A build up of adrenalin in the moments before a train is due.....
|WAITING FOR THE TRAIN
“Damn it!” I hissed, watching the back end of the train I should have been on leave the station. Great! There wouldn’t be another for an hour. I looked around the deserted platform which confirmed that I was indeed the only person here. I decided a trashy magazine was needed. Just to round off my perfect day the newsagents had already closed. It was past five o’ clock and there wasn’t a soul around. “I’ll just have to sit and wait” I thought. Picking a bench, I lit a smoke and prepared myself for the longest hour of my life.
I heard footsteps echoing in the distance. As they gradually drew nearer, I suddenly felt exposed and looked around in search of a station guard or another person, not seeing anyone, I told myself I was being paranoid and silly. The footsteps were right outside the entrance to the platform, I looked up expectantly. A tall man walked onto the platform and paused. He was stylishly dressed; a beige fedora was pulled forward concealing most of his features. All that could be seen was a rugged, square, lower jaw line. The collar of a white shirt could be seen under a full-length beige overcoat. Black trousers covered the tops of highly polished black leather shoes. His head moved in my direction and nodded. His eyes were impossible to pick out under the shadow cast over his face by his fedora. I was suddenly aware that daylight was fading fast. Darkness seemed to be claiming the corners and doorways of the vast, deserted platform.
His footsteps on the move again, my head turned rather too sharply, towards him. He stopped in front of me. My heart was racing and I was sure he must hear it pumping against my rib cage. I looked up into the empty blackness where his face should be, to see a cigarette dangling from his lips.
“Do you have a light? Mine doesn’t seem to be working.” His voice was rich and made me think of black coffee. There was an accent that I couldn’t place. His hands, right in front of my face, were covered in black leather gloves and in one, he held a brass zippo. I suddenly fumbled in my handbag. “Of course!” The panic was evident in my voice and this came out sounding like a badly scraped note on a violin. My fingers finally closed over my elusive lighter and I cupped my hand around the flame as I offered to light his cigarette. He bent forward. “Thanks,” he said. For one second the flame lit up his face, I saw impenetrable, menacing, ice-blue eyes staring right back into my own. Startled, I dropped my gaze and returned the lighter to my handbag. I felt the tiny hairs on the back of my neck rise. My skin broke out in goose bumps. Like a camera’s flash leaves a burnt mark on your retinas, I could not forget those eyes.
He had returned to his original position, the entrance to the platform behind him. Smoke curled from his lips and swirled through the air. A breeze, kindly, brought the smell of rich foreign tobacco to my nostrils. I greedily, lit my own cigarette. Further footsteps were now audible. I glanced towards the entrance, feeling relieved at finally having people around, I silently willed a priest to enter!
I couldn’t swallow; a marble miraculously lodged itself in my throat! Aside from being slightly shorter than Ice Eyes and carrying a tan brief case, our new guest was dressed exactly the same as Ice Eyes. The two men began a seemingly hurried conversation. I suppose it could have been English, I don’t think it was. Fear and panic had robbed me of basic brain computing abilities. They were both looking at me. I must be posing some sort of a problem. Their quick, furtive, glances at me, then each other, weren’t helping the marble dislodge.
Suddenly, Ice Two put down his briefcase keeping me in his line of vision, his black gloved hand slowly went inside his beige overcoat. I pulled myself up on rubber legs. Forcing myself to walk away from the bench, I left both Ices behind me, realizing as I did this, ideally, I should have tried to leave the platform. How could I when the “terrible twins” were blocking the exit? They called out to me,
Fear, spiraled uncontrollably through my bones, weak and watery-legged, my reactions were sluggish. Turning slowly, I looked at the two. They were hurriedly approaching me with wide grins. The beginnings of a scream was bubbling up from the pit of my stomach, when, quite suddenly, I heard voices and footsteps, lots of them! People started entering the platform for the arrival of the next train.
The terrible twins clearly noticing all my saviours entering the platform, quite suddenly, split up from each other. Mr. Ice Eyes continued towards me while Ice Two walked, quite casually, I noticed, back towards the entrance. It seemed not a moment ago there were just the three of us, now, the platform was full. Children ran past me giggling and yelling. Men, dragging suitcases with wheels affixed, trundled past me. Women called after their straying children. I looked around for Ice Two and couldn’t see him, giving me the idea if he could lose himself, then so could I! Just as Ice Eyes was about to reach me, I ducked to my right and speed-walked towards the entrance. Then, the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard, filled my ears. The train! Changing direction, barely containing myself from running, I marched towards the train stopping myself on the very edge of the platform. I would have to wait another moment or so for the train to actually stop! Stealing a frantic glance over my shoulders I saw, Ice Eyes and Ice Two taking large paces towards me. They would reach me before the train did! I walked along the platform, hoping to lose myself in the crowds, I decided not to look back again. Finally out of breath and what felt like thirty-five years later, the train stopped. I grabbed the nearest door and jumped on the train in one fluid movement, banging the door shut again. Ice Eyes locked on to mine and banged on the door furiously. Ice Two was stood right behind him.
People cursed me. I could see anger etched in their expressions. They jostled to get to the door. My two new best friends just weren’t letting anyone past. People began hurriedly walking off to other doors, my panic began to rise again, I need the train to leave now, preferably without the two ices on board!!
Through the window, they both stared at me, strangely, they made no attempt to open the door and reach for me. Their eyes, connecting with mine for a brief moment, smiled at me. Then, turning, they walked away towards the platform entrance. I felt a jolt and realized the train was slowly starting to move. I grabbed my handbag tightly and ran through the aisles. People dodged out of my way amid many colourful curses. Reaching the first seating carriage, I slumped into a chair. I was sweating profusely, my heart raced faster than the train. We slowly left the station. Looking through the window, I caught my last glance of the two ices leaving the station on foot.
Sitting back, the adrenalin flow slowly ebbing, my mind began to wander through the last terrifying hour, I wondered,
"Was this paranoia?".
I giggled out loud, at myself.
“What did I honestly think those two freaks were going to do to me?”.
I felt better, almost normal. I successfully convinced my brain the previous hour had been a bad dream. Maybe I dozed off on that bench and imagined everything that followed? Happy with this explanation, I allowed myself to believe it.
I can now look forward to the joy of meeting up with my family. Putting the whole platform episode behind me, the memory of those eyes fading, I glanced at the empty seat beside me and seeing a folded up newspaper, I thought,
Without the trashy magazine, this would do! Unfolding it, the usual headlines were splashed across yesterday’s newspaper, once again pointing out some idiotic remark our Prime Minister had made. Reading the story I followed the instruction, ‘Turn to page Two’. My eyes were led away from the continued story, headlines on the right of the page grabbed my attention and left me cold.
THREE WOMEN FOUND STRANGLED ON LONDON PLATFORMS!
Witness reports seeing two men dressed in mafia-style clothing….