Short Story Contest Entry
THE LONE WOLF
She was the only lady in the train’s compartment. Not that there were many
other passengers. The only other two occupants were men. But what else could
be expected at such late hour? It was past midnight now and only night owls
like her were out. But she couldn’t avoid it, it was her job.
The train chugged from the darkness into the bright station. The day time sea
of commuters was missing at this late hour. The platform was almost quiet.
The train moved slowly out of the station. Nobody had got in to the
compartment; neither had the two men got off.
She eyed them warily. One was young and smartly dressed. She caught him
eyeing her with interest. That was not surprising, because she knew that she
was attractive to the opposite sex.
"He probably things I am a woman of the night," she thought.
"Maybe I should have tried the ladies compartment?"
But the ladies compartment had been empty. It would not have been right for
her to occupy that by herself and there was very little chance of any other
woman getting in at such a late hour.
The other man in the compartment was elderly and was dozing off and on.
"I wonder if his wife is waiting up for him with his dinner?" she wondered
It was, of course, not safe to travel so late at night. There had been recent
reports of commuters being fatally attacked and robbed of their belongings in
the commuter trains late at night. And of course, there was always the danger
of women commuters being molested and teased. There were supposed to be
policemen guarding the compartments after ten in the night, but she had never
seen one. She should really have travelled with a companion, but everyone had
their own duties and roles. And she also preferred to be alone.
"I am a lone wolf," she thought to herself grimly.
The young man suddenly got up and seemed to move towards her. She
immediately shrank back in her seat and clutched her hand bag protectively.
But he had only been reaching for his bag kept on the luggage rack. He took it
and settled down in his seat again, passing a glance in her direction. He had
taken out a newspaper from the bag and started to read it. It was one of the
local papers, which provided a lot of city gossip and news. She noticed with
interest the headlines on the front page; ‘Attacks at Midnight!’ with a picture
of a local train. It obviously was about the attacks upon commuters at night in
The young man, hidden behind the paper, was pretending to read it. His whole
attention was on the attractive girl in the compartment.
Short Story Contest Entry
"Isn’t she tempting fate, by travelling alone at this hour?" he wondered.
"What sort of women is she?"
He slightly lowered the paper, so that he could watch her and hide behind the
paper in jiffy if she caught him looking at her. She was staring out of the
window and the night breeze was blowing her hair around her face. He almost
moved towards her to push the strands of hair away, but just stopped himself
in time. No, not now. There was time for that later. His fingers unconsciously
tapped the headlines of the paper. Yes, it was not time yet!
She looked out of the window, watching the lights flashing by. But she was also
keeping an eye on that young man. She noticed his finger tapping the headline.
What did it mean? Was it something he was doing unconsciously, or was it a
direct indication? There were still three more stations to the last stop. Would
these two men get down before that? If they didn’t then she would have to be
cautious. But she was not the cautious type. That is why she was here. She was
always ready to take challenges and risks. She would not cow to the
circumstances and neither would she ever belong to the tribe of girls who sold
their dignity. There were plenty of vultures ready to grab the innocents and
exploit them. But they wouldn’t catch her!
She had had dreams in her eyes when she had landed in the city two years ago.
But the dreams had been soon dashed to the ground, when she had faced
reality. But she had fought. She had always lived life on her own terms, and
she would not degrade herself. It had been by chance that this opportunity
came to her. It had been through an acquaintance.
"If you are willing to take risks and live life dangerously, this is for you!" the
acquaintance had said.
"It needs nerves of steel, but the money is good."
It was the money that had tempted her. Money was what life was all about! It
was why she had left her parents and siblings in their village. Now, she knew
that they were comfortable with the money she sent. And she? She really
didn’t know if she was content or comfortable. But deep in her heart, she did
enjoy her job! It was a test of her judgment, her cleverness and her
brazenness. She enjoyed the thrill at times. It sent a surge of blood through her
body and she felt rejuvenated, when she had successfully accomplished her
There of course had been times when the job was not done. Then she would be
upbraided and not paid. It was then that she wondered where she was heading
and what she was doing. But a job was a job, and she did not lose her dignity
or give in to another human being’s depravity or bestiality. So what if it
involved late nights? Did it matter that there was a risk?
The elderly man suddenly got up and moved towards the door. He was
obviously getting off at the next station. He didn’t even bother about her. His
Short Story Contest Entry
eyes were still half closed. If he got off, she would be left alone with the young
man. That might be tricky. She licked her dry lips and felt the adrenalin soar in
her veins. After this there were only two more stations. What would happen?
The train stopped and the old man got off, almost doddering on his legs. Again,
nobody got in. The train moved off slowly.
The young man watched the old man stumble out of the train and get
swallowed up by the platform. Now it was only him and the girl. What would
she do? His next step would depend on what she decided to do. Such decisions
were never easy. But anticipating unpredictability was the secret to his
"I am always one step ahead of every one," he thought to himself.
"This time will be no different."
He slowly folded his newspaper and reached for his bag. He placed it face up
and the headlines glared at him. He smiled softy to himself and quickly closed
the bag. He felt the girl’s eyes on him. He looked at her directly, in open
challenge. She almost froze and hugged her handbag close to her. It looked big
and was sure to hold several useful and interesting things. He slowly got up
from his seat.
The distance to the next station was the longest. She could feel the young
man’s eyes on her. They seemed to be stripping her. She hated it! He had
obviously been waiting for that other man to leave, before he made his move.
The creep! She caught him grinning at her in leering manner. She got up and
moved to the door, holding on to the rod near the entrance, letting the cool
night air whip up her hair around her face.
As soon as she moved to the door, the young man got up.
"She is making it so easy for me," he thought.
"is she really so stupid or is she going to do something?’ he wondered. He
moved towards the girl at the open door.
He was obviously going to join her. She again clutched her bag to her closely.
What should it be? Pepper spray or nail cutter? She was well armed for any such
attacks. She could see the lights of the station in the distance. She felt the
young man near her, breathing heavily and noisily with excitement. She looked
right into his face! He was grinning wickedly, leering at her passionately. She
felt his arm reach out to touch her, hug her, cuddle her! It was time to act!
Quick as a flash she brandished a sharp knife she had been hiding behind her
back. She struck him with surgical precision. Two quick stabs at the surprised
young man, was all it took. He collapsed to the ground in agony, bleeding
profusely and almost unconscious.
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She swiftly and expertly searched his pockets for valuables. She smiled as she
found an expensive cell phone. The wallet looked good too and was stuffed
with notes. The credit cards would be valuable to the boss!
The train slowly reached the station. She had timed it perfectly. Smiling, she
got down and made her way home. The lone wolf had struck again!
No. of words: 1547