Directed by: John Strysik
Written by: Michael McDowell
Stacey: Begonya Plaza
Mrs. Crane: Mary Carver
Bald Man: Louis Guss
Joe: Scooter Stevens
Conductor: Bert Williams
A college student boards the last car of a train to travel home but makes terrifying discoveries about this car and its passengers.
Act I Edit
Stacey — a young college student on Thanksgiving break — enters an empty train station, realizing why most people fly home rather than take the train nowadays. As she waits, the exit sign falls off the wall, making her jump. Eventually a train comes, which Stacey assumes is hers. She quickly boards the trains caboose but finds only three other people on board: an older woman named Mrs Crane, a bald man in a suit, and a little boy in a cowboy outfit named Joe.
Mrs. Crane asks Stacey to sit next to her. Stacey asks why this car is so empty, to which Mrs Crain tells her “this is the last car. It sways more.” Stacey talks about how she always procrastinates when it comes to traveling and overpacks; Mrs. Crane continues to talk about how the last car sways like a cradle. Stacey wonders if she got the train schedules mixed up as it felt like she had been waiting forever, but doesn’t stress over it as long as she gets home to meet her boyfriend. Mrs Crane asks about Stacey‘s wristwatch, as if she’s never seen one before. Stacey wants to sleep a bit, but tells Mrs Crane to wake her up soon as her stop should be coming up.
Suddenly the train starts chugging. Joe yells “TUNNEL TUNNEL!” and runs in a panic, eventually finding himself in the bald man’s arms. The lights flicker. A maniacal laugh is faintly heard. Mrs Crane’s eyes roll in the back of her head, and she appears to have a seizure. As Stacey wonders what is happening, she looks out the window and sees her reflection close the window shade. She’s suddenly awoken by the shade rolling up. She looks over at Mrs Crane, who tells her “they used to frighten me too...the tunnels.”
Act II Edit
Later on, Mrs Crane offers Stacey an aspirin, which she declines. Stacey tries walking to the next car but finds the door locked. A sign reading “door will not open while train is in motion” appears out of nowhere on the door. Joe — now dressed in an army outfit — obnoxiously shoots a toy machine gun. Stacey notices her watch broken and asks what time it is; nobody answers. When she raises her voice, the bald man offers her a sandwich and Mrs Crain says she’s upsetting Joe — revealing she knows Stacey‘s name.
While trying to exit the car once more, Stacey finds another sign reading ”Passengers are forbidden to open the rear door of the train. A fine of...(the sign is ripped off here)”. She opens the door anyhow, but finds the weather too blustery to see anything. She closes the door and sits back down, only to be pestered by Joe and his toy gun — causing her to wonder why a little boy would be on a train alone. Mrs Crane mentions once more how the last car sways you like a cradle. The bald man gets Joe to behave by offering to play a card game with him.
An unknown amout of time later, Stacey wakes up from a nap to Joe and the Bald Man still playing Go Fish while Mrs Crane sits in the back row knitting a shawl — when Stacey looks out the window for a split second, Mrs Crane suddenly appears in the seat next to her and asks if she’s feeling better. Stacey sarcastically claims she always feels worse after a nap but is happy it helped “pass the time” — a phrase that confuses Mrs Crane. She reveals the shawl is for Stacey as it “sometimes gets cold on the last car...especially in tunnels.” Stacey recalls her normal train goes down the coastline and never passes through any tunnels. She asks Mrs Crane where this train goes, but the old woman tells her to speak to the conductor — who has mysteriously not shown up since Stacey boarded. Frustrated, Stacey believes the train schedule was changed and she‘s on the wrong one.
Joe and the Bald Man argue over what aces, twos, and threes should be called when the train starts chugging and enters another tunnel. They stop playing as the lights flicker and the maniacal laugh is heard. Mrs Crane goes catatonic. Joe suddenly gets up and shoots his toy gun at the Bald Man — who‘s inexplicably riddled with bullets and slumps over dead. Stacey screams as Joe smiles and shoots at her, filling the seats behind her with bullets.
The train exits the tunnel. The bloodied Bald Man sits up and eats a sandwich out of his box. Joe grows tired of shooting his toy gun and falls asleep. Mrs Crane returns to normal and continues knitting — she tells a horrified Stacey “you get used to the tunnels.... eventually.”
Act III Edit
Mrs. Crane pets Stacey‘s hair while she sleeps. The Bald Man leaves the bathroom (fully clean/no blood or bullet holes) and returns to his seat. Joe — now dressed as a football player — runs down the aisle and wakes Stacey up. She feels like she’s been in the train for days and is still unnerved by how dark it is outside. Mrs Crane insists it is open countryside, but Stacey can‘t even see the moon or any stars — as if they’re still in a tunnel. Mrs. Crane assures her “when we’re in a tunnel, you’ll know.”
The Conductor finally arrives. He takes notice of Stacey then whispers something to the Bald Man. He playfully picks Joe up then puts him down before walking over to Stacey. When he asks for her ticket, she claims not to have one and orders him to throw her off the train. He asks once more for a ticket, which she reluctantly gives. She asks where the dining car is, to which he replies is closed. The Bald Man offers her a sandwich, but she claims not to be hungry. The Conductor takes a dark roast beef sandwich based on a recommendation from Mrs Crane. Stacey asks to go back with The Conductor when he leaves the caboose; he denies this and points her to a sign that reads “passengers are forbidden to travel between cars when the train is in motion.” Stacey insists that sign wasn’t there before and that it isn’t a rule on any train she’s been on; The Conductor simply replies with “but this is the last car”. The Bald Man insists she’s hungry, claiming he always gets hungry after a tunnel; when she sarcastically asks for hummus, he says she’s in luck and gives her a styrofoam cup (what’s inside the cup is never seen).
The Conductor clips her ticket and gives it back; Stacey claims it’s the wrong one as hers was a round trip and this is one way. The Conductor claims it was the only ticket he had and heads for the door. Completely fed up, Stacey continues to ask why the train won’t stop and why is it so dark outside. The train starts chugging and the lights flicker. The Conductor announces an upcoming tunnel before leaving and closing the door behind him. Stacey tries to follow but looks through the window and sees a skeletal version of The Conductor staring back at her. She screams and turns around — seeing the train as a rotting shell of itself. Decayed versions of the Bald Man, Joe, and Mrs Crane are all in their seats — Mrs. Crane appears to be moving and staring menacingly at the terrified Stacey.
Act IV Edit
Stacey opens her eyes as the train exits the tunnel. Joe is now wearing a space suit and shooting a laser gun. The Bald Man sits quietly next to his box of sandwiches. Mrs Crane signals for Stacey to come join her. When asked when the conductor will come back, Mrs Crane informs Stacey ”not until there’s another passenger.” Mrs Crane wraps the shivering Stacey in the finished shawl and asks her if she would like to knit one; a petrified Stacey admits she doesn’t know how. Mrs Crane offers to show her.
A short time later, the train chugs. The lights flicker and the maniacal laugh is heard. This time, Stacey calls out “TUNNEL TUNNEL!” to the other passengers. As the train passes through, Stacey turns into a decayed corpse version of herself while still continuing to chant ”TUNNEL TUNNEL.”