The man sat on a bench in Newport train station, waiting for the eleven twenty-three service to Cardiff. He wore a slate-grey jumper with the hood pulled up. There was a book in his hands and a red rucksack at his side. The station was deserted and dim, and the small man looked like easy pickings to the boy.
“Gerrup,” he commanded, holding his knife to the side so the man could see he meant business. The man got up.
“Empty yer pockets.”
The man complied, placing a mobile phone on the bench beside him, along with a bulging wallet.
Fuck, the boy thought. Done well wi’ this one.
A frigid wind blew along the tracks and through the platform. Grit and leaves lashed at their clothes. The boy reached out to swipe his loot, but the man was quick and caught his hand. The knife lanced through the air toward the man’s stomach, but the lights flickered off, even the light from outside the station seemed to diminish. In the darkness the boy became confused. When the lights came on he no longer held the knife. In fact it was nowhere to be seen.
In all this time the boy had not looked at the man’s face, so concerned was he with the prize. He did so now, a quick glance into the folds of the dark.
The boy stumbled, choked, tears dripping from his eyes.
The train pulled in. The boy’s screams were swallowed by the shriek of brakes.
The man got on; the train pulled off.
Twenty-three minutes passed. The station manager finally came out of his hole and found the boy standing in the exact same spot.
“You a’right, mate?”
The boy turned. The station manager swore. Blood flowed from the tip of the boy’s knife, and from the holes he had made of his eyes.