Creative Writing

Please Mind the Gap

LUKE: Mother, how far is it till we arrive? 


MARY is interrupted by a manic laugh from SAMUEL, a few rows behind them. He is talking to JOHN. They are both dirty and scruffily dressed. MARY sniffs as she looks about her, and pulls LUKE closer to her.

 MARY: I don’t know. It’s not like I’ve been here before, thank God. 

The train carries on, softly gliding on the tracks. SAMUEL laughs hysterically again as he walks down the train with JOHN. He swigs large amounts at a time from a glass bottle in a brown paper bag. 

SAMUEL: Don’t be ridiculous, John. It’s not like I killed a man! 

JOHN: You did cheat on her five times though, Samuel… [He sorts through a carrier bag full of phones] Look here, this one doesn’t even have a password! 

SAMUEL: What an idiot – and it’s eight. Eight if you include the three she doesn’t know about! [He laughs gruffly

MARY: [Hisses] We shouldn’t be here! We shouldn’t be on this train, with these people.

SAMUEL suddenly jumps up at a nearby passenger, and snaps his teeth at her

The train jolts to a halt, and a raspy voice blares out of a speaker. 

ANNOUNCER: You have reached your destination. Do not leave any personal possessions behind. Depart up the stairs on your immediate left on exiting the train. 

 MARY: Come on. [She hastily grabs LUKE’s hand and scurries off the train]

 People rush about everywhere in the terminal, bumping into each other and cursing. There is a large coffee shop, a book shop and a small newspaper stand.

 LUKE: Where are we? 

 MARY: [sniffs] I don’t know. 

 LUKE looks around for a few seconds before his eyes widen. He walks closer to the coffee shop, MARY never straying far behind. When he reaches it, LUKE presses his face against the glass of the pastry cabinet.

LUKE: I want the chocolate one, and the custard one, and oh, look there – at that raspberry one! I want them all! 

MARY: [sharply] No! We have to be on our way. 

As they walk on, they see rows of people forming seven queues. Above each are the headings: Lies; Sexual Immorality; Theft; Drunkenness; Gluttony; Revenge; Murder, all leading to glowing doors of different colours. HECATE waits at the back of the queues with a clipboard. 

HECATE: Luke to queue five; Mary to queue seven.

MARY sighs and walks away silently from LUKE, going towards the glowing red door marked MURDER. She doesn’t look back.


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About Author

Leia Butler

Leia Butler

February 2021
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