Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Train Rumbled On

The kid's pillow turned hard and cold and began to vibrate, waking him up. Lifting his head, he watched as the world outside blurred and disappeared behind him. Shaking his head lightly, the kid looked around to absorb his surroundings and gathered from the backs of chairs and the heads peeking out from above them that he was on a train. He immediately remembered the trip he had been reluctantly taken on.

As he awoke he became aware of the itch. His scar was fresh and he was reluctant to scratch. They had told him not to. They had told him it would heal better if he just left it alone, so he ignored it as best a kid could. He yawned hard and started to pick at the hard crust in the corner of his eye that formed while he was sleeping. Examining it closely, he rolled it into a little ball between his forefinger and thumb and without any hesitation or thought, offered it up to his tongue to taste it before wiping it on the seat beneath his leg. His mind was elsewhere. He stared vacantly out of the window at the countryside rolling by, gently tracing imaginary shapes on the window with his finger. He was getting hungry and was wondering how long he'd be stuck in this metallic tube for. He didn't want to think about his hunger but he couldn't help it. The train was eating the tracks beneath it while it rumbled along and he was jealous. He wanted something of his own to eat. The walls of his stomach had started to close in and it almost felt as though they were touching. It didn't even have the strength to growl at him anymore. His stomach was a wide open cavern with a lonely pool of acid resting in the bottom. He really needed food, and would take whatever he could get, fearing he may just have to leave his seat to do so.

The girl was nowhere to be seen, but this didn't surprise him. She was often running off, unannounced, on her own little secretive missions and maybe it was time for him to go on one of his own. He didn't want to come on this little trip; it was all her idea, so why should he sit around hungry and alone, waiting for her to return to feed him? It wasn't fair.

He didn't know how long it would be before she would return. If only she left him with some money. If only she had left him with something so he could go to the food carriage himself. He imagined the adventure, wandering alone between the rows of strangers. He'd reach the end of the carriage and use the big button to make the doors part with a roar. It would be just like on the spaceships on TV. Imagining it all made him feel ten feet tall. Then his stomach finally rumbled and all he felt was hunger. He no longer even noticed the itch.

Searching around the carriage longingly for help he noticed something on the floor. Sat revealing itself from beneath her seat was the shy snake of leather that was attached to her handbag. He couldn't believe it; she'd actually left it behind. He prayed to himself that she'd left her purse inside, too. He let out a little squeal as he reached for the bag. Finally he'd be able to get something to eat and anything would do. He promised himself that no matter what he found in the handbag, he'd spend it on something healthy. He promised to not spend it on sweets. He'd buy a sandwich. He'd buy fruit. Anything good for him that would make them proud, just as long as he could eat something.

He pulled the bag up onto his lap, eagerly dragging the zip open and reached inside. As he rummaged around, he inspected each item individually. Inside her bag he fumbled with various boxes of tablets that he knew not to touch and hairclips and scrunchies of all colours. He pulled her hairbrush out and laid it on the empty seat by his side. Delving back in, he pushed some little square foil cases out of his way and from beneath a pile of dog-eared train tickets and receipts uncovered an old pack of chewing gum. He valiantly fought the temptation to slip one in his mouth though, for he knew that chomping on it would only make him feel hungrier. Amidst all the little alien treasures and pieces of junk he discovered, he found no purse. He didn't even find a handful of old pennies.

The train rumbled on.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Hat Without a Man

A cross I fashioned out of two sticks sits
in a pile of half melted snow.
A dirty hat grieves by its side, all alone
mourning the loss of the most patient man I will ever know.
Once worn with love - now empty - it rests on the floor.
A solitary tear hangs, frozen, from it's brim.
Now that is the saddest sight I have ever seen.