It wasn't her fault that the train had rushed on past her stop; it wasn't her fault that she hadn't charged her phone that morning. Maybe it was her fault for travelling alone into a city which she shouldn't have...
And now she's stuck, in the dark, at the train station.
“Abi, pick up your phone,”.
It was not the first text sent, but it was certainly the most urgent. It was also her cry for help, but since her friend, Abigail, would not reply to the multitude of texts and would not answer any calls, it would be a cry unanswered.
Ellie was alone and bored. She hadn’t meant to miss her stop, but the carriage doors would not open in the way she was used to, and she had felt like an idiot standing behind the strange men who had no place to sit.
It also wasn’t her fault that the conductor had misinformed her, and so she had to wait another half an hour for the train…if it was coming at all.
The platform was so bare and it freaked Ellie out.
The light was a dim orange smudge against the night sky; a few dots of white led up a block of flats, but that was all of the surrounding illumination. More pale light flooded out from the waiting-room opposite, but on the same platform as Ellie, the waiting-room had been closed long ago and everything had been cloaked in a deep darkness.
The whirl of vending machines hummed nearby, blocking out the last music of the day-birds and the repetitive splash of rain that dripped slowly from the canopy above.
Indeed, Ellie converse shoes and trouser cuffs were soaked from getting off the Paddington train straight into a deep puddle.
Those puddles were scattered across the platform and deep from all-day rain. Ellie shivered uncontrollably as she sat on the hard, plastic bench, staring out, with her arms folded across her body, onto the ominous lines. Her nose had become so stuffed that she could no longer smell the cluttered city air, and her mouth was dry from the cold. Her hands stung, her arms were full of goose-pimples and her thighs hurt from being so stiff. The previous day she had pulled her right one doing an ice-skating trick. Her tutor had been disappointed, but that was the least of her worries now.
Because now her phone was running out of battery, and she was getting more urgent for any attention. Otherwise she might be here for the rest of the night.
Ellie hugged her designer handbag close, the rose-quartz heart and ‘E’ key-rings clanging together into the silence, whilst she thought of home and the steamy bath that was waiting for her. That is, if her sister had not used up all the hot water before going on her ‘big date’. Ellie hated college students.
Well, she thought, at least I’m not going hungry, and she fingered the bag of fresh cookies.
Ellie had always been the optimist.