I can hear the train coming; I know its rhythm by heart. It picks up speed as it accelerates out of Northcote station and then, after rattling around the bend, it starts to slow down, from a rattle to a rumble and then sometimes a screech of brakes as it stops at the signal a couple hundreds of yards from the house. My coffee is cold on the table, but I'm too deliciously warm and lazy to bother getting up and making another cup. Sometimes I don't even watch the trains go past, I just listen. Sitting here in the morning, eyes closed and the hot sun orange on my eyelids, I could be anywhere. I could be in the south of Spain, at the beach; I could be in Italy, the Cinque Terre, all those pretty colored houses and the trains ferrying the tourists back and forth. I could be back in Holkam with the screech of gulls in my ears and salt on my tongue and a ghost train passing on the rusted track half a mile away. The train isn't stopping today, it trundles slowly past. I can hear the wheels clacking over the points, I can almost feel it rocking. I can't see the faces of the passengers and I know they're just commuters heading to Euston to sit behind desks but I can dream of more exotic journeys, of adventures at the end of the line and beyond. In my head, I keep traveling back to Holkham; it's odd that I still think of it, on mornings like this with such affection, such longing, but I do. The wind in the grass, the big slate sky over the dunes, the house infested with mice and falling down, full of candles and dirt and music. It's like a dream to me now. I feel my heart beating just a little too fast. I can hear his football on the stairs, he calls my name.
"BETH COME HERE RIGHT NOW! CLEAN THE DISHES, MOP THE FLOORS, AND IF I DON'T SEE THIS HOUSE SPOTLESS, YOU'D WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!" The spell is broken, I'm awake. I rush to the house, heading to the kitchen to start on the dishes. I could feel his breathing on the back of my neck, as he followed me. I rinsed each bowl and plate, his cold, pale blue eyes locking on my face the entire time. Why did I ever think, one day I would be a part of the lives, I only watched from afar. I was trapped in this never-ending nightmare.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading! Make sure to favourite if you liked it! Forever grateful! And as I say, don't be ashamed to let the tears fall!