It was a dark night, the air was cold and breathing took more effort than usual. It seemed to drag on endlessly as the train passed one tree after another with only the outline of more trees in the distance. This wooded area was the worst of the train routes due to the fact that you couldn’t see ahead of the next turn with the thick forest in the way on a normal day and the low hanging branches would come out and drag across the train cars like nails on a chalk board. After a while on the job you may get used to it but no one can honestly say they like it.
This night, except for being unusual dark at this hour, was no different from any other winter night. The passengers in for a long ride slept and those just waiting for the next stop gathered their things and sat in either the lounge enjoying their last hour or in their individual car. Even at this hour the train was strangely loud and out-of-place in this calm quiet forest.
After a while the conductor takes notice of the area he had traveled many times before, there was a clearing up ahead with a large meadow of flowers. Before the train rail was built it stood alone and untouched, completely sheltered by the forest. In a way it was a shame that the field had to be destroyed because of what a natural beauty it was. Coming out of thought, the conductor noticed a heavy mist covering the meadow today which also seemed relatively out of the ordinary. It had spread out over the rails and covered the windows as the train passed through making the outside world blurred and hardly visible.
As the mist clears a silhouette could be seen on the train tracks. It is the silhouette of a female, probably a young adult, with long curly hair that seems to blow in the cold wind. Though it is just a silhouette the clothes do not look heavy enough for the harsh winter conditions, and in a rash move the conductor brings the train slowly to a complete stop. He quickly sends word to the other workers that he will be gone for around ten minutes to attend to the matter of something blocking the train and sends out a message that there will be a small delay to all the passengers. He puts on his jacket, zipping it up all the way to his chin and wraps a heavy scarf around his neck that had been hand knitted by his lovely wife. He puts on heavy snow boats and thick mittens, then opens the door to begin his tread through the snow.
Slowly as he approaches the silhouette it grows more visible. Her long flowing hair is brown and as the conductor thought, she only had a light set of clothing wrapped around her body. Her skin was almost as pale as the winter snow and it seemed to glisten in the moonlight that was barely visible through the thickening snowfall. Wanting to get out of the oncoming storm the conductor quickly called out.
“Miss!? Are you alright?” He waited for a moment and although he saw her turn slightly she did not respond. Taking a few steps closer he called again, “Miss, are you alright?” Once again there was no response. Infuriated at the fact the even though this women clearly heard him she did not respond he stalked over to her pale silhouette and reached towards her. Right before his hand-made contact with her skin, a shiver went down his spine and his eyes widened in terror, because the thing standing in front of him was not human. Although this took human shape, this creature could not be human.
It had large pointed teeth that stabbed crookedly in all directions while a snake tongue flicked inside its crooked cage. The glossed over eyes that seemed to be popping out of its head where a gleaming red and the hair was a matted ball that flowed all the way down to its waist. At the sight of it, the conductor retracted his hand and began backing towards the direction of the train. That is when the creature called out to the conductor.
“Nissss weather we’re having isssn’t it not?”
“Delightful,” the conductor replied trying not to anger the creature.
“I ssssense hessssitation,” she continued, “are you afraid of me?”
“Not in the slightest,” the conductor said thoughtlessly, instantly regretting his unconvincing words.
“If you do not fear me prove it,” the devilish creature hissed in a loud voice about to bark her first command. “Take my arm and lead me to your train.”
The man quickly took her arm and lead her to the train, but once she requested transportation on the train the conductor refused saying she did not pay, therefore she could not enter the train. She scoffed and disappeared into the woods. Two months later the conductor died of a heart attack and he was replaced. Although every winter when mist gathered in the meadow the women would appear and each time the conductor would die two months later from “natural causes”.
It had been 20 years since this legend had started, and the young son of the first conductor, now a full-grown man with a family of his own, had taken over his father’s position. He remembered his father speaking of dreams with a snake faced women before his death, and at the time he may have written them off as non-sense. However, now as the train traveled the quiet tracks through the woods, all the monsters that went bump in the night seemed to come to life. The conductor, unlike his father, was a rather brave man and wasn’t as scared of the forest surrounding him. Like his father he could see the beauty in the meadow around the turn in the distant and, like his father, he was surprise by the mist rising out of the meadow blinding him, until the train had completely passed through.
When he reached the other side of the mist, he pulled the train to a slow stop, like many others before him and approached the woman’s silhouette in the mist. This time it was the silhouette of an elderly lady and when the conductor got closer, he realized that this was the snake faced women that had haunted his father’s dreams.
“Hello there,” she spoke in a fragile and cracking voice. “Nissss weather we’re having isssn’t it?”
The conductor, without any hesitation or fear responded, “it’s a little to chilly for my liking.” A cackle escaped her old cracked lips.
“I see, it’s rather cold for my liking too. Would you mind taking me onto that train of yours?”
“As long as you pay when we get to the next station,” the conductor said clearly seeing she had no money.
“But what if my pockets are empty?” Questioned the women.
“Then you will work hard in the next town to pay for your ride.” He stated in a matter of fact tone.
“You are very trusting, young man,” retorted the snake face women before barking the same orders at the new conductor.
“Escort me to the train,” as she requested, he did; escorting her to the train, helping her board, getting her food and drink, and when they reached the next station she got off and where she had sat in the conductors car there was a pile of gold and diamonds left that could buy 21 train tickets, with a note saying, ‘you have made up for the 20 train rides that I was denied. You are a very kind soul’. And with that the snake face women was never seen again.