It was almost lunch, or very late morning. The sky was an overcast grey and I was on my way to work. I lived just a few minutes walk from the station but I had to take three different trains to get to the studio. I’ve got a bike but I tend not to use it. Biking is cheaper and healthier but the train is just quicker, so train it is.
When I arrived at the platform it was empty, as it usually is at this hour. I live in a nice quiet neighborhood and the people here all have sensible nine-to-five jobs. The few times I have to be at the studio in the morning the platform is always filled with people and the train cars are packed. I like this better. I always manage to get a seat on the train.
I went to the little kiosk at the end of the platform. Mr. Grebber was manning it. The old man’s been managing the kiosk together with his wife since the first homes were built here in this area. We commented on the weather, it would probably rain soon. I bought a newspaper and small bag of chewing gum.
As I was about to leave I noticed Mr. Grebber look at something behind me. His usually cheerful face turned sour and he muttered under his breath.
“Elf. I smell it.”
I turned around and saw someone standing over at the other end of the platform. Far too far away for me to smell anything, but I guess old people have their ways. It was a girl, dressed in a baggy white sweater and long green skirt reaching all the way to the ground. She also wore sunglasses and a big green hood pulled down over her ears. I had no way of telling whether or not she really was an elf. Maybe that was the idea. She was short and skinny though so I guess she could be. I had no idea how Mr. Grebber knew.
We never have elves in this part of town. Only humans live here and have always lived here. Not that the area had been settled for long. I’d heard Mr. Grebber talk about how the platform had been built here first and how the neighborhood had grown around it.
It’s a distinctly human concept; Build a railroad circuit in an area outside of town, just close enough that it connects to the main train system in the city. Build a number of platforms along it. Open the areas around the platforms up for settlement as the need arises and you’ll have little local suburbs conveniently connected to the city center. It was urban planning at its best. Or so they said.
Elves didn’t like it. I’m not too sure of what they like really. They probably stay in the same location they’ve always stayed in for thousands of years. They become one with the soul of the ground or something like that. They don’t much like moving around once they settle down, that much I know.
So what was she doing here, if she really was an elf?
I personally don’t have anything against elves, but people here, like Mr. Grebber, aren’t overly fond of them. It’s rare to see them outside of their own areas or the city center and even more rare to see one all alone out here in the suburbs. Not that people here would actually hurt them or anything, but you know, things happen.
I was stirred from my thoughts by the train arriving on the platform. I waved goodbye to Mr. Grebber and stepped on. The elf girl entered the car behind mine. There were more empty seats than occupied ones and I sat down by a window.
As the train left the platform it started to rain.