Snakes or Ladders – extract

“Mitty was next to a window, staring unseeing as the suburban backyards blurred past, not noticing the people around her.  The carriage was quiet as the train rushed towards the mountains and the end of the day. Lulled by the movement and regular churn of the trains’ wheels, her mind drifted into a pleasant wordless reverie.

His voice was a blow, echoed by the dull thud of his large lunch box landing on his outer knee.

“So I caught ya again, girlie.” The horrible coarse man was leaning into her, pushing against her and whispering hoarsely into her ear.

“I know what y’re like, under ya pretty clothes and ya high-and-mighty face. I know wot ya want, and I’m gonna giv’ it ya.”

Just like before, he pushed his thick hand under her skirts, and grabbed her leg up high. Every part of her body shrunk away, tense with a fear never experienced before. But her rigid thigh was helpless against the claw pressing into her flesh.

Smiling and nodding, his voice continued in the tone of a quiet conversation.

“I been watchin’ ya. I saw ya weeks ago, an’ I said t’meself, ‘She’s tha one. Me special girl.’

I been thinkin’ about ya’ an’ tryin to guess wot train y‘d be on. An’ now I gotcha.”

As the words fell quiet and piercing into the air his stumpy fingers kneaded Mitty’s thigh and moved inch by inch up higher towards something frightful and unthinkable.

She stretched and strained away from him.

Speechless with fear, she tried to get up but he heaved his heavy body closer over her. His large greasy lips were close and his hot breath surged across her skin. “I fancy ya. I’m gonna get ya. Y’ll be my li’l girl.”

Shouts sobbed in her brain but no sound came.

At the same instant blackness hit them. A wet writhing stump of a tongue plunged hard into her ear. Her head banged against the window, and the day returned.

Her cry was part of the gasp and laughter as the passengers, as usual, fell for the sudden tunnel ambush.

“A bit o’ a taste for ya, eh? Y’re a tease and I like tha’!”

Horrified and sickened, but fearing still the reactions of the others in the carriage, she tried not to scream aloud as she hissed towards his fat red face. “Go away! Get away from me!”

***

“Oh, urgh!” Mitty’s wail burst out over her fear of drawing attention to herself.

Everything about him, and especially that heaving creature under her hand, was unbearable. Startled voices echoed around them and he leapt up and moved swiftly out the door as the train slowed to stop.

Consumed with humiliation, her guilt made public, she stood up into the aisle. Her gloves hid the tears streaming down her face. She fled down the aisle and out onto the platform.

The other passengers, relieved of the momentary burden of worry about her, spoke their own answers.

“Lover’s tiff, probably.”

“A bit up herself; too smart for her own good.”

“Probably needed a seeing to, t’ know her place. If ya know what I mean.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Pretty chummy with him there. Getting what she deserved in my mind.”

They winked and nodded at each other, smirking at their special wisdom.

Satisfied, they settled back into their seats, enjoying the gratifying combination of being righteous and excited at once.”