The train stopped at the platform creating a hubbub on the station. It was the busiest station for the train with more than ninety percent passengers bound to this one. Trains are always a center for buzz. There are the one time travelers and tourists who are arriving at a new place and are in a hurry to get off to their respective hotels and accommodations. Then, there are the day workers who have arrived for a day’s work in the morning to the big city. Much different to this crowd though, there is another class of travelers in the train, the tea boys.
Board the train at the city, travel to the next stop selling tea to the tired passengers, get off at the village, board another train towards the city, sell more tea. Their whole day is spent on the trains, sometimes their whole life. As Endramo, the local tea boy was boarding the train, he felt a sharp pain in the side of his back. He quickly got off and tried to see around for signs of assassins.
This was the seventh time something like this had happened to him. Why would anyone want to kill him was beyond his grasp. In fact, it evaded everyone’s grasp. The police only made fun of him for bringing this issue to them. One less beggar on the platform, they said. Even his friends refused to believe any of his appeals. But this time, he had had a knife stuck on his side. Yes, it had missed making any real contact, but this definitely needed to be dealt with– now.
The first time someone had tried to kill him was during the night. There wasn’t much crowd around, so he was able to run away easily. The person had given a good chase, running through the night, over the tracks as Endramo fled. Endramo managed to sneak into one of the trains in the hangar. He watched from his vantage point in the train as the person had fiddled with something on his hands and disappeared out of thin air. Endramo blamed the fog of the chilly night and the rush of adrenaline from the running for that effect.
But this wasn’t a one-off instance. Five more times had something similar happened, the last one, a needle missing him by a fraction and hitting a stray dog who eventually succumbed to his death after a week’s struggle. This time, they had come out in the open with a knife. Does that mean that they won’t try to run or hide as they did in the past? Was this his chance to finally confront his killer and get some answers from him?
In the buzz of the train, it was easy to hide. But from what he had seen of the previous six assassins, he was sure to make them out easily in this crowd. Somehow their clothes, their appearance, their whole being didn’t fit this time. He immediately found the person going towards the exit, looking for a space in this crowd where he can stand peacefully and search his target.
This was the time he was waiting for. Endramo signaled his friends, there were only a couple of them who had agreed to play along with his ideas. They decided to play along with it for some more time. This was it and if this person turns out to be a false alarm, that would be one less complaint from Endramo that they will have to hear for the rest of the day. With a quick hand, they withdrew a handkerchief, loaded it with something from a bottle and with a whiff of it, the attacker was on their mercy. They hurried to an abandoned room nearby to get some answers.
“Another failed attempt. He is proving to be unexpectedly resourceful. This is the fourth person that we lost on this campaign in as many months. ”
“Our man just passed through like a minute ago, you know. How do you know he didn’t succeed? One minute is hardly enough for the assassination. We have to give him more time.”
“How much more proof do you need? You still see that huge-ass saffron statue out the window, don’t you? Here, take the binoculars. Tell me those gunmen aren’t wearing the same color that they were two minutes ago. It’s time travel, not rocket science man. He went back in time and he failed. If he would have killed him in 1958, we wouldn’t be seeing all this. The assassin has already had sixty years for his task and I think it’s obvious that if he didn’t do it in sixty years, he probably failed, don’t you?”
“Damn it. I think I get it now. You said he first became active in 1958, right? We were targetting that year for all our assassinations for that very reason, to get him before he becomes active. What if he became active because of our attempts on him? What if we created him?”
Back in 1958, Endramo and his friends had the man tied to a bench. One would think that at eight, there would be little he could do to the man. Endramo was far from the normal eight-year-old though. His whole life until this point was spent helping his father with his tea stall, taking a kettle from his stall at the platform, running through trains, selling that to travelers. He was tough, he was used to abuse from passengers and the railway's staff, and he was used to getting help from other passengers who would pity him for having to work at this age.
“Why are you guys after me? This is the seventh attempt that I know of and it isn’t stopping. Why? What have I ever done?” he was confused and exhausted, but also curious why people were after him. Maybe it was something his dad did. “Is this related to my dad? Does he owe you something? He is very nice, you know. If you just ask, he will sell his shop to pay you back.”
The man was quiet. It was bad enough already that he got caught. He wasn’t about to put a dynamo in motion by revealing something out of his time. His supervisor had been very particular about this matter, “No matter what the circumstances, you can NEVER EVER reveal anything or speak to anyone in the past. Just do your thing and get out of there. And if you can’t, keep your mouth shut until you are free to get out. In the worst case, you have a pill attached to the top of your mouth which you can sever with your tongue to end it.” And so he did and that was the last assassin that Endramo ever saw.
But that was the end of normal life for Endramo. For that was the time he decided to make a change, with a man in front and half a sister behind, he had started on his journey to being the most powerful man in the country.