[Read Part I and II]
What was he concentrating on? The people around him – he had no interest in them. The hustle-bustle inside the compartment did not perturb him. It was incredible how a tiny, innocuous roach caught his attention.
How had it got in there? Without anyone squashing it with just one stomp of their foot? How could it scurry across without anyone noticing it or some woman shrieking? The roach was near someone’s shoes now and then on the leg of the seat. Slowly climbing up, hoping not to be seen; its antennas swinging awry in all directions. He wondered how it smelt its way to a scrap of food or garbage. It slowly climbed on the window pane. Everything went dark. The train was passing through a tunnel.
It was a long tunnel. As the train zoomed past, the small rays of the distant moonlight obstructed by the bars, cast an angular shadow on the roach. It remained still, perched on the window pane as the train continued to move at a subliminal speed.
It took a moment for the flickering lights in the compartment to come alive. It moved then, scurrying down quickly near the end of the seat. It was trying to squeeze itself into the cracked crevices in the aluminium of the compartment.
Could he too disappear in the same into an unknown crevice? No. Life was not so giving. The train moved on. The passengers got off, new ones came in, and they got off too. But he sat there. He did not know his destination. He was relieved that he had no goal anymore. As he looked out, the sky above looked luminous with stars. And then the train took off rising above the ground unto the stars.
Far away the once empty platform was buzzing with activity. The lone stranger sitting on the steel bench had died. He had no information on him. Nobody knew him. Only the stray pup and its mother stood near his body for a while and left.