The Train Song

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Her heels were tapping on the marble floor.

Tap. Breathe.

Tap. Straighten the back.

Tap. Hold the lilac suede purse in the crook of the elbow.

Tap. Admire the stripes of golden light coming through the vast windows of a station, a cathedral of arrivals and departures, an altar of meeting.

She has come to meet them and she intended to be on time.

Tap. The hem of her summer dress skimmed the knees.

Tap. The narrow crocodile belt clinched the waist. She reminded herself to breathe steadily. She has even drafted the scene on the piece of scrap people with the same precision her husband would draft his sketches.

Tap.

The woman next to him was shorter than her, wearing a tasteless hat and a shapeless summer coat. She painfully sucked in some dusty air smelling of creosote and tobacco smoke. She loved railways so much, never getting tired of travelling after her husband to the new places where he has built the tracks, living in the special carriage.

Tap.

She has consulted the daily timetable beforehand. She was sure that those two were about to take the coastal flyer. Contrary to its moniker, the train was slow, stopping at every little beachy village. Two other trains were leaving at the same time, the capital express and the northern route. She was sure her husband and that woman have chosen this morning moment wanting to sneak out of the city undetected.

She praised herself for her attentiveness. A strange letter in the post box, a whiff of perfume on his clothes. Today she had overheard their phone conversation.

Tap. “Quite blatant”. The thought had made her angry. “They did not even try to hide”.

Tap. Her husband, ever elegant, was holding a little suitcase. She expected him to call and feign some urgent building work somewhere on the line, in one of those villages.

Tap. Tap. Tap. “You dance so much better than I do”, the tune was an old one, from their youth “I should not impose myself on you, I am just a learner”. The sun of their twenties shone on the porch of the old-fashioned dance hall. “You are making a progress”, she said “and don’t worry, I am a dance instructor, it’s my job. What’s yours?” He smiled endearingly “I take people places. I can take you if you want”.

Tap. Her golden hair tickled the smooth cheek. She has noticed that her husband took off the wedding ring. Tap. Hand in the white glove went to the purse. Tap. “There is a man behind me”, she realized “is he following me?”.

T-A-P. She did not manage to get out the gun. The dry cough of the shot hit her head. Pomegranate red darkened her flaxen hair. She went down on her knees, gushing blood, prostrating at the great altar, where the train voices sang her the last song.


Submitted: March 20, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Nelly Shulman. All rights reserved.

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