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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

By Danielle King


Meg was late again!

Snapping shut the mobile; she lowered herself precariously onto the cold metal seat. Unmanned stations were not the cosiest of places to linger on a chilly October evening as she’d tried to explain to Rob.

“But I can’t possibly pick you up tonight,” he’d barked down the phone. “I’m in a meeting. Call a taxi!”

“Thinks I do this on purpose,” mumbled Meg looking around the deserted platform. “And not even a lousy waiting room.”

A few golden leaves being tossed on the breeze chased across the platform and onto the track. The nights were drawing in quickly and as Meg had reminded Rob that morning, the clocks would be going back in three weeks time. British summertime would be over.

“Good.” retorted Rob glancing at his watch. “You might get to work on time!”

“DO NOT miss your train tonight Meg,” ordered Rob pulling up outside the office. “There’s been some funny carrying on after dark in the Bradford area recently.”

Meg leaned to plant a kiss on Rob’s cheek.
“You can’t go through life always looking over your shoulder Rob,” she told him. “You just have to get up and get on with it.”

Rob sighed at his young wife’s naivety.
“Meg, you’re far too trusting!”

A cold wind was picking up and rustling the trees behind her. At the opposite side of the track and across the field house lights flicked on at random as occupants returned from work.
The chill began to bite. Pulling on a pair of woollen mittens Meg wondered if perhaps a taxi would be worth the cost after all.
The sound of snapping twigs round the back of the glass shelter caused her to turn quickly. There was nothing to see!

“Hedgehogs,” she thought. “Snuffling for worms in the hedge bottom.”

She listened intently as the crunching leaves suggested that whatever was in there carried more weight than a hungry hog. Standing slowly and turning slightly, Meg carefully scanned the hedgerow that separated the platform from the overgrown wasteland behind. An icy blast of wind blew her long hair around, obstructing her vision.
In the dusky light Meg became aware of a figure standing a few yards along the platform.

“He must have stepped out of the trees. There’s nowhere else for him to have come from.” She reasoned, feeling ever so slightly edgy. “Perhaps there’s a short cut over the fields. Yes of course,” she consoled herself. “And he’ll be waiting for the Intercity. It’s due anytime now.”

Berating herself for her silliness, Meg pulled up the collar of her jacket and settled back down on the seat.
The man walked slowly along the platform towards her. The tannoy system startled her momentarily.

“Please stand well back from the platform. Fast train approaching.” Meg’s heart beat quickened.
“Please stand well back from the platform. Fast train approaching.” Repeated the tinny voice.

The man walked slowly around the back of the glass shelter. Beads of sweat began to form on Meg’s brow as the realisation hit her with a sickening thud.

“The Intercity to London doesn’t stop at this station!”

The man passed by very, very slowly and continued up the platform. Meg shot him a quick glance and realised that to put up a fight would be futile. He stopped, turned and began to walk back towards her ever more slowly, hesitating, looking all around and up and down the platform before taking a few more steps.
With trembling fingers Meg slid the mobile from the bag on her lap. The man fingered his breast pocket and stood quite still looking hard in Meg’s direction.
With thoughts spiralling rapidly out of control and hands shaking violently Meg fumbled with the keypad under cover of the bag on her lap.
The sound of the fast train could be heard in the distance. The voice on the tannoy repeated the warning,

“Please stand well back from the platform.”

The man looked agitated, excited as Megs mobile shook right out of her hands and onto the concrete. He moved forward, pace quickening. The Intercity came thundering down the line as he reached inside his jacket with urgency.

SNAP! ... Click ... SNAP! ... Click ... SNAP!

With a huge beam of satisfaction spreading across his face, the man carefully replaced his shiny new model, D – SLR inside his jacket pocket and strolled back through the bushes to the housing estate across the fields.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst02/19/10
I was on the edge of my seat, reading this one. Nicely written.

Altho' I'm trying to figure out how the title applied (an anorak is a jacket, right?) & I don't quite understand what happened at the end. Maybe some clarification on what a D-SLR is?
Noel Mitaxa 02/19/10
Very atmospheric in your description and how you've unwrapped the story. The suspense is very well built-up with a reassuring escape. Well done.
c clemons02/20/10
Had to read this one through twice. Needs a lot of work, I agree about having the tenseness thru out though.
Gregory Kane02/21/10
As evidenced by your American and Australian commentators,most people outside of the UK wouldn't be familiar with the expression of Anorak to describe a train spotter, plane spotter, etc. One of the challenges of writing for a worldwide audience!
Nevertheless a good story but plenty of tension.