TALL TALES, SHORT STORIES
Train of Thought
As a train races through the countryside, a man is disturbed by his thoughts as he sees his life passing him by. Is his despair borne of grief or madness?
The 10.15 East Coast train snaked wearily from the station as Andrew stared out of the window lost in thought. Stretching out along the tracks the city of featureless grey buildings rushed urgently from view clearing the way for a yawning expanse of green and yellow fields. Feeling he had space to think his mind travelled back a million miles to yesterday, a day when he had a destination in mind and a direction that seemed to matter. Now his journey was an aimless, random action; the instinctive movement of a drowning man afraid to sink beneath the surface of his despair.
Sitting back stiffly Andrew looked down the carriage and back across the aisle. A young Japanese couple embraced silently their hands eloquent and tender as they shared glances and smiles with ease. He saw Sarah-Jane in those smiles and touches as he saw her in most everything; the memory of her former intimacy his silent travelling companion.
Behind the Wall of Sleep
When your dreams can betray you, how do you live? How can you?
When I allowed myself a 20 minute respite, sleep came quickly but dreams were relatively rare, almost as though my brain could not stand to waste the chance of a complete rest. Sometimes there were nightmares, but it was hard to match the one I was living. In what seemed no time at all, I felt myself age at an alarming rate, as though I was burning my candle too bright and too long. My body ached and bowed, my mind strayed, leaving for ever longer journeys. Memories came and went, like tides of consciousness lapping against the dry sands of my history.
Over time, even the steady mundanity of life can exhaust and overwhelm you.
It started with cold feet. Nights were never relaxing, with work on the horizon, and the baggage of a weekend’s entertainment to deal with. Bed had proved a good option at this point but Paul’s feet were cold, as cold as ice in fact, as his girlfriend Katrina was forced to mention. The relevance of this fact would seem minor as many people have cold feet, and more besides, but in many ways this was just the start of something bigger. Paul woke at 5.30 much to his own disgust and with the alarm clock looming decided to bury his negative thoughts in a dream, in much the way that an ostrich buries his head in the sand. This seldom worked and it was no surprise, and certainly no comfort, when the alarm burst into life seemingly seconds later. It was 6.45. With the speed and accuracy of a striking cobra, the snooze button was activated. “Oh no” Paul moaned as he lay back and tried to make full use of the extra ten minutes at his disposal, “Why the fuck isn’t it Saturday yet”. It was Monday.