George spends much of the tube journey trying to work out why the train is moving left while the stations on the Northern Line map above the seat opposite seem to be moving right. And isn’t he supposed to be going south anyway? He thumbs through his guidebook, but nothing much is making sense and it’s too noisy to ask the catatonic young man next to him.
At Embankment, he bends to help as a young Mum struggles off with her buggy.
‘Get off,’ she barks. ‘Amy don’t look at the man.’
Startled, he freezes before the suit he has held up for 1.4 seconds pushes him out of the way and off the train and within seconds he is caught in the tidal undertow of a rush-hour crowd and washed up onto the street into the low, early morning sun. Blinded by the light, he loiters on the pavement as outlines and colours slowly bleed into place. A policeman, armed with semi-automatic weaponry and the blessing of a spooked Home Secretary, watches with suspicion.
A deep breath. The city that swallowed his son. He clutches his roll of round stickers. Orange, with white writing.
Come Home Adam.
As I outlined yesterday, March is going to be London-themed, with tales inspired by my bus quest of a few years ago. They won’t all paint the city in such a negative light, I promise! I love the place. Those who have read Come Home Adam will recognise George. I thought it might be nice to explore him and his search for his son in more detail throughout the month. All of them will fit into my obsessive word-count structure. This one is 200 words. I shall be pantsing this story through the month, so we’ll have to see how he gets on.