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The Queue

A gentle rumbling of a wheeled case, punctuated by footsteps echoing off ceramic tiles. The walls, painted white, devoid of any decoration, but marked with black scuff marks, as if something had clipped the wall at those points. The ceiling, high above, equally devoid of decoration, inset with lights, but turned off for now. A full height window to the right, admitting sunlight, and providing a view over the huge machines outside.

People stood, in a line. Each with a case on the floor in front of them. A taped barrier snaking back and forth, indicating where they should stand. The drone of the machines outside, nearer now, vibrating the floor.

Eye contact avoided, as people stared fixed in front of them, eyes on small devices in their palm, occasionally reaching out to touch it. More and more people join the line. Some sitting on top of their case, some remaining standing. Otherwise, silence.

Accidental eye contact, she smiles, briefly, then quickly averts. Her jet black hair, shoulder length, framing delicate features. Nothing said. Outside, through the window, one of the giant machines stops near a doorway. Stairs are placed against its side.

“Now boarding flight EZY1835 from Ringway International to Schiphol, Amsterdam. Please present your pass and passport to the attendant at the gate.”

In silence, the line moves forwards, the only sounds, the rumble of the machines, and the grumble of wheeled cases.

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milambar
Milambar

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