Fourteen passenger trains a day stopped at Diss Railway Station, in Suffolk. With the eight trains that stopped on a Sunday, that made 92 trains a week, the number of presently known VUE languages. With bank holidays and without cancellations, Thomax Fallfresh, the Diss stationmaster, could expect four thousand, seven hundred and thirty trains a year. Thomax was waiting for the one hundred thousandth train. That was the number he had formally agreed to see through Diss Station before he returned to Wales and the Dovey Valley. It was a promise he'd made first to his wife who disliked flat East Anglia. Secondly to British Rail who employed him on a VUE contract, and only thirdly to himself.
He personally somewhat feared a return to a landscape of mountains where the VUE had afflicted him with partial deafness, a loss of balance on any gradient greater than one metre in 200, and pigeon toes that were slowly and appreciably growing whiter.
Thomax, Jamaican by birth, found his whole body was slowly developing random white patches. It was a source of amusement to his Welsh wife. His doctor's first diagnosis was Caucasian Empathy, but that was cancelled when Thomax's wife, to her great delight and hilarity, discovered other colour changes on her husband's body. Medical tests detected small, dilute traces of carotin and melanin, dionin and ri-melanin, pigments responsible for the colouring in feathers.
For the moment, an orthodox British Rail stationmaster's uniform would hide the transformation from his staff, but Thomax wondered how soon he could find a way out. Which would come quickest, albinoism, a skin of many colours or the hundred thousandth train? All three alternatives would mean him crossing the line into areas he didn't want to go.
The Falls Biographies
Constance Ortuist Fallaburr
Appis (Arris) Fallabus
Ipson & Pulat Fallari
Bird Raspara Fallicutt
Sallis Pino Fallpinio
Erhaus Bewler Falluper