Now Not Arriving On Platform 8

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The lights reminded me of a disco but the art deco walls didn’t fit in with a club scene. Nor did the clean, white stripe floor and the plastic seats in the middle which were empty. On either side of the platform were the train lines just lit up by a touch of green and pink light.

I was waiting. Walking slowly with only the tread of my shoes and whisking clothes making noise. I wasn’t wondering why I was alone or why it was quiet, I was just happy to be away from the bustle of the full platforms.

I felt the vibrations then heard a train coming into another section hidden by a wall and earth. I imagined all those people pushing their way on as people tried to get off. The bang of cases against legs, the howls of children and the fight over seats.

Smiling, I was glad to be away from all of that. Going over to the overhead boards, I looked up and read what they both said. Frowning, I wondered what had gone wrong because both signs said ‘no service.’

But I had triple checked and my train was coming into platform eight at five past three. I checked my watch and saw it was almost three. Of course, I had thought that a few other people might be waiting here too but this long haul, night train was normally quiet.

Were was the announcement to declare the next train? Perhaps, I had got it wrong…

I left and went back up to the stairs. I felt another train coming. I turned and saw a flashing of lights from the dark tunnel ahead. Maybe, I hadn’t been wrong?

I stepped back down and walked a little way along the platform which must have been new because way was it so clean and bright? The lightening too, I had thought odd but it could have always been like that. Who pays that close attention to a train station decor?

The train came into shape and I saw the destination on the front and it was where I wanted to go. Overhead, a crackling came to life and a voice spoke distorted words that I couldn’t make out but I guessed it was the notice for my train.

The doors open. No one got off.

I was the only one to get on.

Christmas Eve

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The moon shone of the freshly fallen snow, making it sparkly like diamonds. The little girl sighed and felt the chilly night air deep in her lungs. She should be home, safely tugged in bed, waiting for Father Christmas to arrive, but she wasn’t.

The train station platform the girl stood on was empty expect for her and her mother. They were waiting for the midnight train which was bringing father back to them. Huddled in her new white cloak, the girl looked up at the clear sky and full moon. A shadow in shape she recognised passed by and she pointed excitedly upwards; it was Father Christmas in his sled!

The sound of a train broke the silence as it pulled into the station, black smoke pluming through the air. There was a hiss of steam and squeal of wheels as the train stopped before them. The girl clutched her mother’s skirts and half hide behind her.

The handful of carriage doors opened and only a few people got out. The girl saw her father coming towards her and broke into a run, tugging her mother to do the same. They embraced, all hugging each other and talking at once.

Safe in the arms of her parents, the little girl looked to the sky once more and thanked Father Christmas for the best present she could have asked for.

Little Black Book (Part 1)

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Kimmy squeezed her way on to the train just as the doors were closing. Yanking her plated rainbow coloured hair and the hood of her grey duffel coat out of the way, she glanced at the sealed doors. Catching her breath and pushing up her purple framed glasses, she felt the train moving and watched the platform sliding away.

Heading into the carriage, Kimmy looked for a double or table seat which was empty. People looked up at her then back to their screens or books. There was a low mumble of chatter as people talked to one another or their phones. At the back, she found a double spot and dumped her small rucksack down. Sliding across to the window, she looked at the darkening cityscape rumbling by.

Liverpool in all its grimy glory, she thought wearily, not that it differs much from Manchester.

The PA binged on and a rusty man’s voice began announcing the route. Kimmy rested the side of her head against the icy cold glass and shut her eyes. Something knocked against her shuffling foot. Looking down, she saw a black shape and reached a hand down to grab it. Soft worn, leather brushed against her skin and there was a rustle of paper. Balancing it in both hands, she inspected the small rectangle book. Written along the bottom in sliver ink was; If found do not open.

Staring hard, she tried to decide if the handwriting looked female or male. Her fingers sort the edge of the cover and she almost flipped it over. The words lingered in her head, causing her to wonder what was so important inside the pages that the writer had to instructed people to stay out. She pressed the book between her palms.

The train juddered into a station, bring her back. Out of the window, Kimmy saw people moving to and from, those walking away were opening umbrellas and pulling up hoods. Rain was dripping from the platform roof and beyond gathering on the wired fence. The sky was now dark grey boarding on black, threatening heavier rain, prepares even a storm.

The last passengers got on and began searching for a seat as the train started up again. Kimmy watched two businessmen sit down at a table were a young couple were holding hands across the thin plastic. They began talking loudly about a meeting they had just come from and making rude jokes.

Slotting the notebook between her legs, Kimmy unzipped her bag and pulled out her IPod and noise cancelling headphones. She put on some heavy metal and let the loud booming songs carry her away. Tugging up the notebook, she slotted it into the rucksack and without any further thought, watched the ever changing view going passed the window.

 

To Be Continued…

The Next Train

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Marvin sank onto the rickety bench and pulled his great coat tighter around his thin frame. He glanced at his leather bag beside him, then looked both ways along the one line track. He pushed his spectacles further up his nose and sat back. Crossing his legs, he placed his finger linked hands into his lap. The quietness of the semi-abandoned train station was unnerving.

Cocking his head, he checked the large station clock hanging close above him. It was quarter to six. Pushing his sleeve up, he saw that his watch was displaying the same time. The next train was due on the hour, but the station master had warned that it might be late.

Marvin sucked in his cheeks and let his eyes drifted around. There was a short wooden wall running behind him ending at the ticket booth, which was marked only by a door and a small sign above it. He’d come out of there a few moments ago, not realising how the sparse boxy room reflected the platform he was now on.

He rubbed his thumbs together, made a tasking sound with his tongue and peered down the train line. He couldn’t see any smoke, or wisps that could have been steam. The last thing he could clearly see was the signal which was down and in shadow of a little tunnel. The train could becoming the other way though, so he turned his head.

Things looked just the same, only instead of the tunnel where some medium sizes trees. However, he thought he could make out the side of a small cottage peeking through. It probably belonged to the station master. He had seemed to be a grim old man, wearing a dusty timeworn suit. Marvin recalled the conversation they had had minutes ago. He had asked for a single ticket for the next train and upon giving him the ticket, the station master had told him how lucky he was. The station was in operation for half the week only with just four trains stopping each of those days. So, Marvin was catching the last train of the week, if it actually showed.

Bored and tried, Marvin tugged open the bag and pulled out the first file. Turning to the initial page of many loose sheets, he re-read the handwritten words for the hundredth time. It was the standard letter of enquiry from a relative of the deceased, stating the death and requesting the firm for the will and the organising of the inheritance.

It had been a simple case to close, Marvin thought. The will was up to date and the family aware of everything. The only problem had been the fact that he’d had to come to the middle of nowhere to sort it out. His stay over the last few days had been very trying to say the least. He put the file away and felt glad to be getting out. He looked at his watch and saw that it was almost six.

The door opened and the station master walked out with a large lantern and a small flag. Marvin turned his head away from the sudden glowing light and saw a grey puff of smoke. He collected his bag and stood up as the massive black steam train appeared.