The Train (short story)

The sound echoed through the tunnel before it even reached it. Like a ghost train just one second out of sync with the rest of the world. Commuters shuffled forward, ready to hassle their way on, trying to guess where the doors might emerge and always getting it wrong by a few feet.

A woman with grass-coloured eyes and orange-y hair stood back, letting the other people rush forward as the train pulled into the station. I’ll get the next one, too many people. Always too many people. She rounded her shoulders back and begged for the tension to leave her body. Her rucksack tugged at her trapped a few curly tendrils as she moved, but she didn’t pull it out of the way. The pain itched her skull a little in a ticklish way. She nodded her head forward slightly and it tickled again.

The commuters stuffed themselves inside their metal cage of travel, some listening to music, others reading newspapers in awkward positions. No one speaks to each other. Not like in the old days. People used to be so much nice in the 1800’s. The orange-haired woman watched them pack themselves in like bees in a hive, noisy but not communicating. All aiming for that goal, for the honey, but never quite reaching it.

The train pulled away, leaving behind a foul stench of grease and hot metal. More people were already filling the platform, but only about twenty or so. The woman observed the people, getting on with their lives with their suits and their briefcases. Everything she owned was in her rucksack, belongings didn’t mean much to someone who was always on the move. Two hundred and twenty years of running away. She wasn’t even sure what she was running from any more.

Another ghost train escaped the tunnel in a cloud of noise, followed by the real thing. She took five steps forward, and waited for the metal doors to approach her. The train screeched to a halt, and expelled hot air as suited men and women, teenagers with backwards caps, and women with pushchairs exited the metal train. She stepped to one side to allow people passed, and then entered the train herself. Time to run away again. The doors snapped closed behind her and she closed her eyes as the metal cage took her away from the station to a new home, a new job and a new identity.

If you like this style of writing and want to see me write more short pieces, please tell me in the comments below!

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