I saw the folder fall from his hands, as I barged against him, clumsy twelve-year-old as I was, running late to school. A lost story, it has been called. But I saw the sheaves of manuscript and the plumes of colour rise from the drawings and illustrations. The book was barely in its infancy and I watched it grow, during those strange years of their homecoming.
They did not arrive at the town’s main station, refurbished and modernised to accommodate the new factories and houses, but a deserted halt of the old empire, now falling into ruin. Weeds overran the sidings, where stood the broken carriages of antique trains, their doors wrenched open and their glass smashed.