100 words no more no less · July · William's stories

Three Connected but Separate Tales

By William Gallagher
The Train Now Standing (1)
BAD enough when they said “next stop Birmingham New Street”. Now we’re delayed here, I’m conscious of my breathing and my ribs and my chest. I want to calm down and I need the train to start up.
This was home. Now the buildings are against me, now I’m a temporary invader. We haven’t stopped this long anywhere else. I can feel every person I knew.
Someone’s getting on and I recognise their bag. I close my eyes and spread out, looking asleep and taking up as much room as I can but they sit next to me.
It’s her.
Signs (2)
“HI, can I get to platform 1a from 1b?” she asked.

“What do you expect, love?” he sneered.

“That you wouldn’t spend millions revamping New Street Station and leave a platform off the signs.” She hefted her bag up onto her shoulder. “Is construction finished? Can I get through now?”

He turned away, making her realise that the sign ‘Information’ wasn’t accurate either.

Yet signs in other senses were on her side. Finding the letter. Catching the PA in a good mood. And now the train delayed and waiting for her. Perfect.

Then she saw who was next to her.

Platform Altercation (3)
“DO you know who I am?”

“No, sir, but I’ve formed an opinion.” Terry shut the train door on the man and called for them to get underway. The rich prat’s angry face shouting as the train pulled out of New Street was worth the delay he’d caused.

That’ll teach him to try it on with a First Class ticket that costs a week’s wages.

“Tickets and passes,” called Terry. Standard class was sweaty and busy, he had to press by people and climb over bags. But now he waved at a mother, saying: “There are two empty seats here.”

©William Gallagher 2016
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