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Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Horror – Part two


2010
03.29

Submission by Phil Goody – 27 July 06

She sat bolt upright in bed, the image of the man falling from the platform playing over and over in her mind.  The sight of his head dropping below the level of the crowd as he fell beneath the moving train burned as brightly in her mind as it had when it had happened in front of her the day before.  For a moment she doubted, surely this must be a figment of her overactive imagination.  There had a lot of stress recently, work was as unforgiving as ever and the deep sense of futility that came from too long in a dead end job had begun to wear her down.  She knew all of this, but the real horror, she slowly came to realise as her sleep addled brain began to make sense of this midnight disturbance, was that this was all disturbingly real.  The most terrifying tales were always the ones that started with ‘based on a true story’ and much as she didn’t want to admit it this had really happened.  But not to her, so why the beads of sweat running cold across her taut shoulders, slowly finding their way down inside of her arms and past her elbows that had long since locked with the strain of propping her body in its rigid position perpendicular to the bed.

For the first time her eyes focused on the twilight that had enveloped the bedroom.  The blinds had been left half open, again, but she had no one to blame but herself.  Maybe it was the light that had woken her, but the over riding sense of unease that gripped her made her quickly realise that this was unlikely.  The blinds scattered the light across the room.  But unlike the regular patterns shadows normally cast, the darkness seemed to collect in pools at the further reaches of the room.  A shaft of light that seemed to run directly from the window hazily illuminated the alabaster figure on her dressing table, bought for her by her mother for her last birthday. It looked blankly back across the darkened room.  But the face normally so calm and peaceful had developed a menacing expression as the night cast heavy uneven shadows across its smooth complexion.

This was too much, statues making faces, her mind was running away with itself and with work in the morning she didn’t have time to be putting up with this sort of shit in the middle of the night.  She glanced over at the alarm clock, the red digits 3.42 blazed back at her with a fiery glow.  Fuck, only 3 hours until she had to be up, getting out of bed in the morning was going to be a bloody nightmare.

She tried to move her legs but they were trapped, wrapped tightly in the duvet cover from what must have been hours of semi conscious tossing and turning.  She kicked her feet to try and free them, but they were wound tight in the soft folds of the blanket.  In frustration she pulled the duvet violently across her body, releasing her legs but sending the glass by the bed careering onto the floor.  A hollow thud followed as the glass hit the laminate surface sending water cascading all over the wall and up the side of the bookshelf.  Great, now I’ve got a fucking cleaning job to deal with as well and the day hasn’t even started yet, she silently growled to herself.

With the mopping up job unsatisfactorily completed and the blinds properly closed she lay back and waited for the burning sense of frustration to subside.  The dampness on the soles of her feet had transferred itself onto the underside of the duvet cover and was now setting about irritating her still further.  Which ever way she turned she could feel the soggy fabric rubbing against her legs.  She wriggled around in the bed attempting to find a dry spot that didn’t force her body into an uncomfortable contortion. This partially achieved, she gazed upwards slowly focusing on the single ethereal shaft of moonlight that had crept between the blinds.  The pale blankness of the light taunted her imagination, daring her to create something, anything, to fill the void before sleep came to rescue her from the agony of insomnia.  But she stubbornly refused to let her mind wander, focusing solely on the light and the leaden tiredness in her legs, collected from thousands of steps up and down the stairs that lead back, always back to the tube.

And there she was again, stood on the platform waiting, but for what.  For a train?  Or for it all to start all over again? But this time it was different the station had taken on a pale glow that extenuated the creamy coloured tiles that lined the tunnel and gave the entire platform an otherworldly quality.  The passengers in front of her seemed to blur so she couldn’t make one out from the other, all dark outlines with rough edges. She slowly looked around trying to get her bearings and there he was, leaping out of the crowd without moving a muscle. Waiting.

His red hair so sharply in focus her natural instinct was to look away to stop her eyes from being burnt.  But she couldn’t avert her gaze.  She felt a sudden urge to dash towards him to stop the whole horrific cycle from starting again but her feet were rooted to the spot.  She desperately tried to move her legs but no amount of encouragement from her brain could make them move even the slightest fraction.  She looked around as panic began set in, desperately seeking some sort of reassurance.  Her eyes darted across the huge posters that littered the walls of the tunnel until they settled on the old tiled letters that spelt out the station name, Mornington Crescent.  She had been getting on at Highgate for years and she knew every inch of that wretched platform and this definitely wasn’t it.

