To make sense of this story read Part 1 here.
Our hero continues his journey to Home Town…………..
My attention was drawn away from the mackerel smack, which had begun to list heavily, by a woman who had appeared at the entrance to the carriage. She too wore white foundation and poorly applied black eyeliner and was dragging rather theatrically, a large invisible load behind her. My neighbour peered over the top of his newspaper to watch.
As befits a gentleman I stood up.
“Would you like some help?” I said.
“Thank you, most kind.” She smiled. There was a pea stuck between her front teeth.
The imaginary suitcase was much heavier than it looked and I struggled to stow it in the overhead rack, jiggling with it repeatedly to ensure a secure stowing had indeed been effected. After I had managed to do so, I dabbed my forehead with a faux handkerchief. She nodded her thanks, sat and became engrossed in imaginary knitting; casting off and pearling like a good ‘un. I think it was a scarf or maybe the arm of a jumper or cardigan. I could not be sure.
I felt a twinge in my back as a result of my muscular chivalry. Been a martyr to my back since an early age.
I looked out to Sea and noticed that the spot where once a Smack puttered homeward, was now merely a glut of dead mackerel floating on the water’s surface. Gulls swarmed around this unexpected feast. The crew were now confined to Davey Jones Locket. Or is it Locker? I always get the two mixed up!
We pulled into Piddle Station, where another human statue was located on the platform. It was Napoleon. My favourite tyrant. The artiste bore an uncanny resemblance to the pudgy faced Corsican.
A woman boarded at Piddle. She spoke, “There, there Geoffrey, I’ll feed you in a minute.”
The woman wore rouge, eyeliner and also a shiny red clown’s nose. She carefully guided an imaginary pushchair down the aisle and spoke softly to its occupant, presumably Baby Geoffrey. Who was invisible.
She sat near the elderly couple and carefully picked up Invisible Baby Geoffrey, cooing to him, even bouncing the tot up and down, smiling as she did so. There was a baked bean stuck between her teeth. The old couple joined in and all three of them pulled strange faces and made gurgling noises at the fantasy infant.
“Do you mind if I feed him?” the woman asked.
“Not at all!” replied the old woman, although the old man flushed when it became apparent that Invisible Baby Geoffrey was still on the breast.
The old man looked at his wife and exclaimed, “Maureen look, the child carries the number of the beast!”
The skies blackened for a fleeting moment as Invisible, possibly satanic, Baby Geoffrey stared at me. If I could have seen his face no doubt I would have been very shaken.
Luckily, things settled down and the train rumbled along. The clouds were darkening further out to Sea and the terrain turned rockier and harsher. Inland was the old quarry and the ancient stone circle near Squelch where local legend tells of human sacrifices being carried out as recently as last Wednesday.
We drew into Widdle station to be greeted by the ghoulish apparition of another human statue, a dust ridden headless spectral with rusted chains sprouting around its legs and dripping from its arms. It was a very impressive display, the best one yet. I wondered where the performer’s head was in the costume and how he or she kept cool in hot weather.
Part 3 tomorrow……..