Write With Me #5 – The Murder on the Train

A scream echoes across the platform. At first we thing it’s the conductor’s whistle. By the time we realise what it is, we’ve already left the station. The girl lies dead in the space between carriages. Her blood paints the grey carpet, her skin lily-white in contrast. No one tries to help her. It’s clear she’s dead.

The conductor orders us back to our seats. We’re all put off the train at the next station so we can talk to the police. I have nothing to offer them, so they let me go.

Life goes back to normal for everyone but the girl on the train. I still get it every morning at 7am. I look around at my fellow passengers but we never speak. They are the same people, yet never mention that day.

They called her Lindsay. She was twenty-one, studying English Literature, and working part-time as a nanny. Now she is just the girl on the train.

The police call again, about a month after it happened. I passed her on the way in, according to the CCTV. Do I remember the man she was with? I wrack my brain, but I don’t even remember her. They give me a phone number, but I don’t call it.

It’s the same people on board every day. I want to ask them if they remember him, but I don’t.

I don’t go to her memorial at the university. It wouldn’t be right. That should be for the people who knew her in life, not death. Instead, I keep clippings of the articles from the paper about her, fascinated by their descriptions of yellow dresses, older boyfriends and a summer volunteering in Uganda.

I wonder if I will every forget about Lindsay. I wonder if my fellow passengers will too, or if they already have.

They never find the man she was with. I study the other passengers each morning. Any one of these men could be him. Why can’t the police find him? I want to ask these men if they knew her, but I don’t.

I’m not a hero. I’m not a detective. I’m an office-worker, a commuter, a passenger – to my own life, as well as on this train. A bystander. They could kill a thousand girls on this train. He could kill a thousand girls on this train. And every single time I would be too later. I would watch and wonder. 7am would come and go, just like Lindsay’s life, just like mine. And would still just be people on trains.

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photo credit: Miradortigre Skånetrafiken via photopin (license)

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