Originally titled The Last Train, this story was scripted and staged as a Radio Play during Thriller Night at Theatre Gwaun in Fishguard, Wales. Now re-edited specially for Wattpad, it is released under the new title, 'End of the Line' - The first story in my London collection.
End of the Line - A Dark Tale
At the time it seems like a good idea - at the time. The end of a long week kissing ass and someone says, coming for a quick one? Except it never is a quick one, is it? One leads to another and then: "Crap, got to run or I'll miss my train." I grab my coat and run, not hearing the parting jibes from the others. I ride the underground three stops to the station. I'm not really in the right frame of mind to run for a train and I don't have time to take a leak: that's going to be a problem, but Chances are the carriage will be empty and I can go out the window. As I turn the corner to take the escalator up to the main concourse a filthy vagrant looms out at me; "spare some change, mate."
And as I run by him, I shout, "I'm not your mate. Why don't you get a fucking job?"
A dark look on his face, the vagrant watches the young man disappear then makes his down the tunnel to find a spot to sit out the night. The main concourse is empty, an oppressive blanket of melancholic stillness a far cry from the writhing sea of humanity that usually occupies this space. I run for platform 9, crash through the barrier and just as the train lurches away, hurl myself through a carriage door. It is one of those shitty, sad old commuter trains, smelling stale, metallicy and greasy. It is an enclosed eight seat compartment: only way in, or out, through the door I just fell through. I clunk the door shut and fall into a seat. I am not alone. The train lurches away. My companion says, "you cut that fine, you did, now."
He is a slight man in his late fifties but looks like he can handle himself. He has an Irish accent and he is wearing the distinctive white collar of a cleric. Not my first choice of a travelling companion!
"You a vicar?" I say, stating the obvious; alcohol has put my mouth before my brain.
"A priest," he returns.
"Oh, I see. Bat for the other side, do you?"
He says, "not sure I know what you mean?"
I chuckle, adding, "my aunt Ethel was a Catholic; her folks came from Dundalk. You ever see Father Ted?"
He frowns, his eyes hard, "not all Catholics are Irish, you know, there are over 800 million of us – that's Catholics, not Irish."
Back pedalling, I offer, "oh, yes, sure, of course I didn't mean any offence, it's just that you kinda associate Irish with being Catholic, don't you?"
He says, "do you, now. Hm, well now, I suppose... As to Father Ted, I take it you mean the Television show, which I have seen and it is very funny and there is a little bit of truth in it."
Laughing, I imitate one of the characters from the show, putting on a tacky Irish accent, "will you have a cup of tea now Father?"
Coldly, he answers, "as it happens, I don't drink tea!"
The train trundles on, clickity-clack-clickity-clack, the suspension creaking and groaning; the carriage lurching as it crosses points; the harsh light of the carriage making the blackness without, impenetrable.
Brushing his trouser leg, the Priest says, "you're a very forward young man; perhaps, maybe, you've had a few?"
I tap my nose, saying, "ah, you're an astute one, Father. Can I call you Father?"
The priest nods, "You may, I'm Father Ergrid. And what do I call you?"
"Bran, well it's Brandon, but my mates call me Bran."