Pablo Chapter 1 | The train

Translation to English: Theofilos Tourzaridis
Editing and Proofreading: Cleopatra Strati
Illustration: ancalove2001

Martha rose from her bed and made the sign of the cross. She was a religious woman. As every Sunday morning, she lit the candle at her house and put on her best clothes to go to Church, as she used to do every week. After receiving the Holy Eucharist she talked to some people at the Church discussing the weather, the difficulties of the autumn season, the animals, and how they had to build new barns to roost in the winter. Martha is the only innkeeper left in the village. She keeps the inn only in memory of her husband who was 20 years older than her; leaving her widow at a very young age.

Today is the 25th anniversary of her husband’s death and everyone at the Church reminds her of his kindness. As if she didn’t know how kind her husband was. They got married when she was 20 years old, young and fresh. He was 40 and had decided that it was about time to get married. Till his 40s the only thing he was doing was managing the inn. He hadn’t time for affairs as he had to serve all the inn’s customers, those men who were waiting for their shift for the mines. Martha was from a poor family, an only child, and Axel would do anything to persuade her family to marry him. So, it happened. One day during the spring, they got married.

Years passed but Martha did not conceive a child. Axel loved her so much that he didn’t care. He wanted his wife to be healthy and strong. Only Martha was the one who couldn’t bear it. She used to pray and receive the Holy Eucharist every week asking for one child; just one, whispering, wishing to feel the beats of a baby in her belly. And when every single month passed without being pregnant, the more disappointed she became. She had now turned 30 and one day her life was about to change for the worse. It was then when the Policeman of their village escorted by the Mayor knocked on the door of the inn to inform her that they had found Axel’s lifeless body, outside the village. 

“His heart perhaps betrayed him,” they told her; her heart suddenly broke.

She walks outside the village where the cemetery is located. She rests her forehead on the marble cross and speaks to her husband. She knows that he is listening to her and beckoning her from above. She confesses to him about the strange feeling that has been plaguing her heart since morning. She knows that today, something will go wrong; something is wrong. A change in the air she breathes and a tightness in her heart. She lights his husband’s candle but a gust of wind blows it out. As if her husband’s spirit agreed with her feeling. She lights it a second time and makes the sign of the cross three times. Lord, have mercy, she whispers and walks back to the inn.

Entering the village, she hears the rumble of the train; far away. She knows that the Station-master will check that no one is on the tracks and ask his assistant to call the workers to load the train by nightfall. As if we are waiting for another one… Martha thinks while regretting the decline of their village. She approaches the station, hearing the comments of the workers.

“You saw him?”

“Yes! You? Did you see him?”

“A visitor came to the village…”

Before she can ask what they are talking about, she sees a man dressed in a black long trench coat getting out of the first carriage. He stops and looks at her, while she walks toward her house. Martha shudders and makes the sign of the cross. A slight smile appears on the corner of his lips.

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