#3.3 – Still and Silent

#3.3 - Still And Silent
#3.3 - back
sent from: London, UK. destination: North York, ON, Canada

On a cold night I was walking along the train tracks.
“Where are you going?”
The speaker was a boy, no more than 11 or 12 years old, matching my pace and direction on the other side of the fence that divided the road from the tracks. From his accent I guessed he was North African. Algeria, most likely.
“Orsay,” I said. “You?”
“You’re going the wrong way.”
“I’m following the stations.”
“Why are you walking the tracks?”
“I don’t know the roads.”
“I can show you, if you want.”
I stopped, and my shadow stopped with me. The kid was dark against the streetlights. Down the tracks I could see the glow of another station. What was he doing awake at this hour?
“Last chance,” my would-be guide said. “I’m getting cold.”
My breath curled around me. I bent down and touched the tracks. They were still and silent.

M and I had a debate about this story. Is it a ghost story or not? As with many of my pieces of flash fiction (stories of a few hundred words) they end up being fragmentary and suggestive of a larger world without being able to describe it in any detail. I hadn’t started out with the idea of a ghost story, but I think that looking with that lens it has a completeness that it wouldn’t have otherwise. At the same time, to suggest that idea takes the reader down a narrower path than I had intended, even if it’s more of an incomplete fragment as a result. What do you think?

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