The Ghost Train

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The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 2 months ago

It's just about three weeks now until Halloween. Soon the ghosts and goblins will come out to play for one night and school age kids will knock on doors demanding "Trick or Treat!" So it's time for me to write another Halloween story. Only this time, the backstory won't be fiction!

I was born and grew up in the borough of Brooklyn, in the City of New York. When I was in Junior High School, I was given a subway pass to get to school instead of being provided with a school bus. So every day I joined the crowd of rush hour commuters riding the train. Sometimes I rode to school with my father. Of course I only had to take it two stops, while my dad continued on into Manhattan.

When ever my family went into 'the city' to go to a play on Broadway, or a show at the Radio City Music Hall, we never drove into Manhattan, we took the subway. I remember switching trains to get to the World's Fair, and Shea Stadium. I quickly became a real subway buff. I joined a 'subway club' in college, our group went on several rail fan tours riding the TA's museum trains though abandoned stations. I also bought many books on the history of the New York subway.

The day after Halloween back in 1918 was a dark day in the history of New York, and in particular the BRT branch of the subway system. Back then the BRT (Brooklyn - Rapid Transit) was an independent company, as was the IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit). The city did not yet own the subway, rather it regulated the operation of the two private companies that ran it. The union for the train operators of the BRT called a strike on the day after Halloween in 1918 after contract negotiations broke down. The BRT tried to break the strike by putting non union workers and supervisors to work operating the trains. Some of the workers charged with motormen duties had little training in operating a train. This was the direct cause of what happened.

A Brighton Local-Express train coming from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge onto the Elevated tracks took a sharp double S curve through the tunnel leading into the Malborn Street station too fast and derailed. Ninety Seven people died in the crash. So horrible was the wreck, that both the street, and the station were renamed. This year is the 100th anniversary of that accident. Late at night, some people riding the Franklin Avenue shuttle, the same line where the fatal train originated its journey, claim they see the ghost of that train on those tracks, as Black Jack and Pinoko will soon discover....... (As will you, dear readers.....)
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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 2 months ago

The JAL flight from Tokyo to New York's JFK airport was nearly full, but even so it had been possible for Black Jack and Pinoko to get seats together in first class. Pinoko had been pouting and in a sour mood for most of the flight. The doctor finally broke down and asked her what was going on.

“Couldn't we have left a day later?” she finally asked. “I missed Hosuke's Halloween party.”

“So that's what this was all about,” the doctor said. “I'm sorry Pinoko, but our patient couldn't have waited. That's why we had to hurry up and pack to grab the first direct flight to New York.”

“Yes I know,” Pinoko sighed. “Hippocratic oath and all that.” Suddenly a new thought crossed her mind. “Will it still be Halloween in New York when we get there?”, she hopefully asked.

“No, it doesn't quite work that way,” Black Jack replied. “It will actually be evening the day after Halloween when we land in New York.”

“Rats!”, she pouted.

“Did you really want to go to some haunted house and get scared out of your mind?”, the doctor laughed.

“It would have been fun!”, she replied back.

“Yeah, I'm sure,” the doctor smirked.
Pinoko turned away and just read her manga books for the rest of the flight.



Black Jack grabbed the last of his checked luggage from the conveyor belt. Pinoko was still peering into the opening of the tunnel in the wall of the terminal building, trying to see what suitcases were about to emerge onto the moving belt.

“Where is my pink suitcase!” she demanded.

“It should be coming soon,” the doctor told her. We checked all of our bags together, and that is the only one left.”

“They better not have lost it!”, Pinoko growled.

Suddenly, a large bright pink travel bag, covered with 'Hello Kitty' stickers, emerged from the gloom. “There it is!”, she happily cried out, reaching for the handle of the suitcase to pull it off of the conveyor belt.

“Careful Pinoko,” Black Jack warned her, too late.

The large, overweight suitcase pulled Pinoko onto the baggage carousel, like a huge fish caught by a midget angler. She landed head first onto the moving belt, and was quickly sandwiched between a large duffel bag and a tuba case. “Help, Sensei!”, she cried out in panic.

Before the doctor could make it to Pinoko's aid, a burly Red Cap pulled the hapless child off of the luggage belt with one hand, and grabbed her pink suitcase with the other. “My, that bag is bigger and heavier than you, child!” the uniformed gentleman laughed in a thick Harlem accent. He noticed the doctor standing next to two other suitcases, and pushed a long flatbed cart towards him. “I think you two could use my help,” he smiled.

