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Flash Fiction – The Train Station

I completely forgot I had written this story a couple of years ago. I was supposed to be travelling on the train from Canberra to Sydney, but I got lost looking for the station…..

Ann hefted her bag and swapped it to the other hand. If only she hadn’t bought those extra books, but they had been such a bargain. She glanced again at the map in her hand. The street names were mostly the same except for those new roads between the Canberra Glassworks and Cunningham Street. According to this, the Canberra Railway Station was between Cunningham Street and Wentworth Avenue, next to the Railway Museum. Since she was so early, perhaps when she got there she would wander through the museum to kill some time. Walking from the gallery to the station had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the sky had become overcast and there was thunder rumbling in the distance. Rounding the last corner of the road which ended before the station she peered with confusion through her glasses.

The station was not what she had expected. It looked deserted and had the appearance of a shipping yard rather than a public railway. And as for the museum… what a joke. It looked downright spooky. There was a high chain mail fence the whole way around, and any minute she expected a pair of slavering guard-dogs to appear from under one of the rusting train carcasses and lunge at her through the fence. This was obviously not the right station, but she walked on, hoping the owner of the beat up old Falcon sedan was around and would be able to send her in the right direction.

Walking closer to the platform she could see the front of the railway office was completed covered with large wire and several of the window panes were broken. Everything was covered in graffiti and there were weeds growing from between cracks in the concrete. This was ridiculous. There was no way this was the right station.

‘Hello, is anyone around?’

There was no answer. She briefly debated with herself about calling a taxi, but she would feel like a fool if they turned up and the station was around the corner. Perhaps it would be best to ring the ticketing office. She had purchased her ticked online and had the paperwork in her bag. Ann put her bag down and fumbled with the wad of papers containing the printout of her hotel booking and railway ticket. She dropped them in her haste and the wind blew one of the pages out of her reach. Fortunately it was last nights hotel confirmation, so she didn’t bother chasing it down.

‘Um, hello. This is Ann Somers. I booked a ticket on-line from Canberra to Sydney, but I think I am at the wrong station.’

‘Wentworth Avenue? On Wentworth Avenue? But I am at the station between…’

‘Ok, I will go up onto the platform. I can’t see anything. Oh, hang on, I see it now. It is on the other side of the tracks about five hundred meters to the right. Ok. Thanks.’

Feeling like a complete fool Ann picked up her bag and began walking back the way she had come. The forgotten hotel confirmation, with her name and address printed prominently on the top, was picked up by the gusting wind and jumped from one clump of weeds to the next until it came to rest against the wall at the base of the seemingly deserted railway platform.

The next day it was gone, as was the beat up old Falcon.

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