In ‘New Flash Fiction From Old’ I talked about paring down a story to 350 words. What I cunningly omitted to say, although I alluded to it rather obliquely, was that I did this for possible publication in small circulation magazine. The point being that it didn’t get selected. I haven’t read the submission that did get published because I haven’t been able to get hold of the magazine yet and although it has some of its content online, the flash fiction doesn’t appear to be part of that. So I can’t say if it was better than mine or just more suited to the readership they aim at or if they just can’t spot genius when they see it.
Whatever the answer to that question may be I said if it didn’t get published I might put it on here. So if anyone wants a slightly different Hallowe’en story here it is. I will put it in the Flash Fiction section as well.
I jumped on the train just as it was about to depart and the door slammed shut behind me. The carriage was empty. Ceridwen had warned me not to get on the first train by the barriers. Only the second went her way. I hoped her Hallowe’en party would be worth all this. When she asked me I’d only said yes because I was infatuated. I hated fancy dress parties, particularly ones with as vague a theme as this one. When I had asked what to come as, she had said ‘The past. I love old things’. An odd way of putting it, I had assumed she was having a dig at our age difference. The train fitted the bill at any rate, it was older than I was. It pulled out of the station and the rocking of the carriage lulled me to sleep.
I woke with a start. We had stopped, but where? ‘Beech Grove’, the sign said. I panicked. Where was that? I was sure it wasn’t on the line I was supposed to be on. Beyond the platform lights the night was black and the station deserted. I looked round for someone to ask where we were, but I was still alone in the carriage. The diesel moved off into the darkness. I must have got on the wrong train. I would have to get out at the next stop and retrace my steps. I checked my mobile. No service.
We seemed to rattle on forever before we stopped again. I got off and the train departed. I could see no station nameplates. As I made my way across the old bridge to the opposite platform the night seemed to gather more thickly about me with every step. Each light I passed seemed to flicker and dim to almost nothing behind me, darkness pressing me forward. Ahead, a station building reared out of the gloom. I reached the dilapidated ticket office. It was closed, but in the window was a crisp new notice.
‘This station will close on 31 October 1963’.