๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป

Submitted into Contest #47 in response to: Suitcase in hand, you head to the station.... view prompt

204 comments

Adventure

Suitcase in hand, you head to the station. At the station, there is a great hustle and bustle; everyone is fighting to reach the booking window. New day, new people. An old man's pocket is picked. He starts to shout. You cast a look at his direction, but instantly regret it; he isn't just an ordinary old man. His colorless eyes don't even reflect light and make him look blind. In addition to this, he has a hunchback. You start to look away but your eyes fall on his hands, they are bloodied and wrinkled, scattered with lines. He starts running in your direction, but you move in feverish haste, anxious to get going. You zigzag around groups of people and notice, with some relief, that you have lost him.


Next on the scene, comes a group of young adults, all girls. The tallest one is fair-skinned, dressed in a plain white tee and khaki pants with minimal makeup. The second tallest is blonde, somewhat fragile, intelligent in expression. She is wearing a black tank top and beige capri pants. The third and the last one has sleek and chic strawberry blonde hair, her face caked in makeup. She is chewing gum, occasionally popping it. She looks at you and winks flirtatiously as if she knows you have been here all along. You feel your face flushed and thus, you quickly look away. Again!


You smell food and realize just how hungry you are. Quickly you move towards the source of the tantalizing aroma only to realize the seller is a poor vendor. "Do you want some samosas, bhai?" he smiles a crooked smile. You smile in return, not knowing that he just called you his brother and feel your pocket for the money, only to realize the horrifying truth: you forgot your wallet in the cab. Thankfully it didn't have much except for money, of course. Your smile instantly vanishes. The vendor notices your worry and speaks up, "It's okay, bhai. You can have the samosas for free," and he hands over to you not only the samosas but the chutney along with it too. He smiles his crooked smile again and leaves.

Food delivery apps spice up Indian train journeys - SAMAA


The train arrives. You proceed hoping to have a window seat, only to get pushed by the rowdy woman who is almost dragging her wailing son along with her. You start moving into the train again, only to get interrupted by the muffled giggles of the young girls you saw earlier. "Hi, I'm Zoe," the strawberry blonde speaks not realizing that she is blocking the way of numerous others behind her. She is fluttering her eyelashes all innocent-like, not knowing that now isn't the time to do so. It's your duty, therefore, to speak up. You clear your throat and she gets the signal. She stops staring at you and goes to sit with her friends. You notice the young man,ย sitting three paces away at his usual place, by the window. His hands full like always. Out of the blue, the man lifts his gaze and looks at you right in the eye. The gaze sends a chill down your spine and causes the hair on your neck to rise so you quickly look away. Again!


Once you are seated, there comes a hostess who offers you, your favorite fresh juice but you refuse it. Your mind keeps ticking as to why did you refuse it minutes after she leaves. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. But you don't get the answer. The woman on your left taps you gently on your shoulder. You ignore the tapping but rather focus on your brain's ticking. You get distracted again when the woman on your left taps you again, urgently this time. You look over at her, extremely irritated by her behavior, only to realize she is throwing up in a sickness bag ( she is maybe prone to motion sickness ). The bad smell nauseates you and you get up to sit somewhere else.ย 


You are moving through the aisle, unable to find a vacant seat when you see her. Your heart skips a beat. Zita, you whisper. Those same ocean blue eyes. Her pale features obscured by knotty brown hair curled at the ends. She is smiling. Oh, that million-dollar smile you'd give anything for. She is dressed in a loose-fitting vintage dress and flat shoes. Mesmerized by her beauty, you forget that you aren't at home. Neither is this woman, Zita. Sighing, you move forward.


You grab a seat by the window.


The train switches tracks. The environment becomes uneasy: you hear the soft cry of a baby which gradually becomes loud and rhythmic. Suddenly a woman shouts, loud and clear. People get up to see the source of the shout and so do you. As expected, it is the same rowdy woman whom you had encountered earlier. You smirk and get going. But then reality slaps you on the face. You reminisce about the days with your cruel stepmother: you think about her sadistic pleasure in tormenting you, her vicious plans and you shudder.

Quarantines, school shutdowns may cause a surge in child abuse ...


This is God's way of showing you not to forget your past. You say a silent prayer and go to sleep.


