The Time Travelling Train

This is a short story I wrote last night- only a couple of pages long.
Sophie is bound for the countryside, and when her train pulls into the station it is, simply, a rickety wreck from the Victorian era. Upon stepping onto the train, she sense something is wrong... and she's right.


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1. The Time Travelling Train

 

The train that pulled into the station was different. It was coated in a layer of bronze rust, and what was visible of the burgundy paintwork was peeling off. It was old, and seemingly in desperate need of repair. Smoke poured out of the funnel on the front carriage, the ashy tendrils reminiscent of curling fingers. The sudden smell of burning coal hung heavy in the air, and Sophie coughed and spluttered. She spilled the contents of her Starbucks coffee on the gum-plastered station tarmac. "I didn't think they even used these old things anymore," Sophie grumbled to herself, regarding the ancient locomotive which had squealed to a halt. She picked up her bag and went to take a seat on the train. 

Sophie was bound for the countryside; she was fed up of the great, polluted urban jungle that was London. She hated most aspects of it; especially all of the new skyscrapers like the Shard and the awful transport service. She wanted somewhere new to explore- she had dreams of a nice small village tucked away in the countryside where she could settle. A nice place, free from the hyperactive tourists and the crime and the commotion. Where there were rolling hills and picturesque scenery, instead of littered streets and grey skies. It would be great for art inspiration. 

When she stepped onto the train, Sophie realized she was the only one boarding from the platform. In fact, it looked as if nobody could actually see the train. Businessmen sat with their briefcases under the bench, staring straight through her. A line of foreign students leaned against the station cafe, and appeared to be looking through the train, to the next platform. Nobody even acknowledged the train. But wasn't this the only train that goes to this platform? Sophie wondered. They should be getting on. 

The doors, creaking in desperate need of oiling, rolled shut, sealing together with a loud Clunk!

Sophie observed the carriage: cobwebs were strung between the hideously colored walls, and the seats were of a worn crimson velvet. On the rusting luggage racks slept some tired looking Victorian style leather trunks. The whole carraige cried 'Antique'!

The only inhabitants of the train carriage apart from Sophie herself, were two people- an old man and a middle aged lady. The gentleman looked about seventy, wrinkles carved into his pale,whiskered cheeks. He wore a top hat on his head and a pristine black suit with an upturned collar. He clutched an ebony walking stick which had a raven head carved from the end. His ring-clad fingers rapped at the wooden stick, as if he was impatient for something.

The lady looked like she had freshly emerged from an old painting: she had a puffy-sleeved fuchsia gown and a matching ribbon in her hair, which hung in chestnut colored ringlets around her china-doll face. She had rosy cheeks and equally rosy lips. she was smiling but her eyes were dull, grey and lifeless.

Sophie, confused at the dress sense of the two passengers and the fact that they had not acknowledged her in anyway, took a tentative step back and plopped herself down in a seat. She wanted to remain unnoticed by her two fellow travelers; but the seat had other ideas. It let out a startling, embarrassingly loud creak as Sophie sank into it, drawing the old man and the young lady's attention to her. 

"Where on earth have you come from?" The old boy asked with a hint of a cockney accent. 

"Uh, Camden." Sophie replied, shocked at his lack of manners.

"She can't be English, just look at her strange attire!" Cried the lady. 

"I'm pretty sure I'm English..." Sophie said with a bit of anger in her tone. Who were these strange people to question her clothing, when they were in century-old posh stuff? 

"Oh. Strange." The man murmured, turning his attention back to the world outside of the glass window. I followed his gaze, and a gasp erupted from my mouth. 

"Where are we?!" Sophie demanded.

Outside, rushing by us in blurs, were old Victorian slum-houses. We sped past ladies shopping in patched, dirty gowns, shawls wrapped around their shoulders, and men cracking whips against horses that trundled along the cobblestones, dragging carts behind them. Peasant children offered wilted roses and fresh potatoes on the sides of the street, whilst the more upper-class citizens turned their noses up at them. The modern day superstores and markets had vanished, along with the modern-dressed people.

"Well, I dare say that myself. I hate these poor parts of London. Place is infested with filthy scavengers, eager to shove a hand in your pocket and pull out your wallet." The woman replied in a monotone voice. 

"No, where are we?" Sophie pleaded, earning herself a look of pity from the lady.

"Sir, I firgure we have a girl with a concussion on our hands. Oh, dear." She sighed. 

"My, we're simply heading out of London, to the glorious countryside thanks to this newfangled rail network!" The gentleman said, giving a better answer than the lady. 

"Oh," Was all Sophie could utter, as she was in a state of bewilderment. Had she just stepped- or train ridden- back in time?! 

The old man extracted a newspaper from between two seats, and unfolded it. The pages crinkled in protest. Sophie suddenly thought of a way to prove her time-travelling theory. 

"Excuse me," she said to the man. "But what year are we in?" 

The old man crinkled his brow, wrinkling his forehead even more, then thrust the front page of the newspaper in her direction so she could read the date at the top.

The man spoke again. "Dear girl, it's 1882."

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