Random Arrivals: 2

Apologies for the general cheesiness of this. It’s continued from here.

My new friend flounces. All of her flounces — her dress, her bosom, the ringlet that’s escaped her tower of hair. She flounces back into a comfortable position.

“I’m called Madie,” she says.

“I’m Els— Edwina.”

She grins, and her black eyes sparkle as if she’s a child who’s discovered a secret stash of candy. “Glad to meet you, Els-Edwina.” She may look like a strumpet (Mrs. McLeod’s word, not mine), but she’s got some brains under that layer of rouge. (Rouge!)

I grimace. “Just Edwina.”

“My full name ain’t Madie, either. It’s Madeline. My pere named me, but my own mere, God rest her soul, couldn’t pronounce it and I don’t see why he should have got to choose my name, anyway.”

Nodding at this, trying my best to absorb it all, I’m just opening my mouth to respond when she starts up again. “My sister’s been at me to come to her for months now, Says it’s all the best in the Crowsnest. They treat you like you’re practically company employees, she says. Are you a seamstress? Where you heading, honey?”

“Crowsnest Pass as well,” I say. “Field.”

“Field! Well, that’s where my sister is. And they say coincidence is the root of all evil…”

“Necessity. I think it’s—”

“Don’t that beat all? You got family out that way?”

My letter’s in my bag, and my bag is still in the other compartment, the first one I sat in. Just as I’m realizing this, a burst of drunken laughter bounces from the men into the corridor and I pale.

“What’s the matter, hun?”

“My things… I’m afraid I was sitting in that compartment when those men arrived and I left some of my things behind.”

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