The intruder

My back aches. I cannot blink. One second will give them the advantage. Moisture slips between my hand and the baseball bat. I grip it tighter.

‘I told my friend I’d be back inside in two minutes,’ I say to the shadow hovering by the shed ‘If I’m not back by then, he’ll have called the police. Just go. Please. I don’t want any trouble.’

They deliberate. I grip the bat with both hands and step forward. I don’t look like much, but they turn and run for the open gate.

I wait a moment to be certain, but they’re gone. I check the lock on the gate, before dragging my heavy wheely bin behind it to block it. The locks completely broken. I’ll have to fix that tomorrow. I look at the old tin shed, unfazed by the night’s events. My secret is still safe.

Back inside, I lock the door and admire the silence of being alone once more. The motion light for the garden turns off. I prop the bat by the door, and suddenly smell the burnt baked beans I’d left on the stove.

‘Bollocks,’ I say softly, now think of murder.


The station 

‘Do you think they’ll call?’

‘No. Why would they?’

We stirred our tea and shared a glance, before looking opposite ways. Me at the trees on the road and you at the train track.

‘But what if they do-’

‘They won’t. How could they?’

You chew your lip, eyes narrowing ‘What do you think they’re thinking right now?’

I shrug and drain half the cup ‘If I knew I’d be a clairvoyant not a disbanded servant.’

You kick your feet, the rhythm the same as a heartbeat. Your pale ginger hair glows: it’s almost as if you’re wearing a halo. You sip tea: bitter. You add more sugar. You move the brew over your tongue and pull a face ‘How do they drink this?’

‘Why do they do anything?’ I say bored. This isn’t the reaction I’d expected. We’re alone but in the background, the people out there are getting louder.

‘Do you think they saw us?’

‘I would say so.’

A pause. More people are cramped on the platform, blocking our view out of the window now. On the other side, flashing lights and gentleman wearing green and yellow. Neither side notice us sat in the closed down café. I wager no one will.

‘Do you think he anticipated the train?’

‘Yes, that’s how they commute.’

‘But then I don’t understand-’

‘You don’t need to understand. It’s done. There is nothing that can be done now.’

‘But why did he step backwards if he knew the train was imminent?’

I stare at you, placing my cup back on the table ‘You screamed that you had killed his dog then tried to hand him the remains. The only normal thing to do was get away from you.’

You look down at the blood on your top, before looking back at the platform ‘Fragile things aren’t they?’