The Journey

The three of us joined the train at Euston at 11.14pm; twelve minutes before scheduled departure and 53 minutes short of the end of this journey. We were nervous. Nobody who steps out into the dark can truly be without a little trepidation. The movement of the train from within its illuminated yet cavernous home and out into the darkness was akin to being cast out and swallowed in the maw of Erebus. Sleet rattled against the windows and chilled us to the bone. The likes of us were not afforded the luxury of a heated carriage.

For the first few minutes there was silence in the carriage, then the murmurs began. We hesitantly joined our voices in communion, uneasy with our new roles. We were strangers to each other who shared a common bond. The paradox was not lost on us, and now we needed each others’ support.

The youngest had been born with leukaemia, a legacy of her family living too close to Sellafield nuclear plant. Her DNA mutated by exposure to radiation leached into the environment. She was the poster girl for the anti-nuclear movement, always ready with a cheery smile even when bedridden. The woman next to her was a mother, but not her own. This formidable character would probably best be described as an eco-warrior; she had devoted most of her life to fighting against environmental degradation in all its forms.

Despite our now common destination, facing them in the carriage held echoes of a Charles Dickens novel. In this moment it was as if the ghost of Christmas past had drawn us together, with my aged form in the role of Scrooge. I … well … they humbled me. For what I had stood for was alien to them both. I had turned away from the environmentalist idealism of my youth and focused on the exploitation of the planet for humanity – efficient utilisation of resources we called it. Without realising it, my soul and body had become as twisted as my vision of the future. But that was finished. A new experience beckoned. Now we three disparate souls held a common desire for closure.

The train drew in to the platform, right on time. After what seemed an age, the attendants came to help us from the train – none too gently I might add. They guided us to a darkened corner of the platform, checked we were secure, and then they abandoned us for the warmth of their coffee.

The sleet had passed, leaving a void of sound that we no longer felt able to fill.

Shrouded in silence, we waited for the hearse.

The Journey


Joined January 2008

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 4

Artist's Description

Short story



Artwork Comments

  • Michelle Boyer
  • H Maria Perry
  • Mjollnir
  • Damian
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