Flash Fiction Marathon (6): Parallel Lines

Thursday, 23 June 2016

To celebrate National Flash Fiction Day next Saturday (25th June). I am taking story prompts people send me and turning them into stories, publishing one a day.

Prompt 6 comes from Jennifer Harvey: A commuter walks to the end of the railway platform every morning and takes a photo of the railway track. Why?

 

Parallel Lines

He was doing it again. As he had done every morning for the last month, or at least every morning Jennifer had been in time for the 7.30am train.  She stood at the same spot each day – positioning herself to be in the exact place where the doors of the first carriage would open, guaranteeing her the best chance of a seat.  At precisely 7.13 each day, the tall man with crinkly hair and a slight Cumberbatchish look, emerged from the crowds, walked past her until he reached the end of the platform. He stood there for a few seconds, gazing at the tracks ahead before reaching into his pocket for his iPhone and taking a single photo. Then he turned round walked back past her and disappeared back into the throng. It intrigued her. He intrigued her. Every time he passed, she thought about asking him what he was doing but her courage failed her. Today she was determined to try.

*********

She was there again. As she had been most mornings in the last month, when Alec conducted his ritual before the 7.30am train. She was standing in her usual spot, positioned  for the exact place where the doors of the first carriage would open. A seasoned commuter like himself, after the best chance of a seat. At precisely 7.13 each day, he walked past the slim brunette, observing her smiling eyes, button nose, elfin cheeks,  before moving on to the end of the platform. There he stood for a few seconds, gazing at the track ahead, before reaching in his pocket for his i-Phone and taking a single photo. Then he turned round walked back past her to wait for the train in his usual spot where he post the image on his instagram page. It was pleasing ‘Parallel Lines’ was receiving so many likes, but not as pleasing as her. Today, he was determined to pluck up the courage to talk to her.

 *********

The man had taken his photo. He was turning. Her heart began to pump hard. He was walking towards her. Her hands were sweating. He was inches away from her. She must make her move now. He was upon her. She froze, unable to look at him. The moment passed, and he was gone.

*********

He had taken his photo. He turned towards her. His heart began to pump hard. He was drawing near her. His hands were sweating. He was inches away from her. He must make his move now. He was upon her. He swept past, unable to stop. The chance was gone, he moved on down the platform.

*********

The train arrived. The doors opened and she climbed on board, gaining no satisfaction from finding a seat. She should have said something. Why didn’t she say something? The train pulled away from the station. ‘Oh well,’ she thought. ‘There’s always tomorrow.’

*********

The train arrived. The doors opened and he climbed on board, gaining no satisfaction from finding a seat. He should have said something. Why didn’t he say something? The train pulled away from the station. Oh well...there was always tomorrow.

 

Thanks Jennifer for the prompt which had me tussling till I found this format.

If you'd like to give me a prompt leave one below or on my Facebook page (Virginia Moffatt)

To find out more about National Flash Fiction Day please visit their website http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/

The National Flash Fiction Day anthology 'A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed' is now on sale.

On Saturday 25th June I will be Writer in Residence at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 34, Walton Street, Oxford. Come down between 12-4, buy a book and order a piece of flash fiction while you're at it. All welcome.

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