Last stop: Walthamstow Central (short stories)


The night was growing thicker and the rain was swiping the dirty pavement
The night was growing thicker and the rain was swiping the dirty pavement of the bottom side of the well-known street market in Walthamstow. A few lonely customers were leisurely strolling between the disordered aisles of the supermarket. In a minute or so they will also disappear into the night and Pyotr and his colleagues will pull the shutters down. After a wretched Odyssey from his Easter European town followed by years of chasing the visa to The Kingdom of Capitalism, he was thrilled with his first permanent job. He also loves Lidl’s delicious frozen Black Forest Gateau and German sausages, which remanded him of his childhood.

A large scruffy man in a brown worn-out leather coat approached Esma’s till and noisily unloaded a packet of crisps and a tin of tuna. Pyotr was miles away and this noise abruptly brought him back. Immediately he recognised the drunkard who lived with his taciturn wife in his block of flats. In the neighbourhood there were known as the tragic couple as their only son died from an overdose and daughter committed suicide shortly afterwards.

- Awright mate…- he said.
- Good evening, sir. How are you?... And what’s that in your pocket? Isn’t that a bottle of whisky?

The petite Bosnian girl talked with a smoothing and calm voice. Her long curly black hair was held back in a pony tail, the bright red lipstick she liked so much was wearing off and her eyes were starting to look tired. Pyotr found her very charming, but she wasn’t interested in flirting or anything else for that matter. Esma was studying for a degree in International Marketing and dreaming of returning home to the Sarajevo of her childhood.

All of the sudden, the shaky guy went ballistic and grubbed Esma’s shoulders.
“There is nothing in my pocket!” – he cried.
Pyotr jumped and grabbed the man.
“Keep you mitts off me!”

In an instant the large man pulled something from his pocket and pushed himself towards Pyotr. A sharp pain spread through his abdomen, his balance abruptly went and in slow motion he touched the floor next to Esma’s till. The last thing he saw was the anguished expression on Esma’s beautiful face. She was screaming but the only thing he could hear was the silence. As he was falling in the black abyss he wished he told Esma how much he liked her.