Simon looked up from his newspaper for the first time just as the train pulled away from Bidston station. Without taking a peek out of the windows, he knew exactly where the train was. Twenty four years of travelling along the same tracks twice per day had given him a subconscious feel for every bump, jolt, clatter or rattle to the extent that without looking out of the window, and regardless of how quickly or slowly the train had negotiated the route that day, he was always completely aware of how far along the line he had travelled. It was almost spooky, but Simon was past feeling any sense of awe; instead he was a little depressed about the fact that after all this time he was still doing the same commute every single bloody day.
He looked around him to confirm that, most unusually, there was nobody else in the carriage. It was the silence that had made him look away from the story in the local rag about Seagulls ‘attacking’ a horrified, distressed and altogether traumatized grandmother. He'd become tired of the account anyway, since the ‘ordeal’ that Granny had undergone seemed - reading between the hyperbole – to have consisted of little more than a bit of a fright caused by some frantic flapping and the unfortunate depositing of a dollop of bird poo on a hand-knitted cardigan. The article even included a photograph of the old biddy (who looked as if she stoked battleship boilers for a hobby) holding up a shit-soiled cardie as proof of her near-death experience.
Folding the newspaper and leaving it on the seat next to him, Simon rose and walked along the carriage, just to make doubly sure that, for example, some snot(or, for that matter, glue)-nosed kid wasn’t hiding behind one of the high-backed seats. The coast, however was clear. As the train picked up speed along the track and the empty countryside trundled boringly past the windows, Simon took off his jacket. Loosening his tie, his pulse quickened as he anticipated his next move. This feeling had been bothering him ever since he‘d woken up that morning, and he could control himself no longer.
Looking around one last time (just in case anyone had managed, against all the odds, to teleport into the carriage), he threw back his head and cupping his hands, beat his chest rapidly, making a surprisingly loud drum-like sound. He was impressed.
“UH!” he shouted, as loud as he could. “Uh-UH!”
A grin began to push his face around a little.
The Silverback had awoken.