“Yes, thank you,” the doctor nodded. The Red Cap quickly loaded the cart with the doctor's and Pinoko's luggage, and then sat who he thought was a young girl on top of one of the suitcases.

“I'll help you two out of the terminal,” he said in a kind voice.

The uniformed terminal agent wheeled the luggage cart out of the terminal building and stopped between a taxi stand and the elevator leading up to the Air Train. “Where you headed?” he asked.

“I need to get to Coney Island Hospital,” Black Jack replied. “I'm needed to perform surgery on a patient. Can you summon me a taxi?”

“No can do,” the Red Cap said in an apologetic voice. “Seems all of New York's taxi fleet is on strike. They've been involved in a big law suit with the city against Uber, and it didn't go their way. So now they've got this big protest going, and they've been blocking the airport livery entrances to keep all private car services out of the airport. City can't stop them, they've got some judge to sign a permit order for their protest demonstration. You'll have to take the Air Train out of JFK, and try and call car service or Uber elsewhere, or use the subway.”

The doctor sighed, and thought for a moment. “Well I've heard that New York has one of the best subways in the world,” he said. “Can we get to our destination that way?”

“Sure can,” the agent said proudly. “But you'll have to change trains a bit. Take the Air Train to the Howard Beach stop and then transfer to the “A” train. You then take that to the Franklin Avenue stop and grab the shuttle train. That will get you to the Q train south bound to Coney Island. The Ocean Parkway station is about a mile from the hospital, but it's a pleasant walk along a nice tree lined avenue.”

“Sounds simple enough,” the doctor agreed, handing the man a ten dollar tip.


Once upstairs on the Air Train platform, the doctor strapped the handles of his two suitcases together, and then added Pinoko's over stuffed Hello Kitty bag to the group. Thanks to the casters on them, he was able to push the three suitcases along, while Pinoko managed with just her small carry on. The doctor looked along the track and could see a train approaching the station. In the distance, the sun was just beginning to approach the horizon. It would be dark soon enough.

The Air Train made several stops at a few other terminals before leaving the JFK airport, and then arrived at the Howard Beach station. The doctor and Pinoko took an elevator down to the transfer tunnel that led them to the subway station. Black Jack purchased a subway fare card and added $20 worth of credit to pay for the ride. He swiped the card into the turnstile once for Pinoko and again for himself. It was a hassle getting their luggage through the subway entrance, but soon they found themselves on the Brooklyn bound train.

The train wasn't too crowded, but they could see that that the subway cars on the other side of the tracks were packed with people. “Looks like the rush hour crowd is heading the other way,” the doctor smiled to Pinoko.

“Yeah, I guess so,” she sighed.
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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 2 months ago

Before they knew it, the conductor's voice sounded in a loud and crackly voice from the PA system. “Next stop is Franklin Ave. Change here for the shuttle to the Q line for Coney Island!”

“That's our stop,” the doctor told Pinoko as the trains brakes squealed. He tapped Pinoko on the shoulder, and the two of them made their way towards the door.

They exited the train and followed the signs leading towards an escalator out of the subway and onto a bridge that leaped over the avenue, this led to yet another escalator leading downwards. With some difficulty they managed to get their baggage on the escalators with them, and arrive on the platform where the shuttle trains stopped. By now the sun had set, and a deep purple twilight sky appeared above them. The night air was much cooler, and a slight mist swirled about.

The single track station was built in the remains of a larger two track line that no longer existed. In the distance, the right of way disappeared into the mist. If you looked hard enough, you could just make out where the old roadbed for the ancient tracks had once been.

“It's spooky,” Pinoko cried.

“It gets like that sometimes,” a stranger laughed. “This station is the end of the line now, but a century ago the rails continued that way,” he said, pointing into the gloom towards the north. “The line connected with the old El, and went into Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. But that was before what happened at Malbone Street.”

“What happened at Malbone Street?” Pinoko asked, noticing that the doctor had walked a few feet away to get something from the nearby vending machines.

“It was exactly a century ago this night,” the stranger said, “on what is now the last stop on this train. There was a strike by the BRT workers and the company tried to break that strike by using supervisors and non union workers to run the trains. There was a very tired and incompetent motorman at the charge of an El train coming down the Brooklyn Bridge heading towards the Brighton line. He took the sharp curve into the Malbone Street station too fast and there was a horrible crash. Nearly a hundred passengers were killed, and many more were injured. Some people say that on nights like this when a misty fog covers the tracks, you can see the ghost train from the Malbone Street wreck riding these rails.”

