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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.

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