Mar 18, 2015 - 0 Comments - Short Stories, Writing -

Time – A quick flash story

This was a nightmare that I wrote down and fleshed out:

The oppressive heat hits me as I cross the train station. Like me, I assume, it sweeps over the platform hoping to catch the next train and escape the dead town that beyond the tracks in front of me. Even it has given up trying to fight this lonely desert.

I catch the time from a clock that hung over the station’s entrance. It tells me I still have three minutes to go. I collapse onto the nearest bench, exhausted. The last miles was the hardest. My legs weren’t used to that. Still, anything to ensure I caught this train. I couldn’t miss it. There were reasons. Today, I had to escape. The clock may tell me I had three minutes remaining, but for me, this town had run out of time.

Impulse turns my head to the left. Or fate. Choose whichever. Two benches sit between us. The length of this small town train station. Our eyes meet. Mine catch the briefest of bashful smiles, told with her eyes as much as her lips. For reality, the glance lasts only a moment. For me, it lasts a lifetime. And with that smile, if she weren’t already the girl in my dreams, she becomes her immediately. Another soul waiting to escape. It must be so. She’s beautiful for it. But to find out who she is? It seems such a disservice to fate, to interrupt this moment. There will be time.

The train pulls her eyes from me as it sweeps into the station and blocks the town from view. A brief escape.

A phone rings, its bell echoing throughout the station. Our gazes meet again, this time to share our confusion. We both stand up. Hesitate. Nothing passes between us, yet somehow, between us, a choice is made. The train is long distance. It won’t leave immediately. I have time. Still, I hesitate to turn away. The phone continues to ring.

It takes me longer to find the phone than I’d expected. Not long, only longer. Tucked behind a pillar at the station’s entrance, it rings one more time. I watch the final moments of a conversation between the girl and a train conductor before she ducks into the carriage. I lift the handset off the receiver hook and place the speaker to my ear.

She reappears, taking a seat at the train carriage window in front of me. She turns to look out the window. Our eyes meet again.

Click. The phone goes dead. Too late.

The station clock shows the hour. Blithely, I press the headset onto the hook. My attention elsewhere, it bounces off and drops the ground. One voice tells me to leave it. The rest insist I stay and fix my mess. I should have stopped listening to them a long time ago. The question then, is would I have crossed paths with the girl from the station? I put the phone back and dash across to the train carriage.

“I’m sorry sir. I can’t let you on without a ticket.”
“The next train is in an hour,” he interrupts.

By Ben Wise

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