“Like tonight?”, Pinoko asked with a shake in her voice.

“Especially like tonight,” the stranger said over his shoulder as he disappeared into the crowd waiting for the next train.

“Who was that?”, Black Jack asked as he walked back to where Pinoko was standing while holding a bag of chocolates, and a newspaper.

“Some creepy guy telling ghost stories about a train wreck that happened right here, a hundred years ago!”, she answered.
“Well, I guess you got to have your bit of Halloween after all,” the doctor laughed.
“It's not funny!”, she spat back. “We might end up on a ghost train!”


Suddenly a chilling wind blew on them, bringing with it a moist fog that was brightly illuminated by the lamps on the station platform. For an instant the visibility decreased to almost zero as the fog thickened. The sound of steel wheels clicking over the small gaps between the rails of the track and the hum of traction motors in the distance, announced the presence of an arriving train just outside the station.

The fog lifted just a bit, and the color of the lights illuminating the station platform seemed to change from the blue white of florescent lamps to a warmer and dimmer yellow color. Pinoko looked around, and saw that the crowd now waiting for the train appeared to be wearing different clothing than before, dark wool coats, and leather shoes instead of bright colored nylon jackets and Nikes. It was almost as if they had gone back in time a century.

Then the headlamps of a train appeared as it entered the station. It was an old looking train with wooden sided, deck roofed cars, that had open gated ends. Kerosene lantern style headlamps glowed on the front of the lead car, and the interior space was lit by carbon filament lamps. The passengers standing close to the edge of the platform quickly jumped back as the train roared into the station at high speed, overshooting the end of the platform. After braking hard to a stop, the engineer sheepishly backed the five car train correctly into the station.

Black Jack grabbed the handle of his lead suitcase and pulled the group of bags towards an open door of the train. Pinoko followed him inside, and the two of them managed to find seating on a worn wicker bench in the last car of the train. A man holding a newspaper grabbed onto a leather strap attached to the ceiling of the car, and stood in front of them. Pinoko looked up at the newspaper he was reading and spied the date printed on the top of the first page, November 1, 1918.

“Sensei!” she cried out. “Some thing's not right!”
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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 2 months ago

“What's wrong, Pinoko?”, Dr. Black Jack asked.

Pinoko turned to look at the doctor. He was still dressed in his usual top coat, opened to reveal his ribbon tie. Upon hearing Sensei's voice, the eerie interior of the ancient El car vanished, and was replaced by a more modern stainless steel one with hard metal benches and bright lighting.

“We were on the ghost train!”, she stammered.

“I think you've let that stranger's ghost story get into your head, perhaps.” the doctor suggested.

“Yeah, but it was so real!” Pinoko sighed with relief.

“You just have a very good imagination,” Black Jack laughed. “Want some chocolates?”

“Yes,” she smiled, grabbing the bag of M&M's out of the doctor's hands.


“Ding Dong!” The doors of the train closed after the electronic warning chimes sounded, and the train gave a slight lurch as the traction motors engaged. The four car unit slid southwards on the tracks as it left the station. There was a clicking sound as the wheels rolled over a switch that split the single track into two. Through the windows, they could see a north bound train on the other track that had been waiting for their's to pass so it could pull into the Franklin Avenue station.

Pinoco turned to look at the doctor, who now had his face buried in his copy of the New York Post. Her eyes caught a headline on the bottom of the first page, whose story continued somewhere in the middle of the paper, '100th Anniversary of New York's worst Subway Crash'. “Sensi!”, she cried out, “That's what that creepy man was talking about!”

The doctor lowered the newspaper to look at Pinoco. “What?”

“That!”, she yelled, pointing at the newspaper headline.

The doctor quickly skimmed through the story. “No wonder you got so upset. You don't really believe in ghosts do you?”

“But today is the day after Halloween!”, she said.

The doctor shrugged his shoulders and continued to read the paper.


The train lurched ahead, wheels squealing. The lights went out in the car ahead of theirs, and then went out in the one they were sitting too, as the train crossed over a short section of track where the third rail switched from one side of the train to the other. When the lights came back on again, they were the soft yellow of the carbon filament bulbs, and the interior had reverted back to that of the old wooden El car. Once again the wheels squealed as the brakes were heavily applied. The train came to a rather abrupt stop at the next station, which was dimly lit. Pinoko could barely make out the station sign though the window, 'Dean Street'. The doors opened, and some of the passengers rushed to get off the train.

