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Station Central

The air conditioning huffs. Palms stick to the leather steering wheel; zero one fifty. I’ve passed the same junction on this grid-like network at least once before.

The city is alive. The Overground rumbles, blue sparks cascading onto the asphalt. I’m trying to find the terminal, make the connection. I crank the window. The smell that filters in reminds me of an amusement-park dodgem ride. I can feel the excitement, hear delighted screams.

A figure wearing a red cape cycles past, fabric brushing the wing mirror. Powerful limbs pump the pedals. They sail past the stalled traffic and weave expertly ahead.

There are thousands of others in their cells-on-wheels, engines humming; worker-bees swarming. Fuel tipped to the max.

The road clears. I surge ahead and recognise the exit to Station Central that curves to the left and back, banking high above the river. Dozens of bridges decorated with strings of light cross the dark water like rungs on an infinite ladder.

The glow on the approach to the terminal is dazzling. There’s a shrill blast from the departure whistle. I taste salt on my lip. Push the accelerator to the floor.

A red-caped marauder is careering towards me, silhouetted against the yellow glare; a sun-spot, growing larger second by second. They sit astride a snarling machine, whining through the gears.

I swerve, control the skid and race to catch myself, before the next loop. The air conditioning huffs . . .

Flash Fiction by Dee McInnes
Picture: IMGP1586 by Matt Buck under CC BY-SA 2.0

Published in Autumn 2017


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