The train stops. Everyone is rushing out to freshen up themselves but you don't move. Lazy brat, you can hear your step mom's voice again. Your eyelids droop and you try to go back to sleep. "I know that you aren't sleeping, only your eyes are closed," the scent of strawberry and mint fills the air and reminds you of Zita again! You stay still, pretending not to have heard the speaker. She taps her feet on the floor, and when you don't pay attention to her, the tapping intensifies. You smile even though your eyes are still closed. 'Well, I am going," and that is when you recognize the voice. It's Zoe, the strawberry blonde. You sit up straight. She smiles over her victory and that smile reminds you of Zita again. "Hello, I'm Zoe!" she says her name again. You want to say 'I know' but your tongue betrays you and all you manage is "Mm-hmm". Zoe says something and asks a question in return but you can't concentrate because your brain is switching tracks again. Clickety-Clack. Clickety-Clack...


The train arrives at its destination. Everybody is getting off the train but you don't move. Finally, everyone is gone. Then comes the conductor. "Nowhere to go?" he asks the same question he has been asking for the past three years. You nod the same way too. Without asking anything further, he leaves. And it's just you and the train. Nobody knows it, except for you and the conductor: it is in hope of finding Zita that you have been coming here, every day, for the past three years.



But, instead of Zita, it has always been you and the train.

You and the train.

You and the train.






June 21, 2020 10:18

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204 comments

As you requested, here I am giving you feedback on this story! This story was great and you nailed the second person narrative! I love all of your works, but I believe that this one is my favorite! I can't wait to read more. I also really loved the addition of the pictures! I did notice just a few grammatical errors. Keep writing and stay safe! :) -Brooke

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Batool Hussain
15:48 Jun 23, 2020

Thank you so much, Brooke! I'm so glad that you liked it:) Stay safe!

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Batool Hussain
15:52 Jun 23, 2020

:)

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Kathleen March
13:54 Jun 21, 2020

The narrator refuses to let go of the reader, even though he is supposedly talking to himself. Reality is nicely suspended. Do check on comma usage and note that the verb is vanish (without away). The train is the perfect motif for the obsessive narrator.

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Batool Hussain
13:59 Jun 21, 2020

Thank you, Kathleen! I'll be grateful if you give views on my future pieces too:)

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Kathleen March
15:54 Jun 21, 2020

If you like, sure. You can also suggest ones you particularly want feedback on.

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Batool Hussain
16:09 Jun 21, 2020

Sure!

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Hriday Dhawan
08:35 Jun 30, 2020

Can you tell me how to paste a picture in your story?

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Batool Hussain
08:58 Jun 30, 2020

Hello! I'm glad you approached me so that I could be of some help. Just click on the picture you want to paste. Copy it and then paste it wherever in the story you want to do so! Also, do check out my recent story"The shape-shifter" when free! Have a good day!

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Uzonna Cyril
07:32 Jun 30, 2020

It's fascinating the ease with which you got the second person flowing all through unlike the struggle I had for days figuring how to make it and struggling not to deviate with the actual writing. Your link to meet paragraph was a sharp one and ran all through but the end was abrupt, not foreseen to be coming. And.......... What of poor Zita, maybe we fill that up. Lollll. Nice read. Missing ribs, dark night, chikamnene are to my credit, your criticisms will be welcomed.

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Batool Hussain
07:37 Jun 30, 2020

I'll surely check them out soon!

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Deidra Glaser
03:25 Jun 30, 2020

Hi! I just read your story and it was very fun to read. I was quite entertained. It was an easy read. I really liked how you were able to "show your story" and not "tell your story." I was really able to follow the character and actions in my head, Good job!

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Batool Hussain
08:03 Jul 01, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Vj Hamilton
01:02 Jun 30, 2020

You asked for comment on your story; here goes. I thought you evoked the place well with specific and vivid descriptions. The sense of deja vu grewe stronger as the story went on. I wondered: what the heck is going on here? Then boom, nice twist at the end.

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Batool Hussain
08:04 Jul 01, 2020

Hehe, thanks!

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22:29 Jun 28, 2020

You asked me to read, so Hi! The story is really unique. I have never read an story like this . I like how it holds like a bit of mystery and pieces the history slowly as the story progress. And then everything comes together with that last piece: Zita. Your story is really different and I personally see that as a good thing.

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Batool Hussain
00:44 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you:) Your comment means a lot!

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21:57 Jun 28, 2020

Great story! You did a great job of putting the reader in the narrators shoes. Definitely get a vote from me! If you don't mind, would you mind checking out my first story? I'd really appreciate the feedback.

