The Last Train

The sun has sunk below the horizon and the clear, cloudless sky is a thousand shades of blue and yellow and purple. Like a bruise. I lean against the veranda railing and stare out at the endless sea, feeling the moist breeze gently touching my hair.

It rained last night. And all day yesterday. Rained like it would never end. And now, the world has become a sea. Stretching in every direction away from this place: the only visible building, standing tall and wide, surrounded by infinite amounts of water. Even the train tracks are submerged. I look down, check my watch, and wait.

And there it is. The last train of the day, leaving this building, flying on the surface of the sea. Its sound is reassuring: the ‘clack, clack … clack, clack’ of its heartbeat and the wash of water under its belly. The train is looking forward, headlights shining on the water ahead like glowing eyes. It leaves behind a stretching wake in the shape of a ‘v’, gentle waves rolling outwards.

I watch the train until its song fades away and it becomes a smudge of grey on the horizon. Sighing, I sit down on the veranda and rest my head against the wooden bars.

One day, I promise myself, I will get on that train and leave this place. And I will never look back.

Every evening, I come out here. Every evening, I watch that train leave. And every evening I make the same promise. One day I’ll be free. But I know, in my heart of hearts, that I will never be able to leave here. And with each departing train my heart grows heavier. Closing my eyes, I sit still for a while, trying to empty my mind… trying to forget.

I stand and go inside, turning my back on the sea, the bruised sky and the train tracks. I turn my back on my own broken promises and try to get on with my life.



  1. I love the sense of not being able to leave this place. And “It rained last night. And all day yesterday. Rained like it would never end. And now, the world has become a sea.” It’s so beautiful.


  2. Very good Tan – mournful, sad, thoughtful – a good introduction to an interesting story…
    A little more detail about your person’s circumstances would have added to the drama?


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