The Vanishing Station

William took the same train every day. Before his face had fully woken up, so that his jaw hung slack; before his stomach had steadied enough to eat, he would catch the train. He would gaze bleary eyed, as each day Bromley South, Bickley and St Mary Cray stations whizzed past on his way to Blackfriars. There, he would shuffle out with every other groggy commuter, bad moods huffing about them, mingling with the pollution.

Then one day the train didn’t stop at Bickley. William barely noticed, he had only a vague sensation that he got to Blackfriars too quickly. The next day his eyes were staring thoughtlessly out of the window as Bickley was flung past again, too fast, as if it wasn’t there.

It was three days before he remembered to look properly out of the window. What he saw was a dead town. The train didn’t even slow down, so it was struggle to see, but he saw: windows charred, cars flipped over on their backs like dead beetles. He tried to catch the eye of his fellow passengers, but they were each lost to technology, the real world was of no interest.

Over the days William put the flashed blurred images together in his mind to create a whole of what Bickley had become. There were no people, no movement, no birds. Once a pigeon was flying alongside the train. As they reached Bickley station, it dropped to the ground like a stone.

He tried googling the station, but was asked, ‘Do you mean Buckley’ as if Bickley didn’t exist at all. Without the Internet to help him, he wasn’t sure where to go. He didn’t know anyone in Bickley. He tried asking guards at Blackfriars, but they looked at him blankly,

“What? Hinckley?”

William wondered if he should go there, get off at Bromley South and walk. Then he remembered the bird. So he stopped wondering. When Bickley station drew close, he would fold his attention to his phone and keep it there.

As months passed, Bickley was slowly erased. The Bickley signs came down. The platforms disappeared. Then the houses. Soon where was once was Bickley, now was a fence and Japanese Knotweed growing. Reclaiming.

21 thoughts on “The Vanishing Station

      1. Thank you. I hadn’t heard of 1Q84, but looking it up, it’s Murakami and the few books of his I’ve read, I’ve liked very much. I shall seek this out. 🙂

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    1. I’m very sorry for slow reply, I didn’t see this. Thank you for comparing me to Murakami, he’s a very good writer, although I haven’t read his stuff in a while, you (and Sarah below) have inspired me to search him out again. Have a lovely day! 🙂

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  1. I love how the story starts off so quietly, so almost hum-drum, mundane, ordinary – JUST in voice – the writing is wonderful – and then the moment when everything shifts? – Even this is just a “nod” – which just goes to prove that point of view, and tone of narration, as well as the ever important “conflict” point necessary in a story – it doesn’t need to be a sound thrashing about the head.

    Your ability to suggest and imply, it is so subtle, – yet so well done – you “know” nuance – and this speaks again, to your abilities as a writer. 😀

    Great story – and I do so love how you just put these little pieces together so very well.

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    1. No! I have no problem with Bickley at all! I just chose a train line I know and a station small enough to convincingly vanish. I’m sending happy vibes out to the inhabitants of Bickley as I write 🙂 (glad you liked the story also, thank you!)

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      1. intriguing story and great pace and pathos, also excellent graphics in your blog, glad to have popped in. I’ve found the 500 word blog post ideal for practising different modes and styles of writing and generally just having fun.

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      2. Thank you, I’m glad you like it. I thought keeping a story to 50 words would be tough (and it was at first) but, like you say, it gives room for playing with ideas.

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  2. Boo! (As in “Boo! Did i scare you?”, NOT “Boo! Down with this sort of thing!”, just so you know)
    I dig this spooky idea. I kinda want the story to not end there; i want to know what happened to Bickley! But i also like that i don’t know. And yes, i’ll agree with some of the comments above; the subject matter is indeed a bit Murakami-ish. I read his stuff for the first time only very recently! It’s always hard to tell how much of someone’s style is lost in translation when it’s originally written in a language other than the one i’m reading it in, but i certainly enjoy his imagination. He does a lot of that unexplained mystery stuff, too. I enjoy that feeling of not knowing.
    Loving the new header, too, btw!
    P.s. I’ll slowly get around to catching up on all your other posts too; i’ve been busy organising an interstate move. I’ll be an inconsistent wordpresser for a bit, but hope to be back a bit more regularly sometime soonish. In the meantime, keep up the writesies and stay inspired!

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    1. Hi Siddie, always lovely to hear from you. 🙂 At first I thought you’d written ‘interstellar move’ and I think that’s fits well, I can imagine you zipping about the universe with your suitcase. I’m a little inconsistant at the moment with writing too, so hopefully I’ll see you soon the other side and we can exchange interstellar tales. 😀 And thank you for saying you like the new header 🙂

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      1. haha, yes- Interstallar! I’m the new Dr. Who! ( about time they had a lady doc, i reckon!)
        I hope to set aside a bit of time tomorrow eve to devote to wordypress catchups n such. I do quite miss this place…
        No worries! Always dig yr arties 🙂

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