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Batool Hussain
04:48 Jun 29, 2020

Hello! Thank you so much for such a sweet comment*_* I'll definitely check your stories out!

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Queensley Ofojetu
18:47 Jun 28, 2020

You asked me to read your story so here I am. The ending totally got me! I really enjoyed the story and also nice work with adding pictures.

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Batool Hussain
06:35 Jun 29, 2020

Thank youu

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Kathryn El Assal
18:21 Jun 28, 2020

My favorite parts of your story are the rhythmic words that mimic the train's motion: "Clickety-Clack. Clickety-Clack..." and the ending: "You and the train." "You and the train." One question: if your wallet was left in the cab, how did you pay for your train ticket?

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Batool Hussain
19:21 Jun 28, 2020

Thank you so much. He had bought the ticket beforehand ^_*

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Amuelle Aguilar
16:10 Jun 28, 2020

Hey I liked your story! It really talks about how trains rides are. I love how realistic it is. Your details about the different types of passengers in the train is good. From the old man, to the rude woman. It doesn't lack on emotion too. Thumbs up!

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Batool Hussain
16:53 Jun 28, 2020

Thank you so much, Amuelle! So glad that you liked itโค

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Kelechi Nwokoma
12:28 Jun 28, 2020

This is great. I love the way you wrote and the different scenes that happened in one train. That's truly awesome. The pictures are also different unique (why'd you do those) My issue here is that you should've spaced out the dialogue from the story. Overall, this is a great job. Keep it up!

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Batool Hussain
13:06 Jun 28, 2020

Thanks for the feedback๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ

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Kelechi Nwokoma
13:43 Jun 28, 2020

You're welcome!

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Tina Laing
04:21 Jun 28, 2020

A very nice story

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Batool Hussain
05:43 Jun 28, 2020

Thanks๐Ÿ™ƒ

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Nayab Ahmar
17:29 Jun 27, 2020

Love the story!! Itโ€™s well written and the integration of pictures is very unique!

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Batool Hussain
17:35 Jun 27, 2020

Thank you so much,Nayab.๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ Glad that you liked it๐Ÿ™ƒ

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Nayab Ahmar
17:49 Jun 27, 2020

Your welcome, Batool! ๐Ÿ˜

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Amiable Sorceress
13:45 Jun 26, 2020

The pictures are so cool! Great story and plot. There are a few things you could work on to make the story even better but as I was scrolling through the comments, many of them stated what I was going to say-but this story is amazing and really unique. Keep writing!!!

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Batool Hussain
14:21 Jun 26, 2020

Thank you! Do you mind giving your views on my future pieces too? Thanks.

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Amiable Sorceress
14:23 Jun 26, 2020

Sure!

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Aeliya Hussain
07:26 Jun 26, 2020

WoW! A great storyyy๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

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Batool Hussain
07:33 Jun 26, 2020

Thank you soo much!!

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Corey Melin
06:13 Jun 24, 2020

Very good read that keeps you captivated all the way through which is impressive from one who is into the action/weird/fantasy genre.

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Batool Hussain
06:22 Jun 24, 2020

Thank you so much, Corey! Glad that you liked it.

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Liza Silva
12:05 Jun 23, 2020

This was such a lovely read. The constant lacing in and out of the present while maintaining a sense of setting was nicely rendered. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

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Batool Hussain
12:13 Jun 23, 2020

Thank you so much, Liza:) Glad that you liked it. I read your first story too. It was great. Can't wait for more! Stay safe:)

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Katharine Tierney
20:05 Jun 22, 2020

Oooohh! Nicely done. Especially liked the dream-like quality...is the narrator dreaming? Where does reality begin and end? Very very good!!!

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Batool Hussain
06:55 Jun 23, 2020

Thank you so much, Katharine! Glad that you liked it:)

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Dobby's Sock
13:47 Jun 22, 2020

Due to the motherly element, it felt like the protagonist has been with the train since more than just the last three years but I could be wrong. I liked how the tail was spun, and more than that I wonder how it was conceptualized. I think, and it is a general observation to make, it would be a more pleasant structure if dialogues would start in new lines and not in continuation with exposition. I lack that too in some of my stories though. Would you mind checking out my stories and giving me feedback as well, on them?

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Batool Hussain
14:22 Jun 22, 2020

Thanks for the feedback, Dobby! Of course, I'll check the rest of your stories in a while:)

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