The Dog, the Boy and the Railway


A large cardboard box was dumped onto the tracks. The creature inside was not adored anymore.

‘7:30 already? I’m gonna be late!’ Peter grabbed his bag and pulled on his uniform. Stuffing his breakfast into his mouth, Peter threw the door open and sprinted outside.

As Peter ran towards the taxi rank, he recalled the dream that woke him up, thankfully.

‘I was run over by a train…’

Peter was in the taxi for 5 minutes when he saw a pregnant woman clutching her abdomen, clearly in pain.

‘Hey, stop! Stop!’

The taxi skidded to a halt. Peter jumped outside and carefully helped the woman into the taxi. He looked at the taxi leaving him, and grimaced,

‘Well, it can’t be helped…I’ll take another taxi then.’

Come on, just one more taxi, he thought. After five minutes, no taxi was to be seen and he resigned himself to taking the MTR.

‘Fifteen more minutes to go until the bell rings.’ Peter reminded himself and ran as fast as his feet could carry him. As he jumped the stairs three at a time to the concourse, he found that the sign was now bearing ‘The train to Central will arrive in four minutes.’

‘Good. I can definitely make it in time.’ Peter glanced at the sign again to make sure he had not been mistaken, and saw a cardboard box lying on the rails. He rubbed his eyes and looked again; it was still there and rattling slightly. The sight made Peter tremble and goose bumps were spreading over his whole body.

‘Is there something inside? It’ll probably be squashed by the train.’ Peter searched for help but he seemed quite alone. He suddenly saw the gate to the sides of the platform being ajar and he walked down to the tracks.

Peter approached the box tentatively and took out a pair of scissors, which he used to carefully slit open the cellotape that stuck around the box. The box whimpered and Peter froze for a few seconds. The whining went on and on while Peter worked his way through the box. Finally he opened a corner and peered inside. A pair of eyes stared back at him.

‘Aargh!’ Peter leaped back and a paw protruded from the hole. Judging by the size, the creature inside was huge. A few loud barks being followed afterwards confirmed it as a dog. Peter had a distinct fear of dogs.

‘What’re you doing here? Get back up to the platform!’ A man hurried towards Peter. Peter could not muster the courage to pick up the box. He merely climbed the stairs up to the platform, leaving the box behind. The man bolted the gate to the platform and Peter looked at the sign now bearing ‘The train to Central will arrive in 1 minute’.

The box shuddered frantically as the train came nearer and nearer. It would flatten the box in less than no time. Peter was really sorry for the dog, but he could not bring himself to be near any dogs.

‘Why?’ Peter ran his fingers through his hair in frustration as the platform began to fill up with people going to work, ‘Why am I so willing to help save a pregnant woman, but I’m not able to save a dog from death?’

As the speaker announced, ‘The train to Central is arriving, please let passengers exit first,’ Peter closed his eyes and recalled what happened when he was five…

His family visited his grandparents in the rural villages. It was the first time that Peter was there and he rushed forward excitedly when he saw the front garden of his grandparents’ house. He pushed at the fence and hurried inside. The dogs in the garden, however, interpreted him as an intruder trying to break into the house. They sank their teeth into Peter’s trousers until Peter’s grandfather took a stick and beat the dogs to death. Peter, drenched in the dogs’ blood and brains, could not even cry because of the shock. Peter was extremely frightened of dogs ever since. Every time Peter saw a dog, he recalled the head of a dog bursting open and blood squirting everywhere…

Peter opened his eyes. To his horror, the headlights of the train were approaching quickly. The train was going to run over the box anytime now. To save or not to save the dog, it was now or never.

‘A dog’s life is equal to a human’s,’ Peter’s soul called, he had no hesitation anymore. He jumped down and saw the train meters from him. With adrenaline going, Peter grabbed the box and rolled to the opposite side, barely missing the train, which was hurtling through the place where Peter was half a second ago. The box sprang open after landing and a big Samoyed bounced out from it. Peter sighed in relief and tried to stand up, but one of his shoes got stuck between the rails.

Another train from the other side was approaching. Peter couldn’t move. He called at the dog, which was watching him closely,

‘Go! Hide under the platform!’

The dog did not obey. It walked closer to Peter and pulled him by the collar. The train was gaining on him. It would run over them any second…

‘This is it… the dream that I had this morning…’

At last Peter’s feet slipped out from the rails and shoes remained behind. The leather gave off a weird squelching sound when it got crushed by the train. Peter was pulled into the gap under the platform by the dog, which was now being hugged tightly by him.

Half an hour later, Peter stood at the school office watching the teacher stamping two demerits onto his handbook, one for being late, and the other for not wearing uniform properly. Peter shook his head in disbelief,

‘Do two good deeds for two demerits and a Samoyed, typical.’