Saturday, 25 June 2016

'Train to Nowhere' by Silvia Brown

I run for the train as my asthma squishes every single atom of oxygen left in my lungs. Surprised to find it still there, I stumble my way in, drowning in my own phlegm, as I take a breath at my inhalator. The platform is empty but I suppose it’s a public holiday after all.

As I catch my breath, a dense curry smell hits me when I enter. I walk one carriage up and the smell remains. It makes me gag uncontrollably. So pungent and unforgiving. I deduce it must be the driver’s meal and I wish he chokes on it.

I wake up some time later with the absolute certainly that I missed my stop. And for a long way too as it is already dark outside.  I stand close to the window looking for a familiar sign, a known building. 

Nothing.

My attention diverts to the bright screen at the top end for what it seems like a life time until the “Welcome to Metro” becomes “Limited Express – Direct to @#$%^”. Great. I make a mental note to visit the next Customer Service Office that comes my way if ever and check my phone to no avail. 

No network. Not a bloody bar.

So I grab my things and make my way through the wagons. I hold the glass door in between but it’s heavy and closes on me. I let go of my handbag on the other side and try to turn but the doors keep pushing through on an effort to chop me in half. The train bumps and the doors bounce back long enough to let me in.

I walk side-by-side trying to keep my balance as I negotiate my way through the empty seat plan. There is not a soul. 

No people on a train going nowhere.

As this words sink in, my chest tightens. Not now. I panic as I looked back at my handbag, now custody of the glass doors. I sit on the floor clutching my knees.

Nobody is waiting for me at home. Nobody would miss me. Nobody would ever find me. 

Every worst-case scenario comes to mind as I strive to catch my breath.

Looking up, my salvation stares at me in disbelief. I click the button waiting for the driver’s response, trying to clear my throat as my asthma gets the better of me. What I hear on the other end chills me to the bone. It’s a cough, the driver is chocking on his bloody curry.

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