“Sensei!, I'm scared!”, Pinoco cried, jamming her elbow in the doctor's side. As the train jumped forward to leave the station the lights again blinked. The doctor lowered his newspaper and looked around. The bright white glow and modern metal interior of the car had returned. “What's the matter now, Pinoco?”

“You didn't notice?”, she insisted. “We'd gone back in time twice now, to 1918 aboard the ghost train!”

“Your imagination is just too much,” the doctor sighed, as he turned a page in his newspaper and continued to read it, ignoring his assistant.

Pinoco crossed her arms and pouted. She hadn't just imagined their being in a ghost train, had she? The train descended from its elevated right of way, downwards into the open cut. As it took the grade, the train speed up, and the clicking of the wheels over the small gaps between the sections of rail came faster and faster. Once again, the lights blinked out as they passed over a dead section of track where the third rail shifted. Again the brakes were again heavily applied as the train entered the next station too fast. The lights came on, again the soft yellow of the Edison era lamps. The passengers were jolted forward out of their seats as the train stopped hard, overshooting the Park Place station. This time when the doors opened even more people hurried to leave the train, like rats leaving a sinking ship. Pinoco shivered in fear with her eyes tightly closed as the train again left the station. She burst into tears, and cried loudly, until Black Jack pulled her close and hugged her.

“Do your really see us in the 1918 train?”, the doctor asked softly.

Pinoko slowly opened her eyes to see the doctor's face, lit by the bright white lights of the stainless steel subway car. “Yes, but we're back to normal now,” she sobbed.

“Sit close to me if that comforts you,” the doctor sighed. “We only have two more stops until we get off. Then it will be a straight shot down the main line to our destination.”

“Good!”, Pinoko said clenching her teeth. “I don't like this train!”


“Ding Dong!” The electronic warning chimes again sounded as the doors shut. The shuttle slowly inched out of the station, gently accelerating. “See, just your imagination,” the doctor said softly, as Pinoco lay her head in the doctors lap.

The lights blinked again, and the shuttle accelerated rapidly. The lights came back on yellow, as the brakes squealed. The motorman seemed to have given up even trying to stop as they blew past the Botanic Gardens station (though Pinoko could see the sign 'Comsumer's Park' on the platform sign out of the corner of her eye). Again she moaned in fear as the sound of the steel wheels against the steel rails grew louder and more mournful. They could hear the sound of the brakes being applied to their fullest in a vain attempt to slow the now out of control train. A loud explosion like sound from the front of the train echoed though the tunnel, followed by that of splintering wood, and the screams of terrified passengers. The lights in the train went out, and the tunnel was lit by the eerie blue light of the third rail shorting out against the undercarriage of the cars ahead of them. The carnage in the tunnel seemed to go on forever. Passengers were thrown out of their seats to the floor, as the car they were in finally came to a halt. Now it was quiet, except for the moans of the injured lying in the gloom.


Black Jack felt around in the darkness. His left hand found Pinoko lying on the floor next to him, while his right hand located the leather strap of his medical suitcase. “Are you OK, Pinoko?” he asked in a concerned voice.

“I think so,” she moaned. “Where are we?”

The doctor rolled over from his face down position, and sat next to Pinoko. His fingers located the latch on the bag, and he opened it and felt inside. He removed a flashlight and switched it on. The torch revealed their surroundings. Pinoko had a small bump on her forehead which she was gently rubbing. The doctor scanned the torch's light around him to see his fellow passengers slowly trying to get up from the various positions they had been tossed into. At once he noticed that the car they were now sitting in was not the stainless steel shuttle train, but that of an ancient wooden El car. The passengers were dressed in fashions from a century past. “Looks like you were right, Pinoko,” he said. “Can you get up?”

The doctor got to his feet, and then helped Pinoko to hers.
“Let's get out of here,” Black Jack told her. He retrieved his medical suitcase, leaving their other bags behind. They slowly made their way to the front of the car, carefully stepping around their fellow passengers. The doctor stopped every few feet to look around, but it seemed that all of the injuries in their car were just minor bruises. No one in the last car had been seriously hurt.
They made their way through the front door of the car and looked ahead. The doctor's flashlight revealed that their car had become disconnected from the rest of the train ahead of them, and had come to a stop about twenty feet behind the fourth car. The doctor descended the front stairs of the car, and jumped from the last step to the track bed below. He held up his arms to catch Pinoko as she stepped from the car and then lowered her down.

