Pardon me, boy


The train pulls in to the desolate station at a quarter past nine and the faces of those that disembarked nod listlessly at those that wait. The steam billows in sulphurous clouds that gathers in footwells and clogs up noses. Press your handkerchief close, the pattern is lovely, keep it hidden.


Passengers steaming in the post rain heat file out into cobbled streets that are not paved with good intentions or gold but simple granite that glitters under the cloud cloaked sunlight that works its way between chimney stacks and balustrades. The town is very quiet here and high above spring heeled jack dozes fretfully on a steeple.


Following the crowd as it dissipates into the waiting streets that clog the arterial flow of the city you might be forgiven for misunderstanding the purpose of your visit, but mind yourself, you’re only here to sight-see not to stay.


The streets widen soon and empty carts that promise future feasts stand outside of shops that are yet to open. The crowd moves past and people caw softly to each other from under beaked hats. Their feathered capes rustle in the wind and now and then an arm reaches out from an alleyway and pulls someone close. Stand clear, make no mistake these liaisons are dangerous.

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-ckly now hurry, they saw you when you left and follow close above. Tiles fall into dust filled sunbeams and shatter on the pavement. I told you not to follow in, that church held no sanctuary only unfortunate outcomes - but here we are, uncertain of our history and far from the station. The train whistles in the distance but in this suprasonic town it means less than a little more certainty.


The park waits for you with a suspicious timely escape. Don’t think, run through, don’t stop to stare at the ornamental fountain. It isn’t water, no, we can talk about it later. The plinths that line the boulevard stand empty, their occupants otherwise engaged with no time to stand about and watch. Things seen through the trees do not bear closer inspection.


A fox crows and you’d do well to steer clear and follow the engines smoke signals that rise above the skyline to lead us to the tracks. Three short puffs and a rest, the message is clear. Tickets please, the barrier opens and an unsmiling conductor punches your card. The little half moon shows clear sky beneath, now mind the gap and get on the train.


Let the clack clack clack of wheels on metal jolt you softly to sleep and don’t dream to closely of 

this. Wake up later, close to home, alone perhaps but safe. Don’t think to closely about any of this and especially try to forget that all evidence points to you not having travelled by train.

Sam HortonComment