London train : A Whiff of Mystery
“We have reached London,” announced the inspector with a bushy moustache and steely eyes. He had a golden-chained watch around his wrist, and was constantly checking the time as if his life depended on it.
As I clambered off the train, I observed something uncanny. In addition to the typical food shops that dotted the platform like scattered insects, I observed how the ground was typically moist as it had rained the night before. The sky was still heavy with fog, reminding me of a bride with her face partly covered by a wedding veil.
A mysterious man with a half-masked face was positioned in the corner of the platform with surprising poise and elegance. His fiery red eyes were darting from one place to the other, like a bug that had lost control of itself in the midst of spring. For some reason, I could not stop looking at him. He did not seem like a drug dealer or kidnapper, and his innocence was surprising. I would say that it was his apparent ordinariness that made him look so extraordinary, because he was trying very hard to be ordinary and fit in the landscape.
If he was a criminal, why would he be out and about during the day where he could easily be caught? Thus, I disqualified this possibility from my mind, and continued observing him. I noticed that he kept on blinking his eyes. Maybe, it was because the sun was shining brightly and hurting his eyes.
The human in me overtook my being, and I walked over to him. “Sir, are you alright? Can I get you something? Water, or eye medicine perhaps?” I asked him.
My question fell on deaf ears, and the man did not budge one bit. He kept looking ahead, and blinking relentlessly. It seemed as though his relentlessly blinking eyes, his increasing pulse rate, and the speed of the coming-and-going trains were racing against each other. Curious, I went to a neighboring stall to ask about him. “Oh! He used to be the Station Inspector here decades ago. My great-grandfather used to work with him. He’s not much of a sight anymore. Not many people see him. Rumor has it that he shows himself to only very selective people around. I wonder what is so special about us,” said the shopkeeper, looking at me pointedly.
I chose a comfortable spot on the platform, and kept looking at the man. A moment later, he checked the time on his watch, and sat down abruptly. Then, he gazed at the trains – and blinked at them: once, twice, thrice.
The trains zipped past instantly, and when he stopped blinking, they jerked to an instant halt. I realized that he was controlling the trains with his eyes!
This was too much for me to bear.
Overwhelmed, I decided to head to a hotel to take a short nap. As I munched the delicious hotel buffet, I tried to forget what I had seen, and tried to tell myself that it was a bad dream. However, I could not forget the man who could control trains with his eyes. Consumed by curiosity, I came back to the platform to see what the man was up to now. I checked my watch, and noticed that it was 3:45 am. All the trains had departed, and there was just one train with its painting peeling off, that was going around in relentless circles. I had never seen this train before, and it almost seemed as though it was a vehicle from the fairy world. I saw that the man was huddled up on a bench, with a faded blanket pulled over his knees. I tried to wake him up, but my hands passed through his body.
Almost instantly, I paused. Before my eyes, his slender silhouette crumpled into dust. In his place, a young boy almost magically appeared.
“Good bye, dad. Your shift is over. I will take over the railway station now,” he murmured, and I realized that he was a striking resemblance of his father – the man who controlled the movement of the trains with his eyes.
The boy positioned himself in the center of the platform and crossed his legs. He began waving his fingers awkwardly, and simultaneously clapped his hands.
Suddenly, I realized that the boy was controlling my movements.
As he snapped his fingers, I realized I was moving up and down.
Up and down. . .
Right and left. . .