By Baker Street
The station building is like a giant shed. The pigeons nest high up on the beams, and occasionally fly and flutter high above near the roof of the building. To the south the tracks open up on the outside world, and the veldt. To the north, one’s view is obstructed by railway buildings. Inside the great building the world is overcast in shadow, outside the sun is blistering hot.
Vendors walk around and sell snacks and cold-drinks to the passengers. They stop at every carriage where passengers are seated, and ask if they would like to buy something. Occasionally someone would purchase something from one of them. A loudspeaker above on a beam, announces the arrival and departure time for trains. First there is the sound of a gong on the speaker, and then the announcer says, “The next train for Centurion and Johannesburg will depart at ten-forty-five.”
This is the train that is standing waiting inside the station, next to platform number two. The passengers entering the turnstiles of the station hurry to take their seats, as there is only five minutes left before the train pulls out. Their shoes clackle on the bare concrete floor of the platform, as they walk and jog, and then jump into their respective carriages.
A few minutes more pass, and then the signal light turns red, and the trains doors close. It pulls out with a suppressed roar, and the carriages get a single jolt, as the train moves out. Soon its wheels are rolling rhytmically on the tracks, and the engine pulls the carriages smoothly out of the station, towards their destination.
The station building remains silently behind, like a giant ghost house. It stands bare and empty, except for the few vendors that are left wandering about, waiting for the next train. The sound of someone’s footsteps echo lonely across the vast hall. The floors are polished bright. Here and there faint background noises echo off the high walls and the roof.
Now, for a short while, the station is quite, serene and sterile. But soon there comes the metallic rush of wheels on rail, as another train comes rambling in from the north...