— Jenny Neill

Meet The Stranger

Note to anyone actually paying attention to when I make new blog posts: This is a fiction fragment. I’m posting it now in case I don’t get more time to work with it this evening. Busy day today. Also, be forewarned, this blog blog is likely to change.

Enter the Stranger

A woman, wearing a dark rain jacket, reaches in and grabs a pole to steady herself. The floor is slippery. The water from the rain shower collects in the grooves on the step as commuters cast it off their coats and umbrellas. In that same reflex to shed the wet, she tosses her head before pulling off first the waterproof hood, then the one from her sweatshirt.

She fiddles with the belt tied around her waist, untying the two ends while scanning the car for an empty seat. She sees only one, just three steps away if she can claim it before someone else does. In a graceful, “step, step, and sit” maneuver she simultaneously shrugs out of one of the straps of her backpack. The pack lands softly in her lap as she settles back next to the girl huddled next to the window.

She inhales and exhales deeply. Full but not crowded, the train has already started accelerating towards the next stop. The interior seems safer, brightly lit and warm, it smells faintly of wet leaves and mold.

Relaxing a bit, she pulls the white plastic shopping bag up and stacks it on top of the backpack. The bottom of the shopping bag lurches forward, into the turn, as the train rounds a curve.