Almost thirty years prior.
“Ticket please?” said the ticket inspector waking Charlie up from his nap.
“Of course”. Charlie handed the ticket and looked out the window. Mother’s house had vanished from the landscape, he must’ve been more than a hundred miles away.
Clara’s horrified face popped in his head for a moment, but he immediately shook away the thought, as it was too painful to look at.
Did he feel guilty for Dominc’s and Boris’ deaths? He couldn't tell because it didn’t seem real.
He just felt this strange sense of agitation and confusion, a creeping sense of doom, a faint realization that his life had just been turned upside down.
It was too much, he needed to distract himself.
He walked to the lounge and ordered a glass of water, the only thing that wouldn’t cost him a fortune.
As he sat down at one of the dining tables he let out an anxious sigh: the money he had stolen from Mother wasn’t enough to survive more than a couple of days in Primadonna Village.
He looked around, next to his plate was a pamphlet about the train:
“This state of the art miracle of machinery is named after the illustrious Margesh family, best known for their contribution to the Goll Railway System. The project was commissioned by Milton Margesh, direct descendent of railroad magnate Morten Margesh, to commemorate the premature death of his youngest son Maurice...”.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where the restroom is?”, a middle aged woman told the bartender as she got up from her seat.
Charlie noticed that there was a key with a tag lying on her table, so without even thinking about it, he swapped it into his pocket, making sure no one was watching.
Cabin number 23, Charlie prayed to find something valuable that he could sell in the village, but to his disappointment all he could find were books.
“Magical Mysteries”, “Seeing Signs”, “Incredible Coincidences”, were just a few of the many titles present; the woman must’ve had a fixation with the paranormal.
Charlie was about to give up when a golden pin with the letters GRS caught his eye. Underneath it was a fancy letter that he didn’t hesitate to read.
“Dear Mrs. Len, I’m sorry to disrupt your well deserved vacation, but my hands are tied.
Your assistant has once again proven to be unworthy of her job. I’ve closed an eye before, but her constant errors are damaging the company and I had no choice but to fire her.
I need you to come in on Monday to check the records and make sure nothing is missing.
I have reserved a room for you on the family train and I’ve made sure you’ll be very well taken care of.
Charlie quickly returned to the lounge.
The woman was standing in the middle of the corridor talking to the bartender. She seemed quite agitated: “Can you check under the chairs, I’m sure I had them with me”.
“Pardon me,” said Charlie, “I’ve found these keys on the bathroom floor, are they yours madam?”.
“Oh my goodness, thank you!” Replied the woman, “I can’t believe you’ve found them, I must’ve checked the restroom a hundred times and still didn’t see them!”.
“Oh well, spotting things is second nature for me,” said Charlie, “My father was an accountant and he always asked me to double check his work, he’d say you can never be too sure”.
“Oh, I know what he means!” sighed Mrs. Len rolling her eyes, “Anyway, I would like to thank you for your generosity, can I offer you a drink Mr…I’m sorry what was your name?”
Charlie looked at her aura, should he take a risk? He could tell that he was in her good graces, so he went for it.
“Len”, he lied nonchalantly. “Charles Len”.
“You’re joking!”, scoffed Mrs. Len, totally falling for it, “We have the same last name!”
Charlie smiled: “What an incredible coincidence”.