone said excitedly, "Ma'am, he has regained his consciousness. Though my mind was engulfed in a cloud of confusion, I had enough sense to make out that I was in a hospital with doctors paramedics and nurses busy attending to the patients. A young lady in blue with a stethoscope around her neck came over and leaned over my face.


"Can you hear my voice?" She asked.


I couldn't muster enough strength to give a verbal response. So, I nodded.


"Good, I understand you can hear me. Relax, and don't stress yourself. Don't worry, you are fine.


Her words were comforting indeed.


***


00:06:18


The Intensive Care Unit of the little hospital of the township was my home for the next several days.


I had multiple fractures and injuries, but at least I was alive. How I survived the metallic story was beyond my understanding. The lower part of my body was completely wrapped up in plasters, but I was happy to know that my wounds weren't beyond cure. A team of doctors headed by Dr. Pramatesh Sinha was looking after me. The young lady in blue I spotted minutes after I regained my senses was also a part of the team. Her name was Dr. Sanghamitra Kakkar. That such a hospital with the latest medical gadgetry and an efficient team of doctors existed in this little township, which more often than not presented a picture of loneliness and gloom, was hard to believe.


00:07:26


When I was in a position to talk, two police personnel visited me to inquire how my bike hit the rock at Pahari Phatak. I told them I didn't see the rock in the darkness and believed the road was clear. When one of the police officers asked if I was running at a speed higher than the prescribed speed limit at the crossing, I told him that, to the best of my belief, I hadn't sped the bike beyond the limit. I was also careful not to mention the phantom train as I knew that, in all probability, the police officers wouldn't believe me. Even if they did, the law of the land wouldn't place trust in the ghost train. In any case, all my injuries were because of the bike hitting the rock, and the phantom train didn't cause me any injury that night. So, talking about the train made no sense. Though the policemen didn't believe I hadn't exceeded the speed limit, they found no legal provisions to file a case against me.


Fortunately, during my stay, Dr. Kakkar was deployed as one of the principal doctors in the intensive care unit. That the police couldn't level a charge against me didn't just please me; it pleased Dr. Kakkar as well. She often came to see me and sometimes even sat next to my bed, chatting for long stretches of time. Her comforting words were one of the primary reasons for my resolve to overcome the trauma of the mishap.


00:09:14


Whereas I certainly had reasons to be happy for being alive, my mind was still struggling under the weight of three unanswered questions. First, how could I still be breathing after being run over by the phantom train which could hit material objects like any other tangible entity? Second, what was the light I spotted while struggling in the tracks after being run over by the phantom train? Third, how did I reach the hospital?


I didn't have to wait long for the answers to the second and third questions. From the discussions that doctors and paramedics had around me, I could make out that the light I spotted after the ghost train passed over me was the light of a police vehicle. It was a part of the police operations to make sure that law and order prevailed in the little township and that no one was in need of help. When they spotted me lying unconscious at the crossing, they brought me to the emergency of the hospital. Due to my critical condition, the doctors rushed me to the intensive care unit. The authorities learned who I was from the identity card they found in one of my trouser pockets. My colleagues immediately came over to the hospital and completed the hospital formalities. The Indian government covered the medical expenses.


The first question was still unanswered, and I had little hope I would ever get an answer.


00:11:02


After I had recovered quite a bit and the doctors had removed large parts of the plaster from my lower body, Dr. Kakkar came over to chat with me one evening.


"You are much better now, Mr. Shekharan. I am so happy at your speedy recovery."


"It is all because of the team of doctors and you, in particular, Dr. Kakkar. My treatment couldn't have been any better."


"Well, we have just done our duty."


Soon, our exchanges moved from the pleasantries to more relevant subjects.


"Mr. Shekharan, is there something you haven't told us?"


"Sorry, Doctor, I don't quite understand what you want to know."


"I want to know if anything else happened that night other than your bike hitting the large rock."


Her question sent shivers through my spine. How could she sense something other than what I told the police happened that night?


"Like what, Doctor?"


"I don't know. Probably there's something you didn't tell the police. You didn't tell us either."


"Well, Doctor, it was only my hitting the rock that inflicted the injuries."


"Mr. Shekharan, I do understand that only hitting the rock caused the injuries. But you possibly had another experience after you suffered the injuries, something you shared with none of us."


Yet again, I felt shivers in my spine. Did she know about the phantom train?


"Doctor, can you be more specific?"


"Yes, sure, I will be more specific. By any chance, did you see the specter of a train there? I mean, did you see anything like a ghost train on the track you were in?"


Telling lies to her made little sense as her demeanor appeared too sharp to be bluffed.


"Well, Doctor, you are right. I did see something strange on the track. But how do you know about it?"


"Mr. Shekharan, in about two hours or so after the emergency wing sent you to the intensive care unit, you partially regained your consciousness. Your eyes opened partially, and you were muttering strange expressions such as 'The phantom train is coming' and 'Pahari Phatak is haunted.' Though your words were rather muddled, I listened carefully and could make out the expressions you were speaking. Then, you lost your consciousness again. It was only after several hours that you regained your senses."


"Now, I understand. So, you heard me mention the phantom train."


"Please tell me, Mr. Shekharan - did you really see a phantom train there?"


I had no idea why Dr. Kakkar was so interested in learning the truth. The young Doctor, I could easily tell, was convinced I saw something strange on the tracks. Telling her lies would only be an insult to her wisdom. So, I decided to tell her the truth. After a deep breath, I said, "Yes, Doctor, I saw a phantom train there. It ran over me."


"The legend of the phantom train is quite popular with a sizable part of the tribal population in Shyamalpur."


"I saw it, Doctor. You will probably think I hallucinated, but I have no doubt I saw the ghost train."


"Well, traditional medical science would have us believe that you hallucinated, but I am willing to listen to you with an unbiased mind."


"Doctor, may I ask why you are so curious to know if I spotted the ghost train?"


"My interest stems from my deep interest in the unknown. Can you tell me more about the ghost train?"


"Would you want me to tell you everything in detail - right from when I first learned about the phantom train haunting Pahari Phatak to the experience I had that night."


"Yes, Mr. Shekharan, I would like to know everything. Don't worry, what you tell me will be only between the two of us."


"Although there's no secret involved, I would surely appreciate it if you kept all this to yourself."


Dr. Kakkar nodded. "Yes, I will. Go ahead. Tell me everything about the phantom train."


I narrated the entire story to her, beginning with my posting at Shyamalpur and ending with the ghost train running over me.


CONCLUDING REMARKS 00:16:47


Thank you for joining us for this chilling episode of "The Phantom Train." The lines between the tangible and spectral continue to blur for Mr. Shekharan. What will he discover next in this haunted journey? Keep following the series on biswajitbanerjee.com and obscurus.buzzsprout.com. If you appreciate our stories, consider supporting us on Patreon and other forums. Don't forget to check out our SPOKEN ENGLISH FOR NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS program to enhance your language skills. Until next time, keep the mystery alive. Take care, and stay curious.


THEMATIC MUSIC – SIGNS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, AN AI MUSIC COMPOSITION BY BISWAJIT BANERJEE 00:17:37


OUTRO 00:20:28


Thanks for listening to OBSCURUS. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and visit biswajitbanerjee.com for more information about Biswajit's books, movies, documentaries, and other creative pursuits. We shall see you next Wednesday with another episode of OBSCURUS. Till then, take care!

 

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