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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.

One Response to “Horror – Part one”

  1. Simon Kim says:

    The driver froze, and watched the door handle with apprehensive eyes. Without a warning,
    the door swung open so violently it shattered into pieces against the wall. The driver yelled, and held his arms over his head in an attempt to protect himself, but nothing came.
    ‘Damn wind.’ he thought as he left his seat and went to examine the door.
    As picked up a door fragment, a sudden thought struck him.
    But… wind?… In a train?
    He jumped away from the entrance, but too late, he was looking straight into the eyes
    of a expressionless human face, although one would not exactly call it… “human”.

    Alice stood rigidly, her eyes open wide and transfixed on the terror that was happening inside the train.
    Chunks of human flesh were thrown against the glass windows, bloodcurdling screams pierced the open air, with the occasional cries for help. Alice forced herself to move, tears were pouring down her face. How could this happen?
    She was running up the escalators, desperate to escape this madness, when she heard the sound of a bell.
    The doors of the train were opening.

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