by Jenni O’Connor
Freezing gusts swipe at already-icy legs; the train is late again. Choo-choo! It squeals as it limps in; a grubby two-carriage apology, inadequate for the rush-hour squeeze. The waiting crowd jostles, crowding the doors. They open with a rusty squeak; a stinking fug pre-empting the exodus. For the fifty leaving the train and heading home, there are a hundred hoping to board. A disembodied voice echoes down the gusty platform: “Will passengers travelling to Bristol stand back and wait for the next train.”
The woman is lucky; she gets on. She spots the last seat, by a window, access blocked by a large, balding man in a shiny suit who has dedicated it to his briefcase. Nobody has challenged him, despite the crush. “Excuse me,” she glares, stumbling over his legs. Those left standing glance over, then look down. Nobody talks or smiles. In these moments, my life disappears.
Jenni O’Connor is an aspiring novelist with one travel novel and one thriller under her belt; neither have yet been published but she lives in hope, and meanwhile spends her spare minutes writing flash fiction to keep her brain cells moving!