The train station was misty and cold. That’s what happens when you finish work three hours late but with deadlines to meet. What else could she do? She had just landed her dream job. Despite her boss being a total creep, she knew that with putting in long hours and hard work she could really make something of herself. Even if that did mean putting up with the boss’s sour breath on her neck when he came into her office with the agenda of the day. Every morning she would sit on the corner of her bed and chant ‘Ashley, you will never nurture a baby. Your career is your baby.’ She took a magazine out of her bag and sat on the rusty metal bench. The man next to her twitched nervously as he pulled down his woolly cap. He tilted his head and gave Ashley a weak smile. She couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He looks so sad, she thought, and then she noticed the can of special brew that was resting in between his knees.
He coughed. ‘Keeps me warm.’
‘Don’t blame you. It’s freezing tonight.’ Ashley wondered if he even had a home? But then again, he was well-dressed—he just looked a bit troubled. He edged closer. Their legs almost brushed.
‘You work in Harpers. You were wearing that skirt on Tuesday.’
Ashley blushed at the thought that he might know she had worn it every day since Tuesday. Thank God it was Friday. She could put it in the wash to be ready for Monday. Hearing her train in the distance, she got up and straightened her clothes.
The train was packed. Only two seats opposite each other were free. Good, thought Ashley. I will be able to put my feet up. She kicked her shoes off to rest her feet on the seat, but the man from the station plonked himself down.
He offered his hand. ‘The names Peter.’
The way Peter was looking at her made her feel threatened.
Peter licked his lips. ‘The coat you wore on Wednesday really brought out the colour blue in your eyes.’
Ashley was thankful that she was getting off at the next stop. Now Peter really was starting to creep her out. ‘Well this is my stop.’ She raced off the train, taking the steps two at a time down to the street. Peter was hot on her heels. Ashley started to march the two minute walk home. She searched in her coat pocket for the front door key, but no, there was only the back door key. She raced down the poorly-lit lane, almost tripping over a fallen bin. She smelled stale beer. Then an arm wrapped around her chest. All she could see was black mist before she took her final breath.
Emma Doughty has had a love of writing since the age of ten years. Twenty years on, the passion to write keeps growing. At the age of fourteen, she wrote her first poem titled ‘From Black to Blue.’ She has written many poems inspired by her boyfriend Ben. Emma believes that the people she has met, whether good or bad, will make great fiction characters. She was born with mild cerebral palsy.