It’s Rather Quiet

This is another thing I wrote a while ago and never went back to.

Story Idea
[Inspired by a particularly quiet journey into work one day.]

It’s all pretty quiet out there.
I’m just back from what should have been another productive (okay, slow and lazy) day at work, but looks like no-one bothered turning up. Thought it was kind of funny when no-one was at the train platform or on the train. On the train the automated driver seemed bored and the conductor OS gave a rather subdued beep when it scanned my boarding pass. Okay that’s probably just my usual anthopomorphism at work, but still.

On the journey through to town I only saw a single car travelling on the Motorway, and it was headed towards Glasgow. For all I know it could have been on automatic as well, though. When I got off the train at Waverly, that was when it started to get a bit creepy. The only sound was the automated announcments from the tannoy. Despite the edgy feeling, it still manages to piss me off. Why is it, after everything that the human race has accomplished, someone in authority still feels the need to have a big loud voice telling us that it might be slippy when it’s been raining? This is Scotland, for fuck’s sake! It’s always raining!

Anyway, I made my way up and around to the Dungeon, my homely place of work. As I emerged from the station that’s when it really started to hit home – Princes street was silent. The only sound was from the autobuses, still mindlessly travelling their programed routes. I wonder if they actually need someone to turn them on, or if they just go on a continual cycle woth only occasional human interaction.

I was mildly surprised to find the front door to work open as usual, so I wandered down and into the empty staff room. I dropped my bag and hat off on a couch then went to sign in. As I had expected by this point, the office was empty. Only the familiar hum of the computers permeated the room. The only movement came from the screensaver on my boss’s computer – animated fish swimming back and forwards in random patterns. I signed in on the staff sheet, had a quick peek into the back office – also empty – then made my way downstairs. By rights, I probably should have been a little scared by now, especially walking around in the near total darkness of the Dungeons, but the place doesn’t really hold any fear for me. It’s more like a regular haunt (if you’ll pardon the expression) and a place where friends hang out. Besides, the house lights were up and it’s hard to be scared when you can see all the empty plastic bottles and books lying in the corners. Didn’t take long to discover that I was the only one in the place. I even ventured into the tech workshop – that was a little un-nerving, but only because I’d never been in there before.
I sat in the staff room till 11am – my scheduled start time – then decided to call it quits and, picking up my bag and hat, left back through the main door.

I had hoped to pick up some breakfast from the Toddle Inn, little shop at the bottom of Cockburn street, but while the shutters were off the windows and doors, and the pot plants had been set out on the pavement, the door was locked. I walked back to the station along Market street to see if anoyone was in at Belushi’s – my regular drinking hole – but it showed a similar picture. Lights all on, but nobody home.
I had a slow wander around the deserted train station and then caught the next train home. Didn’t see any cars on the motorway this time.

I’d like to think this is a dream, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t. If I truly believed it was a dream, then I probably would have helped myself to the cash register at work, smashed the windows at the Toddle Inn to get some food, then stolen a car to drive home. Then again, what use is cash if there’s no one to buy things from.

Dude, my pet rat, is still here and I’m pretty sure I remeber hearing bird song on the way back from the train station. If the rain has stopped, I might have a wander up to the shops and get Dude some rat food.

To be continued (possibly)

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