It was a warm summer evening, back in the early 60’s. My sister and I boarded an almost empty train. A ‘semi fast’ train, which meant that it stopped at selected stations along the route, and not all of them. We were later to become very glad that it wasn’t a ‘fast’ train, which didn’t stop until London Bridge. That would have been an hour with no stops.
We chose one of those small, compartments, the sort that have just one seat either side, exactly like this one. Out of the rush hour, it wasn’t a busy route and the train pulled in to empty and quiet stations, as it travelled through the Kent countryside. Sometimes you would hear a single door slam shut as someone either got on or off the train, but on the whole, it was silence at each stop. We sat, chatting and looking out of the window.
The train made another stop and the silence was broken.
The door to our compartment opened and two teenage boys got in. They looked about seventeen (my age) – just a couple of lads going out for the evening. They sat down opposite and stared out of the window. They had the whole, empty, train to choose from, why did they have to choose our compartment? The journey wouldn’t be as relaxed now.
It all happened so fast! Like lightening, and without any warning, I found myself on the floor of the train, struggling, trying to get free, the heavy weight of one of the boys holding me down. In my struggle I turned toward where my younger sister had been seated. She had been thrown across the seat, the other boy laying on top of her. She too, was trying, in vain, to free herself. I couldn’t believe how strong these boys were. No amount of struggling could free my arms of his grip, or allow me to move from under the weight of his body, pinning me down.
This struggling went on for a while until, finally, the train slowed down as it approached it’s next stop. I knew it would be another empty, quiet station. They all were, until you hit London. I prayed somebody would be there waiting to get on this train.
Suddenly, as quickly as they had pounced on us, they leapt up and jumped off the train, leaving us dazed and thankful. We stood and brushed ourselves down, wondering what it had all been about. Not realizing how serious this could have been, we continued on to our destination and slowly forgot this strange incident.
This obviously wasn’t the first time they had done this. It was all far too slick, both moving at lightening speed, and in unison, giving us no time to react. Not a single word had been spoken by them. They knew what to do, and when to do it. They had perfected it.
They were not rapists, at least at that time they were not. Had they been, I realize that we wouldn’t have stood a chance against their determined strength. Maybe this had been a rehearsal, before they moved on to more serious things.