In an instant the panic subsided and a warm sense of relief washed down her spine. She must have drifted off to asleep, Mornington Crescent had been closed for years, everyone knew that, and any moment the harsh jolt of insomnia would propel her back into her dark but reassuring real bedroom.  She waited, tracing the outline of the ceramic letters with her eyes.  Any minute now she thought and I’ll be lying in bed cursing the fact that I cant get back to sleep.

Horror – Part one


2010
03.29

Late again, Alice followed the fluorescent-lit, tiled yellow tunnel, trotting on work shoes and wishing for trainers, round and down into the depths of the underground. As always, she walked past posters for shows she would never go to and holidays she would never take, advertisements shouting out to other people with other lives, people who could take breaks. She, like all other commuters, existed in her own bubble; alone and in stress, from Monday to Friday, forever and ever, mind the gap.

Not that Alice would flatter herself that life inside the bubble was any more interesting than outside it, far from it. It was just that she didn’t have the time to notice anyone else, that’s all; her diary was so full at the moment, that any self-improving attempt to see things from someone else’s point of view, or walk even a metre in someone else’s shoes would involve buying new filofax pages, and that would take at least twenty minutes. She had taken three work calls before she got here and she cursed that her phone wouldn’t work underground. Her commute took another forty-five precious minutes, after which she would pick up her car from work – her lousy flat didn’t have parking – and get to her first meeting.

The market was turning, everybody said it, and with it her luck. It was about time, she thought, as she stepped onto the escalator that, as always, went too slow. She’d got into the estate agency game at just the wrong time, and spent most of the last two years twiddling her thumbs and dealing with angry vendors who blamed her, not the market, for their bad luck. Her confidence plummeted as did her pay packet. Today she had six appointments to measure up new properties, and at least as many viewings to sell old listings. Things were definitely looking up.

The guy in front of her on the escalator, maybe twenty-five at a guess, had a similar view by the looks of it. He was bobbing his ample ginger hair to whatever music his headphones were blaring out. Alice strained to decipher it but all music through headphones sounds the same, and she decided that if it was in a genre somewhere between hardcore techno and Diana Ross, she was making a pretty good guess. She followed him onto the platform and watched him bounce gently for a second or two, before she expertly opened and folded a broadsheet in three moves, to read it standing up on the train.

After the couple of minutes promised by the red display, the warm, stale wind in the tunnel grew stronger signalling the train’s arrival. She looked up, took one step then stopped dead.

“What are you doing?” she whispered.

Crouching right on the edge of the platform was the red-haired man, looking in the direction of the train with his arms outstretched as if he was going to dive. She looked around and no one else seemed to have noticed him, but that couldn’t be true, they were just pretending not to like she probably should. Nevertheless, she began to walk quickly towards him, pushing her way through the commuters who were psyching themselves up for the daily fight for seats.

The whine of the train; metal on metal and compressed air, squealing like the slaughtered, seemed suddenly more frightening than anything Alice had ever heard. She’d cursed Jumpers a hundred times for holding up her train, but she didn’t want to actually witness one.

As she neared the red-haired man he turned and held her gaze, shaking his head.

“What are you doing?” was all that Alice could think to shout.

“The same thing you would do,” he replied over the din, as the train’s lights were already visible and the screech of brakes was unbearably loud. Then he said something to her that she didn’t catch. God, this is real, she thought, won’t somebody stop him? She scanned the platform, wildly, but she was the closest now and everyone else was totally ignoring them. She asked him; “What? What did you say?”

Looking down he took a breath and bellowed at the tracks, his voice cracking as he yelled; “He. Won’t. Leave. Without. Meee!”

“Who?” yelled Alice, her hand on the man’s jacket now, ready to pull him to safety. His words scared the hell out of her, she had to stop him, he was going to jump for Christ’s sake.

“Who won’t go?” She reached him but the moment she touched him she felt a blow to her forehead, knocking her backwards on the ground where she painfully banged her head again on the concrete.

When she looked back at the man again it was just in time to see him dive forwards just as the train hit him side on, breaking him instantly into two bloody parts that seemed to hang in the air for a moment before being lost to the tracks. The commuters gasped and moved back in disgust, as their introspective bubbles were popped, and the right here and now terrifyingly forced its way in. The driver, screaming, did whatever he could to stop the train, but he’d been breaking anyway, and it seemed to take forever. By the time it actually stopped, the front of the train was way into the tunnel again, leaving the panic back in the station.

In relative silence now, he sat back and allowed himself a deep breath. “Bloody well, bastard Jumpers,” he managed shakily as he let it out. Before he could call anyone, somewhere close to the cab he heard a soft tss, tss, tss of a personal stereo, before the door handle gently popped open.


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