“Be careful walking down the track, Pinoko,” he said. “Keep clear of the third rail, if the power is on it will be dangerous!”

Ahead of them, the fourth car sat low in the tunnel after its wheels had jumped clear of the tracks. The left side of the car was further from the tunnel wall than the right, so they made their way towards the stairs on that side of the car.

“Keep your feet on the main rails,” the doctor instructed Pinoko, they are grounded and should be safe to touch. Don't go near that one,” he pointed towards the heavier, current carrying rail that sat on top of insulated blocks.

They entered the rear of the fourth car.
“Help us!” “We need a doctor!” All around them the doctor's torch revealed the passengers that had been tossed about as the train had left the rails and slammed into the right side of the tunnel. Wood splinters from the collision had speared some of the riders.

“Looks like we have work to do Pinoko!,” the doctor said, as he opened his medical luggage case.
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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 2 months ago

The fourth car had been through a much more violent ride than the fifth car, which detached itself from the train before attempting to negotiate the sharp S turn in the tunnel. The fourth car had been yanked off the rails by the car in front of it, and slammed into the right hand wall of the tunnel. The impact demolished the front of the car and sent wooden slivers flying into its rear section. Some of the passengers were hit by this shrapnel, which accounted for the blood pooling on the floor of the train. The rest of the injuries were caused by bodily impact with the floor and walls of the car, as the occupants were thrown about in the crash.

The doctor worked quickly using makeshift tourniquets to control the worst of the bleeding. He set several broken arms and legs making splints from broken wood from the shattered front of the car body. He only treated the most seriously injured of the passengers, bypassing those whose wounds were either minor, or most likely fatal.

They made their way towards the front of the car to find there was no way out via the front door because of the damage to that part of the carriage. The doctor then smashed out a side window that had already been damaged enough to practically fall out on its own. He managed to lower his medical suitcase out of the car onto the roadbed below, and then he climbed out. Pinoko crawled out the window into Black Jack's arms.

“Follow me, carefully!” the doctor ordered. They inched their way around the fourth car, towards the third. This part of the train was even more heavily damaged. The third car had slammed into the second, and the two of them seemed to be fused together, filling the tunnel with debris. The doctor and Pinoko carefully climbed over the pile of wood that had once been an El railway car, and slowly made their way forward. Black Jack scanned his flashlight back and forth, looking for bodies. Most of the passengers were buried under the wreckage. They would stop here and their to check for a pulse, or a sign of breath, but many of the occupants of the third car were too badly injured to help. They did manage to pull some of the luckier ones out from under the debris, and some others had begun to free themselves.

“Give us a hand!” the doctor asked of a gentleman who was walking past in the tunnel. The man's face and hands were covered with lacerations, but his loss of blood was minor, and his wounds mostly superficial. Black Jack retrieved a flashlight from his medical bag which he handed to the gentleman. who at the doctor's instruction, treated some of the broken bones and bleeding while Black Jack sutured the wounds of others.


It had now been some twenty minutes since the crash The doctor and Pinoko had traversed their way through the wreckage of the third and second cars which had been fused together in the impact. The top of the second car had been decapitated at the floor line as this carriage had hit the roof of the tunnel when its wheels had jumped the track while trying to negotiate the S turn at high speed. In addition, the car had jackknifed almost sideways in the tunnel before being rammed by the third car.

They then came upon the rear of the first car. Its front wheels remained on the track, while the rear ones had derailed. The rear of this car had hit the right hand wall of the tunnel. As the doctor and Pinoko climbed into the front car, they could make out other passengers who had made their way forward ahead of them, and were now attempting to escape down the tunnel towards the Malbone Street station.

Suddenly the lights in the tunnel ahead of them came on, and the tunnel behind them was lit by an intense blue color. The third rail that had been shorted out in the crash had become live again, and giant sparks flew down the length of the tunnel. Ahead of them the doctor spotted a man lying face down in the space between the rails, his body convulsing violently. Black Jack quickly grabbed a plank of wood that was torn from the floor of the train in the collision, and ran towards the man. He used the wood to push the victim from the third rail, and then tossed it aside.

