The sound of a steam-whistle fills your ears and you quickly lift your hands to cover them, blocking the sound out before its shrill pitch can hurt you any longer.
A man with a sheep tucked under his arm barges past you, and whatever dark had been obscuring your view to the train beforehand now is lifted away and you can see where it is you have found yourself.
“Tickets please…” are the words that echo above your head from a bright red speaker that matches the sheen of the engine mere metres away from you. The train stretches the length of the platform, though that stretches out as far as your eyes, as sheltered as they are, can see, one constant edge of cream-coloured cement. Behind you, instead of any door from which you’ve comes, you see a shabby, but simply handsome, station-building, red-brick neatly piled without a stain, and topped with a black, slanted roof, a tin-foil hat for a place of peace.
A station-master strolls past you, a cap tight on his head and a whistle somewhere between his hand and his mouth, before he stops suddenly, and turns to you.
“Are you getting on the train?”
“Umm…no,” you stammer, “I don’t think so…”
“Well, move along,” he says, moving you aside with a flick of the wrist, as if by magic.
You find yourself listening ever more intently, even as his whistle yells into your ears. The sounds start to become mixed around in your mind. A sheep’s voice is melting into a voice tinted with royal mockery- “a memorandum of your feelings…” and the speaker above seems to be stuck asking for tickets. As a smile appears on the front of the train, you wonder if it is trying to tell you something.
“This is madness!” you cry, blocking your ears again.
And, as you look up enviously at the people packed onto the padded seats of the steam engine, safe away from the antiphony of sounds, you lock eyes with a beautiful lady. All you see is a swish of bright white hair styled high above her head (as she is sporting the same strange fashions you’d expect from this place) and held into place with what looks like a golden tiara, a pointed chin, and a lace-gloved hand that waves you onwards. Then the red curtain is pulled back, obscuring your view of the maiden.
What do you do next?