art by Wi Waffles
by Rachael Acks
The platform beneath my shoes vibrates with the approach of a train, though none is scheduled for the next three minutes. Curious, I lean forward to look down the track; the other occupants of the platform are too absorbed in their cell phones to notice. A cold breeze stirs the pleated hem of my skirt and chills my knees.
Two lights appear around the bend, strangely dim and greenish. The roar intensifies, breeze flashing from cold to hot and smelling faintly of tea and spices.
A dragon halts at the platform, its length stretched along the track, tail still around the bend. Its claws scrape restlessly against the rails, whiskers around its head waving like the tentacles of a jellyfish. It turns those greenish eyes on me and breathes out a single word: "Okaeri."