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An Encounter on the Train to Oxford

An encounter on the train to Oxford

Estimated reading time — 5 minutes

The train is leaving in two minutes. The young girl hurries along the platform. Evening travellers pack the station. She is small and can wriggle her way between the briefcases and linen jackets. A heavy carriage door swings open. A dash to the step, she hikes up her short denim skirt and climbs in, squeezes along the corridor until a space opens up against the luggage rack. Passengers stack themselves along the walls. The London to Oxford train is over-flowing.

A subtle shift, a swift gathering. The train’s movement is smooth and hurries away from the station. It’s a twenty-five-minute ride to Slough, the first stop on the way to Oxford. The window in front of her frames a beige vista. London bricks, dirty grey railway lines running alongside, under, back again, distressed wood, bleak wires, sooty black birds in rows. Her companion passengers on this journey sit on fat suitcases, hang onto chrome support bars, cling to each other, drape over seat backs …

The familiar blue and white sign slides by the window, Slough Station. Before the train comes to a halt, the departing passengers chivy each other out of the corridors and the closed compartments. Swing open the weighty train doors, lump and bump their suitcases down the steps and onto the concrete platform. She watches them drift away, then wanders the carriage, looking into each compartment for occupants. To travel alone is risky and now the corridors are empty. She prefers to mingle with others as her shield.


There are a couple of business executives in pinstripe grey suits. A woman with a little girl beside her and an older lady wearing a straw summer hat with a silk flower tucked into the brim. A space between the two city workers suits her fine. The tang of cologne wafts from one man, rather pleasant. She swings her cross-body bag in front of her and settles in for the rest of the trip.

Reading Station is next. After that, Oxford and a short walk home. She relaxes and absorbs the sky and clouds flashing by in a stream of kaleidoscopic colour. Evening summer light hangs on for hours. It means she can spend more time in London on her days off work.
Her eyes droop as the train’s rocking motion cradles her towards sleep. She senses a slowing on the approach to the station. A purse clasp clicks open, a newspaper crinkles as it folds. The passengers rise and reach for their bags and coats lodged in the racks above. The agreeably scented gentleman pushes open the compartment door and gestures with his hand to the two women. They nod and smile as they pass, pulling the little girl with them. The other businessman gives a curt inclination of his head as he brushes by her knees and exits, hauling the door closed behind him.

She is alone. A whistle blows, a loud slamming ripples along the platform as the conductor shuts doors, a lurch and the train heaves into motion. From here, it is a brief trip to Oxford. She stays relaxed on the bench, lulled by the gentle sway, the darkening sky her only entertainment.

The door slides open. And shuts.

A man with flecky, straggly hair angles himself across from her, lounges up against the padded compartment wall. Wary of him, she shifts toward the closed door.

At the exact moment her body slides down the coarse material of the bench, the man rears up, shoves one foot back hard against the window, lunges across the space between them, and latches his hands over her summer shirt and onto her breasts. He uses his grip to pull their bodies tight together and crouches over her, his pale face flashes too close, brown eyes sleepy with lowered lids, mouth ajar, dried spittle dots the corners, his coated tongue visible. Stares through her.


His claw-like fingers grip her soft flesh in a vise. Squeezing, bruising, hurting. The wrenching causes the top button of her blouse to break off and ping to the floor. Her body frozen, she widens her gaze for a second.

As she glares into his face, she breaks her freeze, thrusts her arm between them and grasps the pinky finger of his right hand.

In furious silence, tightens her grip, yanks it backward with meaning. To the point of breaking, and the threat is sure. His crouching body flinches, he grunts in irritated surprise and loosens his hold a fraction, shifts back…

Up she bounces, angles away and under his unbalanced torso, peels the damaging nails from her skin, flings his pinioning arms from her adrenaline-pumping body …, back upward and swings out, catches the latch and releases the lock, shoves the glassed door until it slams against the compartment wall, tumbles through to the empty corridor, and runs.
She runs without looking back. Sliders divide the carriages, and she shoves them apart, racing away from the danger. At the end of the next carriage, she spies a bathroom. It sports a beacon, a green Vacant sign. She hurries between the rows of seats filled with oblivious travellers, and locks herself in the utilitarian space. She’ll stay here, safe in this tiny haven, until the train reaches Oxford.

Closing the lid of the toilet, she sits and considers herself in the mirror. For several minutes does nothing but study her reflection. She pulls her bag over her head and places it on the sink counter. With hesitant fingers, she pulls apart her torn blouse and scrutinises her bare chest. On each breast, where his fingers gripped, five raw red circles glow.


The bruises on her breasts will darken and fade, but the bruise to her mind will never leave.

George glared at the woman seated on the other side of the desk. Her long white jacket buttons all the way to her neck, nothing to see there. The doctor’s office is small enough to be a closet but there is room to squeeze in a desk and two chairs. Black plastic framed certificates hang on the walls. A square box of tissues decorates the one minuscule table, along with a bud vase containing a white rose.

He knows what she is going to tell him. He has cancer. The type that one in eight hundred men develop.

Several months ago, he noticed the skin on his chest felt tight. One of his nipples turned inward, and the other bled. Months went by and he pretended nothing was wrong. The skin became scaly and red. He made an appointment at the local clinic for six weeks away. You couldn’t get into a doctor’s office for love or money these days. And really, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

But wishes and hopes don’t stop time and now he is going to hear something he won’t like.
The woman pushes her monitor toward him, motions him to sit forward, and taps her ballpoint pen on the screen.

“You have an unusual form of infiltrating lobular carcinoma. It has metastasized from your milk ducts to different areas of the breast. These tumours are forming a pattern I have never come across before.” She looks straight at him. This part of her job is difficult. Telling a patient how they will die.

“See here,” she touches a dark, round discolouration on the x-ray. “This is a lump, so is this, and this.”


The pattern on the screen mesmerizes George. Surrounding each nipple, he makes out five opaque-grey blotches. Ten bruises, ten fingers.

He remembers the girl on the train, so long ago.

He knows these bruises will never darken and fade.

Credit: Rose C Rushbrooke

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Please note the author of this Creepypasta does NOT give permission for it to be used for any video narrations or podcasts

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