The crowded carriage of acquiescent ‘salary men’ was as it had been on the previous four thousand and eighty days. They sat calm, bland and unobtrusive; it was a routine, predictable, Monday morning commute into Tokyo.
In seat number 11A in carriage number 5 Toshio Iguchi was slowly collapsing. Toshio’s mind was crumbling, he was finally falling down. From inside his head a voice was raging, roaring, yelling at him to leave, to give up, to terminate the fear, end the protracted agony. The deep inner self hatred and the gnawing hurt had finally burst through and Toshio’s mind had begun to eat itself. He was self-destructing and on the way to oblivion.
The sleek Bullet Train was now hitting its top speed, once more the establishment was pulling him in. The corporation sucking him in to central Tokyo for another day of drudgery, of servitude and anguish. Another ten hours of unwarranted iniquitous abuse from his sour, duplicitous, superior; but on this day Toshio snapped. He could not go on; he could not take even one more minute, not one more second of being a hostage to the fraudulent charade. To behave subserviently as if a child to those for whom he held no respect. On this day he could no longer deny his soul its freedom to fly.
The pervasive noises inside his vibrating skull were banging, hammering, screaming through his head. Too much was going on inside his cranium and everything was baying out for his full attention.
His father’s terminal cancer, his disrespectful daughter now coming home so late, if at all. His wife’s perennial disdain, the obscenely expensive house payments, the broken car, and the unendurable office politics.
The inner maelstrom had now taken over Toshio’s cerebral cortex and was seeping through his essence, but it would end soon, it would blow itself out with dramatic rage.
The earthquake and tsunami had never left Toshio’s inner gaze, every blink of his weary eyes threw the nauseating vision back into his head. His twin brother Akira had been washed away in the cold, black, evil slime. His pitiful twin brother pulled forever down into the poisonous whirlpool, sacrificed to a dark acrid watery death. The natural disaster struck on the day that Toshio had promised to join his twin for a rare day of fishing but Toshio had to cancel at the last minute.
His boss had urgently called to tell Toshio that he had to report at once for a team meeting, but then cynically cancelled it as soon as Toshio reached his desk. That fateful morning when the office shook from side to side, the floor became a concrete jelly and the cracks and snaps from the walls broke the usual domineering silence. Toshio’s authoritarian boss had run screeching for his life; it proved to Toshio that his tyrant of a superior was more chicken than man.
The digital clock above the train compartment door read 06:54 am and Toshio finally snapped. It only took a millisecond but something had exploded in his mind, he now knew he could not cope with life anymore, it was overwhelming, overbearing, it was over demanding. His life had become a living hell, an infallible humanity now flooded through his veins. The neurotransmitters in his brain were on fire with dire messages, the darkest malevolent thoughts ran pulsing hot down the electric lines in his mind.
His frame was vibrating with bitterness, with fear, with powerful urges to end it, finish it. His heart screamed out at him to complete the journey, end the pain for good, stop the anguish clarify the confusion. Iguchi wanted to go over to the other side where the peaceful, tranquil, clearness was waiting for him. Where he could be with his twin brother Akira, they could fish and laugh, they could be one cell again.
He left the cosseting protection of his warm seat with a forceful purpose. His face was twisted in an uncontrollable contortion of anguish but he moved with a drive and determination to damn them all. His stride was unswerving he was happy to embrace the evil that was now his dearest friend, callously calling him in. His body was soaking from the sweat that was pouring from every pore on his derisible physique, it was time, he knew it was time to depart. Head down he made his way to the doors of carriage number five
Toshio reached for the door handle, his feet were not yet stable, the Shinkansen was hitting two hundred and thirty kilometers an hour and rolling like an inshore squid boat in a heavy swell. The train rolled from side to side as the wheels underneath the carriage bounced and pounded down on the seamless steel rails for grip.
The sweat run freely down the trough in Toshio’s back, his greying temples and his throbbing forehead were damp. His palms were clammy, his body was running hot, his brain was about to overheat and shutdown, a febrile convulsion was close. He wanted to open the train door, he wanted to end it all, he wanted to release his soul. He needed to cease the voices shouting at ferocious decibels over and over again in his teeming, crawling head.
The fingers on his right hand closed gently around the cold steel handle of the train door. Through the door window the scene outside was calm, tranquil, and serene. The Tama River was languidly meandering and flowing gently towards the Pacific; Toshio’s frantic but focused fingers closed tighter until he was in control of the door. He pushed down and round to the left; there was no uproar in his head now. At last there was peacefulness, a purpose and poise.
The door mechanism clicked then with a savage furious force the heavy door brutally swung outwards caught by the turbulent wind. The plain white door smashed wildly open pinned back by the massive wind resistance of the train hurtling at full speed.
Toshio stood alone in the doorway, in the no man’s land between the carriages. The noise was violent, a ferocious raging hell of steel on steel as the raw energy blasted over him. But still there was no noise for him. He knew this was now the time, it was now the moment to step out and end it all, his destiny was set. In front of Toshio Iguchi was his release, his transparent passage out of his horrendous life, a channel to the place he desired, just one step would now liberate his soul.
