Then, someone spoke over the public address system. It was the train operator.
“Time checked, 2.44 p.m. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! This is your train captain, Fred, who has the absolute pleasure of ferrying all you dearest passengers from station to station.”
Selena was jolted out of her sorrow. Teck Meng stopped reading his papers and was bemused by this short introduction. Azmi broke away from his daze and listened intently, while Rosnah was still deep in thoughts. Lee Hoon stopped talking to her baby and looked up. Raj and Jean looked curiously at each other. And the other passengers in the other carriages were all stunned at varying degrees.
“I know you are wondering why this sudden introduction. I mean, it was never done before, so I can understand how you feel now, perhaps. Anyway, I’ve got a surprise for all of you,” Fred said and paused.
Selena and Teck Meng looked at each other, silently asking each other what was going on. Rosnah turned and asked her husband what the train operator had said. Lee Hoon began to get flustered. Raj thought aloud, “A surprise? Are they going to give us a cake each?” Jean laughed with him.
“You see, I’ve always been wondering what I would do with my life if I know the exact time when I’m going to die,” Fred said and paused again.
Selena, Teck Meng and Azmi began standing up, all looking tensed suddenly. They peered into the front carriages. Many other passengers were also standing and looking ahead. Rosnah was still asking questions, while Lee Hoon started to take deep breaths. The two children stopped laughing as they observed what the adults were doing.
“And I also wonder what others will plan to do with their lives if they know the exact time of their demises,” Fred said calmly and paused.
Teck Meng began dialling ‘999’ like many others on the train. Selena noticed Lee Hoon and went up to offer her help. Azmi sat beside Rosnah and assured her with his touch. The children were still wondering what was going on. They could hear some passengers shouting from the other carriages. The train then passed Sinai station without stopping.
“Guess what? I know what I would do with my life, now that I know when I’m going to die. And I think I’m going to help you find your answers too…”