Irving Melton walked back into the tunnel from the Malbone Street station. He'd been carrying wounded passengers with broken limbs down the short stretch of the tunnel, helping the police rescue those injured in the train. Irving had been seated in the very front of the doomed train, right next to the motorman's cab. Neither of them had been injured, just badly shaken about. Now making his way back to the train, carrying a lantern given to him by one of the cops, he came upon a man lying in the roadbed with another kneeling next to him.

“What are you doing?” he asked the Asian man with a head of black and white hair, who was pumping on the chest of the victim with a double fist.

“You!”, the doctor yelled at Melton, “What's your name? Do exactly what I'm doing so I can prepare an injection.”

“It's Irving, Irving Melton,” Irving answered. “Show me what to do.”

At the doctor's instruction, Melton knelled down on the trackbed and placed the palm of his left hand over the mans heart, and used his right hand to push down on the left. “Like this?” he asked.

“Good!” Black Jack replied. “Keep it going, you're doing the work of his heart!”

Pinoko had already retrieved a syringe and a stoppered bottle from the doctor's bag, which she handed to him. The doctor quickly filled the syringe with epinephrine, and attached a long needle. He motioned for Melton to pause, and then he jabbed the injection home.

“What did you do?” Melton demanded. “Are you a doctor?”

“You could say that,” the doctor quickly explained. “I just injected him with epinephrine directly into his heart, he was just electrocuted by coming in contact with the third rail. I pulled him free with a plank of wood. Let's hope this works.”

As Irving continued the CPR as the doctor had shown him, Black Jack felt for a pulse. Suddenly, the man lying face up between the rails coughed. “You did it!” Melton cried out.

“I got lucky this time,” Black Jack nodded. “Normally a jolt of electricity at that voltage should be fatal.”

“Help me move him out of the tunnel,” Irving said.

The two of were about to pick up the semi-conscious victim, to carry him down the length of the tunnel, when a man wearing a motorman's uniform staggered past them. He was holding the brake and motor handles from the train in his fists with a death grip. “I'm sorry!, It wasn't my fault! The brakes failed!”, he kept repeating over and over.

As they neared the mouth of the tunnel where the tracks entered the Malbone Street station, a policemen met up with them.

“Officer,” Black Jack blurted out, “Someone needs to get the power to the tracks shut off. There are people still in the tunnel trying to escape from the wreck, and they are being electrocuted. I was barely able to resuscitate this poor person.”

“Right!,” the cop agreed. “I'll get word to the BRT right away.”

“I need to go back in the tunnel and see who else I can help,” the doctor told the cop.

“No,” the officer held up his hand to block the doctor. “We've got more police going in there now to remove the accident victims from the train. What we don't have are any doctors to treat them, and I see that you are one. Please remain here in the station, we'll bring your patients to you. My men are trained in first aid, they can apply tourniquets if necessary.”

“Very well,” Black Jack replied. Just then, several Brooklyn police officers emerged from the tunnel carrying more victims, several who were unconscious. “As I was saying....”, the cop voiced.

The doctor and Pinoko spent the next several hours treating those that had been pulled from the wrecked train. While Black Jack was stitching up the wounds of one woman, he looked behind him to see a man in a suit standing next to a reporter and a photographer from the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper.

“Don't mind us, just keep on working,” the man in the suit said. “I'm John Hyland, Mayor of this city. I got here as soon as I could, once I heard about the accident. My office intends to find the cause of this and see that the responsible parties are punished. I'd also like to thank you for your help. I assume you're not from these parts.”

“If you don't mind, your honor,” the doctor voiced, “I could use you out of my light.”

“Yes, of course,” the mayor replied stepping back. The doctor turned about just long enough for the newspaperman holding the camera to flash a picture of him and Pinoko stitching up the last of the woman's wounds. “You can take her off to hospital now,” the doctor motioned to one of the policemen.

“Pinoko and I arrived here from Japan to treat a patient in Coney Island,” the doctor said, carefully choosing his words. “Fortunately, we were in the last car of the train which was unscathed in the accident.”

“Lucky for all of us,” the mayor replied.
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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 1 month ago

Dr. Black Jack finished treating the last victim pulled from the tunnel and breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long night, and exhaustion had started to set in. Pinoko already succumbed to sleep, and she lay on a station bench, snoring.
“How many?”, the doctor asked the mayor who had never left the station platform.

“The police have set up a makeshift morgue in the lobby of Ebbet's field,” he said. “At last count there were 97 bodies.”

