Chapter Two: The Station
by: Beth Koehler/Copy Editor
The train station was empty and dirty, signs that no one had been there in quite a long time. The dilapidated ceiling was caving in foot by foot, and the rails were caked in layers of dust. Abby blindly followed her fellow, silver-haired passenger through the building, too scared to head off on her own. The stranger turned to her, and stared at her from under their wide-brimmed hat.
“Why are you following me?” asked the stranger flatly.
“I don’t know where I am,” Abby replied.
“But didn’t you buy the train ticket to this place?” said the stranger, cocking their head.
“I don’t remember. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
The stranger hissed through teeth, “Poor thing,” and shook their head. “You’re in a town called Topsham, way out in the plains. Though this area is rather dead, I’ve heard. Practically turning into a desert.”
“There isn’t too much to do here. I’m here to visit a friend who lives here. If you’ve bothered to come all the way out here, you’re probably visiting someone.” The stranger frowned. “…I can’t imagine why else you’d come out here by yourself.”
“Yeah, maybe…”, Abby said. “Um, what happened on the train back there?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Seeing as you seem very confused about your surroundings,” the stranger coached gently, “perhaps you fell asleep and dreamed?”
Before Abby could respond, the stranger strode out into the sunlight. The person walked away quickly, obviously in a hurry. Abby froze in the doorway, staring into the town. It looked like something out of an old movie. The buildings were made of wood, the roads were made of dirt, and the air was full of grit. It was almost suffocating, but she forced herself from the doorway.
In the center of town was a well, and by the well sat a man with a banjo. He idly plucked at notes, not playing any tune in particular. When Abby approached the man, he looked up at her.
“Hello miss. Whatta nice lady like yerself doin’ ‘ere?”
“I’m not sure. Can you tell me a little bit about this town?”
“There ain’t much ta say, miss. This ‘ere town is filled with nothin’ but dust ‘n’ horses. An’ tha’ town hall up th’ way.” He nodded his head to the right. “Maybe th’ mayor c’n help ya. He’ll be getting’ off his lunch break soon.”