Early Retirement

PHOTO PROMPT ยฉ J Hardy Carroll
PHOTO PROMPT ยฉ J Hardy Carroll

George Harvey cast one final gaze around the empty lobby in the train depot. In 35 years, he’d never seen it devoid of human life.

He locked the door and grabbed his briefcase, the last contents of his former office tucked inside. He and the station had both been sent into early retirement.

His car waited in the parking lot. He’d never driven it home before. The 7:15 had always safely shuttled him home every night.

George should have watched the 17 car pile-up on the interstate from his television that night, but both he and the 7:15 had made their last runs.

Word Count: 99

[This is my entry into this weeks Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Use the photo prompt to create a short story in 100 words or less.]



34 thoughts on “Early Retirement

    1. I’ve always loved trains. Rode a lot of them when I was in Europe. The US seems to have lost it’s love for that mode of transportation. We’re just in such a hurry to get places. And yes, retirement can be a killer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading, Bjorn.


  1. Dear Chris,

    I just got back from Chicago where they have a great transit system. I also went to and from Chicago on the the train. It was pleasant and laid back. So your story struck a particular chord with me. Well done with that sucker punch at the end of the line.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle. I’ve taken one of the trains to Chicago as well from Wisconsin and I love it. I agree, the Windy City has a decent railway system. Glad you enjoyed the story.


  2. Wow, superbly written, Chris! I loved how the tone takes a surprising twist at the end. I also loved the way you almost personified the train station, describing it as being sent into an early retirement was a wise choice. And idk if this was intentional, but the use of numbers sprinkled throughout adds an interesting aesthetic appeal to your short story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your keen eye and attention to detail. The numbers were in fact coincidental, but the comparison between George and the train were not. Thank you for the great comment and I’m really glad you liked it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ouch, that ending has quite a punch These things always happen to someone else, in a different place. Until the one time when circumstances dictate that it happens to you.Every accident like this leaves so many “of only”s from those who should have been there but weren’t, or in this case those who shouldn’t have been but were.
    Nicely written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It seems life is full of irony and tragedy, but I like to think it’s balanced by wonder and awe. And I know what you mean. I’ve had tragedy in my own life that always seemed like it should be happening to someone else. Thank you for taking the time to comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad my daughter lives in Chicago. As Rochelle said, it has a terrific public transport system. I was glad when she give up her car. When I went to visit we took the bus, taxi, and train. Now she tells me they use the Uber system at times. Tragic story. Traffic can be dangerous. Well done, Chris. Great ending twist. — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I’ve never lived anywhere that had decent public transit (Phoenix was as close as I got and it’s not what I would call great). I did enjoy plenty of trains, taxis, buses and ferries while in Europe.

      Glad you liked the story. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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