“Horrible,” the doctor replied. “Back home, JNR would never allow untrained engineers to captain a train, even to break a strike. Then again, the railroad workers would probably think it was against their honor to strand their passengers by resorting to such a labor action.”

“I guess things are different in your country,” the mayor voiced. “I think I'd like to visit Japan some day. Perhaps I could learn something.”

“You know the motorman of that train ran past me earlier,” the doctor continued. “He seemed to be in shock, and didn't realize that he was still gripping the control handles from the train as he wandered past me. It's my opinion that he had been forced into operating the train without the necessary instruction. Don't blame him for this, he's suffered enough.”

“You're probably right, doctor,” the mayor nodded. “My office's investigation of this tragedy will concentrate on the management of the BRT.”
The mayor looked around. “It seems to have suddenly become deathly quiet here. The police have sealed off the area. I guess we'll have to get a taxi to take you to your destination, Coney Island, right?”

“Yes,” the doctor sighed. “Would it be all right if Pinoko and I just sat here for a bit. I don't want to risk waking her quite yet.”

“Sure,” the mayor nodded. “I'll have a cab waiting for you up on the street level. You can leave the station when you're ready.”

The doctor sat down on the bench next to Pinoko, who was sound asleep. He closed his eyes and leaned back to nod off himself.


The sound of an air horn startled the doctor awake. He rubbed his eyes as a Q train roared into the south bound express track of the station. “Wake up Pinoko!”, he yelled as he shook the sleeping girl, “Here's our train!”

Pinoko grabbed her small carry on bag, and the doctor pulled the three connected suitcases along with him. They managed to board the Coney Island bound train just before the warning bells chimed. “Ding Dong!”
The train doors closed behind them and it slowly accelerated out of the station. Pinoko spotted two seats next to a window facing the front of the train, and she grabbed the doctor's hand and pulled him towards them. They sat down and relaxed.
“Where are we now, Sensei?” Pinoko asked.

“Finally on our way to Coney Island,” the doctor sighed. He looked at his watch and scratched his head. “I must have lost track of the time,” he muttered.

“Why, Sensei?”, Pinoko asked.

“It felt like we were at the Melbone Street station for several hours, but according to my watch, it was less than fifteen minutes.”

“Don't you mean the Prospect Park station?”, Pinoko asked. “That was the name on the sign, I saw it out the window as this train left.”

“Yes, that's what I meant to say,” Black Jack agreed. “I must have been more tired than I thought. I think I fell asleep with you on that station bench waiting for this train and had such a crazy dream.”

“So did I,” Pinoko said. “I don't ever want to hear any more ghost stories, they give me nightmares!”


They sat quietly during the rest of the ride. The train pulled out of the Brighton Beach station, and the announcement over the PA informed them that the next stop would be Ocean Parkway.

“That's our stop, Pinoko,” the doctor sighed. They walked towards one of the middle doors of the car and watched through its windows as the station slowly slid by as the train arrived. The doors opened up and they got out. The doctor looked at the expanse of stairs heading down to the street and complained. “There doesn't seem to be an escalator or an elevator at this station. We're going to have to be careful getting our bags to the street level.”

“Acchonburike!”, Pinoko burst out. “What a pain!”

The night air was cool with a moist, salty smell from the ocean. Dr. Black Jack and Pinoko walked along the pedestrian promenade between the inner six lanes of Ocean Parkway and the north bound service road. They passed by the tall towers of the apartment houses to the west, and an Orthodox Synagogue to the east. Just before reaching the belt parkway overpass, they walked by Abraham Lincoln High School to their left, and could see their destination ahead of them, the Coney Island Hospital was just beyond the highway.

They entered the hospital, and walked up to the front desk just past the main entrance.
The doctor showed his ID to the receptionist. “I'm Dr. Black Jack, a Dr. Redner is expecting me.”

The woman behind the counter looked at the doctors drivers license. “I can't read the Japanese, but I can see from your photo that's you,” she giggled, as she typed something on a computer terminal. “I hope you had a good flight. Did you have any problem getting a taxi?”

“They were on strike, so we took the subway,” the doctor said shrugging his shoulders.

The doors of one of the elevators opened and a young man wearing surgical greens rushed out. “Black Jack, Sensei!”, he cried out in greeting. “I'm so glad you could make it. You're just in time, the patient is crashing and we had to rush him to surgery!”

“Let's get to it then,” the doctor replied.

“Leave your luggage at the desk,” doctor Redner suggested, “and follow me!”

