I decided to practice my character building in this short story about a girl waiting at a train station, thinking about the day ahead of her.
Hailie was never late for anything. In fact, she was chronically early because the last thing she wanted was for people to be waiting on her. It would be embarrassing and if she was completely honest with herself, the thought of leaving the house without half an hour’s extra time filled her with anxiety.
I could miss my train, she thought. She had a hand wrapped tightly around her bag strap. It was a leather messenger bag with a large brass buckle. She checked that her bag was closed, which it was. There were a lot of people crowded along the platform and any one of them could be a pickpocket.
Jessica, her older sister would tell her not to trust anyone. She would have told her to put a padlock on her bag if it wouldn’t have looked completely ridiculous. Jessica was 26, nine years older than herself and was protective of her little sister, often contributing to Hailie’s nervous disposition.
Hailie and Jessica were both tall, slim and had red hair. They were similar in all aspects except Jessica was more outspoken and sure of herself. Jessica reassured her sister that she would grow more confident as she got older and would care less about what other people thought. Hailie hoped this was true, she looked up to Jessica more than anyone else.
Hailie looked up at the train departure board. 7:32. Her train would arrive in 12 minutes and she began to think about the day ahead of her. She had double Biology first. She sighed. She was sure she was doing the right thing by choosing to study science. There would be more opportunities for her if she did, like university or a ‘proper job’. Still, she couldn’t help feeling out of her depth and completely powerless because she didn’t know what else to do. The thought of disappointing anyone or turning up opportunities others didn’t get made her feel incredibly guilty.
‘The next train to arrive is the 7:44 service to …‘ Hailie moved closer to the platform edge. She watched as people with suitcases pushed to the front, eager to find space for their luggage.
‘Calling at Narlington, Ashlowe, Silverbeach ...’ did she remember to pick up her house keys? She thrust her hand into her bag and patted the small side pocket. She heard a jangle. Phew. She’d never forgotten her keys before and would have checked before she left the house. The confirmation, however, eased her anxiety slightly.
The passengers piled onto the train. Hailie took a seat next to a young woman who reluctantly moved her bag for her. The woman, Hailie observed, was wearing a suit dress with a name tag pinned to her blazer, Marianne. Marianne had a hardened expression on her face. Hailie put her headphones in and blocked out the grey carriage for the next fifteen minutes.