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Strangerson the Train As my chest rose and fell, my breath camefaster and faster, all I could see was the water in my bottle sloshing, as mysweaty and shaking hands gripped the bottle nervously. As the two boys turnedtheir predator’s gaze upon me, I turned my eyes downward pretending that Ihadn’t noticed. I tried to melt into the seat behind me to avoid theirdevouring eyes. I felt trapped by their gaze, like I couldn’t move, I couldn’trun.  Unable to resist, I flicked my eyesupwards glancing at them. Big mistake. Their expressions were hungry and fullof glittering malice, as they sniggered to each other, their grating voicesgrowing louder.

  As I looked back down at my lap, fearcaptivated my rigid and petrified body. My spine bowed under the weight oftheir obscenities. As their mouths opened, each word felt like a punch to the face,beating me down, creating bruises that would remind me of my pain for weeks. Itfelt as though I’d been beaten to a pulp.

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 Each blow accompanied by screaming, ‘You don’t fuckin’ belong here. Youget the fuck out my country’. He screamed some more, the crescendo of thesymphony of my panic rising as their cold bodies shifted towards mine. I wishmy parents could have been purely Australian just like everyone else’s. I wishthat my chocolate skin was the same creamy hue as the other girls at school.  With every movement of the carriageleft-right-left-right, I ached for the moment my stop would arrive, my ears strainingfor the muffled voice which would announce my opportunity for escape.

Finallyfrom the crackling speaker, ‘The next station is Indooroopilly’. The doorsseemed to move further away as their cold gazes hypnotized me and I stoodfrozen. I tensed as I broke the eye contact and prayed I could stand up, withthe lack of strength in my quivering arms and legs. All I wanted was to vanishand to be gone. My weak hands slowly reached for my bag toput away my bottle to escape this zoo of snarling and vicious animals. As Ireadied myself, I feared my movement would engage them in the attack, myimagination running through a series of vicious consequences. I sat for a fewmore seconds preparing myself for a mental battle. I had already obedientlytaken in all their jibes and let them run free.

I wanted to…’Indooroopilly…’That was it, my chance.  I gripped theyellow handle of the seat ever so tightly, feeling the weight of my weak andtrembling body lag behind me to stand up. They were right opposite me so as Iwalked with my body pulling me back to my seat, I watched them through thecorner of my eye, walking very slowly till I lost sight as I neared the doors.

The train floor shuddered as one of the boys came to stand too close. He stankof ignorance, sweat and old socks. A shock ran up my body, as I felt his stalebreath brushing the back of my neck. I had never been more scared in my life. Whateverwas behind me, I.

.. I was hoping the dust would just sweep me away, yet I was stillin the moment.I knew they were trying to scare me andlike hell, it was working. I felt as if they could see right through me, everyhair on my body raised, every bone in my neck, every dilation of my pupilsrestricting my movement, every flicker of fear and panic in my mind they couldsee and nothing was ever hidden. Slowly I forced my brain to focus on touchingthat green button, glowing in the darkness that had permeated the carriage.

Butwhat if it wasn’t over? What if they followed me? What if they tried to hurtme? These thoughts that built up were like a shadow over the rays of my hope andonce again all I wanted was to vanish, to be gone. Swept away with the dust andrubbish being blown over the platform. An entering passenger clicked the buttons,slamming the doors wide open, giving me the perfect chance to run into thelight, but I still needed to know if they were there, stalking me. I glancedbehind me and …I ran out of the train until I could see my mum’s car waiting inthe distance. I didn’t turn back.

I thought I’d feel better away from thattrain and away from those people, but it seemed I could see the same hostileexpression in the eyes of every passer-by. With a sigh of relief I clamberedinto mum’s car. As I sank down into the soft seat, the tension eased from mybody, protected from the gaze of strangers behind the tinted windows. I hadvanished. ManasiRamadani      Strangerson the TrainAs my chest rose and fell, my breath camefaster and faster, all I could see was the water in my bottle sloshing, as mysweaty and shaking hands gripped the bottle nervously. As the two boys turnedtheir predator’s gaze upon me, I turned my eyes downward pretending that Ihadn’t noticed.

I tried to melt into the seat behind me to avoid theirdevouring eyes. I felt trapped by their gaze, like I couldn’t move, I couldn’trun.  Unable to resist, I flicked my eyesupwards glancing at them. Big mistake.

Their expressions were hungry and fullof glittering malice, as they sniggered to each other, their grating voicesgrowing louder.  As I looked back down at my lap, fearcaptivated my rigid and petrified body. My spine bowed under the weight oftheir obscenities. As their mouths opened, each word felt like a punch to the face,beating me down, creating bruises that would remind me of my pain for weeks.

Itfelt as though I’d been beaten to a pulp. Each blow accompanied by screaming, ‘You don’t fuckin’ belong here. Youget the fuck out my country’. He screamed some more, the crescendo of thesymphony of my panic rising as their cold bodies shifted towards mine. I wishmy parents could have been purely Australian just like everyone else’s. I wishthat my chocolate skin was the same creamy hue as the other girls at school.  With every movement of the carriageleft-right-left-right, I ached for the moment my stop would arrive, my ears strainingfor the muffled voice which would announce my opportunity for escape. Finallyfrom the crackling speaker, ‘The next station is Indooroopilly’.

The doorsseemed to move further away as their cold gazes hypnotized me and I stoodfrozen. I tensed as I broke the eye contact and prayed I could stand up, withthe lack of strength in my quivering arms and legs. All I wanted was to vanishand to be gone. My weak hands slowly reached for my bag toput away my bottle to escape this zoo of snarling and vicious animals. As Ireadied myself, I feared my movement would engage them in the attack, myimagination running through a series of vicious consequences.

I sat for a fewmore seconds preparing myself for a mental battle. I had already obedientlytaken in all their jibes and let them run free. I wanted to…’Indooroopilly…’That was it, my chance.  I gripped theyellow handle of the seat ever so tightly, feeling the weight of my weak andtrembling body lag behind me to stand up. They were right opposite me so as Iwalked with my body pulling me back to my seat, I watched them through thecorner of my eye, walking very slowly till I lost sight as I neared the doors.

The train floor shuddered as one of the boys came to stand too close. He stankof ignorance, sweat and old socks. A shock ran up my body, as I felt his stalebreath brushing the back of my neck. I had never been more scared in my life. Whateverwas behind me, I..

. I was hoping the dust would just sweep me away, yet I was stillin the moment.I knew they were trying to scare me andlike hell, it was working. I felt as if they could see right through me, everyhair on my body raised, every bone in my neck, every dilation of my pupilsrestricting my movement, every flicker of fear and panic in my mind they couldsee and nothing was ever hidden. Slowly I forced my brain to focus on touchingthat green button, glowing in the darkness that had permeated the carriage. Butwhat if it wasn’t over? What if they followed me? What if they tried to hurtme? These thoughts that built up were like a shadow over the rays of my hope andonce again all I wanted was to vanish, to be gone. Swept away with the dust andrubbish being blown over the platform. An entering passenger clicked the buttons,slamming the doors wide open, giving me the perfect chance to run into thelight, but I still needed to know if they were there, stalking me.

I glancedbehind me and …I ran out of the train until I could see my mum’s car waiting inthe distance. I didn’t turn back. I thought I’d feel better away from thattrain and away from those people, but it seemed I could see the same hostileexpression in the eyes of every passer-by. With a sigh of relief I clamberedinto mum’s car. As I sank down into the soft seat, the tension eased from mybody, protected from the gaze of strangers behind the tinted windows.

I hadvanished. ManasiRamadani                

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