Black Jack took his medical bag with him into the elevator, followed by Pinoko. They were rushed up to the fourth floor O.R. where their patient had already been prepped for surgery and was under anesthesia. The doctor and Pinoko donned their greens and scrubbed in.

“Do you require me to assist?”, Dr. Redner asked.

“I usually work alone, with my assistant,” Black Jack spat back, “but you may of course observe.”

Dr. Redner and the staff of nurses gawked in amazement at the speed and precision of their guest surgeon. Black Jack quickly located the tumor and removed it. He then repaired the affected organs, and neatly closed the incisions.

“You're right,” Black Jack sighed as he removed his gloves and cap. “Less than an hour later and we would have lost him.”

“I'm envious of your skills,” Dr. Redner said bowing. “Arigatōgozaimashita.”

“I don't need any thanks, just pay my fee,” the doctor replied.

“It's already been transferred to your bank account, as you instructed,” Redner replied.

“Excellent,” Black Jack nodded. “Now I think Pinoko and I need to crash for a few hours.”

Dr. Redner led the doctor and Pinoko to a doctor's lounge area. There were some sandwiches and cold drinks set out on a serving table, and a few cots were located along the walls. Pinoko jumped onto one of the cots and closed her eyes. The doctor sat down in a large comfy arm chair located between two of the cots. He noticed a newspaper lying on the floor and picked it up. The paper was open to an article on the subway crash that occurred a century ago.

“So, that dream of mine was really a historical event,” he laughed, showing Dr. Redner the paper.

“Yes, my great grandfather once told me about it,” he said, “Great grandfather was on that train in the first car when the accident occurred. He told me that he had helped a Japanese doctor treat an electrocution victim that night.”

“Really?”, Black Jack questioned, raising an eyebrow. “What was his name?”

“Irving,” Dr. Redner replied as he walked out of the lounge, “Irving Melton.”

“That can't be!”, Black Jack gasped, as he quickly scanned through the newspaper story. He noticed several black and white photographs that had been taken at the time of the crash, probably reprinted from old newspaper archives. The last of these images showed an Asian man with two toned hair wearing a top coat and a ribbon tie, and a young girl who was assisting him. The pair were treating victims of the accident. The doctor recognized himself and Pinoko in the photo.
“It wasn't a dream?”, the doctor gasped out loud.

“What wasn't a dream?”, Pinoko asked, now looking over the doctor's shoulder. She spied the photo in the newspaper. “Acchonburike!”, she yelled at the top of her lungs.

“I think we'd better keep this to ourselves,” the doctor told Pinoko as he folded the newspaper and slipped it into his coat pocket. “No one would ever believe us!”

“Happy Halloween!”, Pinoko voiced.

The End
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:tenma: I'm on Fanfiction.net as Tetsuwan Penguin. Please check out some of the other stories I've written! ;)

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Re: The Ghost Train

Postby Tetsuwan Penguin » 1 month ago

I hope you enjoyed my early 'trick or treat'. As I said in the introduction, the Malbone Street wreck really happened. Today Malbone Street no longer exists under that name, it's now called 'Empire Blvd', and the station is the Prospect Park stop on the Brighton line. The Consumers Park stop mentioned in the story now bears the sign 'Botanical Gardens', and the Dean Street station has been eliminated. The short section of track from Franklin Avenue to Prospect park is now just a shuttle connecting the Brooklyn leg of the 8th Avenue subway ('A' train) with the B and Q trains of the Brighton line that goes into Queens or upper Manhattan on the 6th Avenue route.

I garnered historical details from several books, "Uptown Downtown, A Trip Through Time on New York's Subways" by Stan Fischler, and "Under the Sidewalks of New York, the story of the greatest subway system in the world" by Brian J. Cudahy. The same author covers the subject in more detail in his book "The Malbone Street Wreck".

The real life person of Irving Melton appears in my story, as a survivor of the accident who ends up assisting Dr. Black Jack, and I used the name of my family Pediatrician, Dr. Redner, who treated me as a child as well. RIP Dr. Redner.
[sigpic][/sigpic]Image



:tenma: I'm on Fanfiction.net as Tetsuwan Penguin. Please check out some of the other stories I've written! ;)

https://www.fanfiction.net/u/4672860/Tetsuwan-Penguin



I can also be found on Deviant Art http://tetsuwanpenguin.deviantart.com/



My home page

http://scharkalvin.weebly.com/about-me.html


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