Story on a train 1: Lamia

The man opposite was largely indifferent to her ample charms. This was rather annoying, as she was pretty sure she was more interesting than the suduku in the blasted paper.

She licked her lips, pouting out the window at the grey sky and Battersea Dog’s Home as it flew past. That stench. It followed her.

She wrinkled her nose. Amongst the notes of dogs, and human sweat, and soggy South suburban London, she could smell the subtle under tones of the man opposite. She stroked her snake-skin legs. She breathed more heavily, making sure to amplify the heaving going on underneath her tight black vest. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. Still no response.

Was she loosing ‘it’? Were her powers of seduction waning? Was she getting old?! She examined her reflection in the double glazing. Two perfect vassals looked back at her. Dark hair. Dark skin. Dark eyes. All still beautiful. But sadly more common place in the country nowadays.

Gone were the days when powerful men fell at her feet, enraptured purely by the exotic creature in front of them. What was it Keat’s called her? “The brilliance feminine”?

But now… Now she had to use all sorts of whiles to win even the commonest prize. All she needed was a moment of eye contact.

She looked at the close shaven top of the young man’s head. Pale flesh dappled with dark follicles. She suspected another time, another place, there would have been cacao curls caressing his neck and tumbling round his face. Curse these modern fashions. Mind you, they meant no one looked twice at her snake-skin legs. She ran a
finger over the scales, shivering at the pleasure of the sensation.

She tried to use that feeling. To push it out of her to the stranger opposite, now engrossed in the sports pages. She projected mental reels of salacious encounters in silk sheets. Of writhing and bucking and sucking…

He was on the last page. Any moment now he would be hers. He would look up. Smile. All she needed was that on moment of eye contact. Just one moment.

The train stopped. They were at East Croydon. So quickly? The man folded up his paper. Tossed it on the adjacent seat. In one fluid motion, he was up, out his seat, down the aisle and out the doors. Without even a glance inherent direction.

All that work! For nothing. And she was still starving.

Gone were the days in Libya of devouring the supple young flesh of proffered infants. Now Fate was merciful if she could lay her hands on a gnarled and brittle OAP.

As if the gods had heard her, she looked up to find a small old lady, with set white-brown hair arranging bags on the tacky floor. Well, she thought, a beggar cannot a chooser be.

The old lady sat down, just as the train jolted out the station. The old lady looked at her and smiled.

She smiled back.

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