But he hesitated, he thought about his daughter and her unconditional love for him, her dependency upon his common sense, his absolute responsibility to her, to guide and shape her. He did not think about his wife that flame had gone out two decades ago; it was a monotonous dirge filled drone like tale. His father was all but dead, the last look Toshio had into his father’s stultified eyes told him so, but his daughter still had a chance to break out, to break away from the clutches of the gnawing institutions.
If Toshio could only guide her the way he was being called to do so. A small voice called from his heart. He momentarily stepped back from the door, perhaps there was still some light, some hope of illumination in his soul. A tiny grain of warmth had flickered in him knowing that he could still make a difference to the life of one person, his precious daughter.
His own life was over it was merely an existence, Toshio Iguchi was a battery fed human on a corporate conveyor belt to nowhere. All his hopes and dreams perennially drawn out of him through the years of slog, grind, tedium and pain. Toshio had tried so valiantly, so hard to be the one who broke out.
But they broke him as they had broken his own family before, the establishment battled and eventually wore him down but he would not let them win the war, never.
The seven am Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka was now hitting two hundred and eight kilometers an hour as it banked gracefully on the sweeping bend. The arc of the train a thing of architectural engineering beauty as it rapidly approached his train.
The two Bullet Trains passed each other with immense closing speed; only three feet apart the technological wonders for seconds seemed fused as one as they violently passed each other. The two trains produced a mini explosion of mechanical forces, the windows on each train shuddering hard as the air was forcefully compressed between the long line of sleek aerodynamic carriages. He took another step back, he had been close to the edge he had almost taken his life. His daughters face and the hope he recalled in her large brown eyes had subconsciously touched his soul, perhaps he did have a purpose. Her unconditional love was surely still there for him, could he use it to cultivate her spirit and turn her into a strong focused independent young woman.
The breeze on the face of Toshio Iguchi became a wind; the wind became a fierce gale. Then it became a hurricane that began to buffet his frame, his lower body became unsteady. He began to rock and sway from side to side sending his tottering body forward then back, a whirlpool of wind pulling him then banging his head hard against the train wall. A powerful sucking vacuum erupted in the orgasm of energy between the trains, it hunted for the weakest point to penetrate and found it in the broken doorway where Toshio Iguchi stood.
He felt his feet levitate from the train floor, the determined resolute current of air pulled at his clothes, it pulled at his hair, his skin was tugging away from his bones such was the incredible tearing force. Toshio tried to hold on but it was futile there was nothing to grip but the sheer slick walls of the train.
Where once he readily wanted to end his life he now wanted to save his pitiful existence. He now wanted to hold on for his precious daughter but the dye was cast what he had asked for had been granted; his fate was already sealed. Outside the carriage the open train door was repeatedly smashing against the side of the train. He flailed out trying to hold on but the force of the wind from the passing Shinkansen had obliterated the swinging door, as it swung back towards him sending shards of razor sharp glass into his forehead and then cutting across his eyes.
Blood splashed against the bare wall of the train, fanned by the two hundred kilometers an hour wind it hurled the blood across the walls the roof and the floor of the train doorway.
The white walls became artistically splattered like a Jackson Pollok original, but this artist only used a thick oily crimson red.
Toshio now in a state of utter confusion could not see he could only hear the uninterrupted roar of the kinetic energy, his grip loosened as he panic stricken felt for his eyes, but all he could perceive was a red haze and all he could feel was the hot thick liquid in his trembling hands. He reached out for the wall to steady himself again but there was no grip, his bloodied hands slipped from the smooth train walls just as he was pulled forward by the back draught from the tail end of the rapid Osaka bound Bullet Train.
The left foot of Toshio Iguchi went down but there was only air no ground, no floor, no bottom could be found below his flailing outstretched foot. His sorry body arched forward. His inner ear was unable to calibrate balance any longer and he toppled plunging headfirst out of the train doorway. His floundering hands and feet looking for grip, for a familiar handle or ledge to grasp but there was nothing. His wish had been granted his life was going now, going fast. Toshio Iguchi had lost control of his destiny, his life, his fate.
Blinded by his own blood he plummeted out from the high tech train, his lifeless heavy frame battering down onto the steel rail shattering his thick hip bone into four pieces. His heavy head smashed forcefully down onto the single rail that the long gone Shinkansen had ploughed over. His skull was split open, his torso twisted into an inhuman shape by the force of his steep intense plunge. The pitiful figure bouncing on the tracks was more ragdoll than man.
A huddle of small Birds gently warbled in the dense bushes that occupied the tidy edge of the spotless train tracks. Above in a brooding morning sky, a seamless row of dark clouds were rolling up the coast from the Izu Peninsula towards Tokyo. A man’s clothes were scattered between the two infinite lines of cold bare steel. The loud silence that followed the furious trains raging past each other was punctuated by a dying gasp from Toshio’s blood filled lungs. There he lay, his body broken twisted and distorted, his bright eyes fading away to nihility.
The faint light in his eyes softly expired, Toshio Iguchi was without life.
Smiling and laughing hard they cast out their fishing lines into the deep calm river that bubbled and flowed full of life before them. Toshio Iguchi sat with his twin brother Akira. They were together again.