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D. T.

H A N N A H

© D. T. Hannah, 1994
2.2.5.
D. T. Hannah.

Year: 2016
James Taylor`s pram bumped down each step in rapid repetitive motions forcing
his head to bounce up and down comically, or so it seemed for if he were to lose interest
in the intriguing movement before his twenty nine year old mother, Becky pushed him to
the bottom of the stairs he would cry as loud as he could to tell her that the game was no
longer any fun.
Becky looked around, her two older children, Robert: eight and Jennifer: seven,
had run on ahead. Eager to meet their father who had been away nearly a week. David,
her husband, had been transferred to a distant outback town, while she and the kids had
been held back by her secretarial job. Of coarse with the usual grinding slowness of
overworked personnel officers and their backed up computer files her own application for
transference still hadn't returned.
So for the time being the Taylor family was doomed to spend the week apart only
to dash down to the underground train station every Friday afternoon to greet him as he
got off from a three and a half hour trip, tired but always grateful to be home.
David had called on the public phone as soon as he was on the train so they would
know where to meet him, this time, platform 15 on the train numbered 2.2.5.
Becky carefully rolled the pram down the last few steps in time to see a blue and
white train close all its doors simultaneously and start to move away, the bright red to
pink digital read-outs placed at regular intervals along its side clearly said:
224 NORTHERN SUBURBS/NOR-EASTERN SUBURBS
Good, David`s train was next, now it was only a matter of about half a minute
before he was among them again.
Becky waited among the commuters who had just arrived and the travelers who
had forgone the 224 in vain hope that the next train would be less crowded - it wouldn't
`Mummy, where's the train?` Jenny`s sudden voice made Becky realize that the
train was oddly overdue.
`I don't know, Honey.` Becky answered confused, it had been at least a minute
and a half since the 224 had left and in the tunnels under the city, trains were rarely late.
Too late and a it faced the possibility of being hit behind by the next train, maybe that
was what had happened...
No. Becky forced all thoughts of an underground collision out of her mind, it
couldn't happen, not when David was so close to home, it just couldn't.
Finally the lights of the next train could be seen way into the otherwise black
tunnel ahead. `There it is.` Becky said to the children noting a definite tone of relief in
her voice.
Jennifer and Robert leaned out further to see better and immediately Becky
grabbed their arms, holding them back until the train was fully stopped.
As it approached, its headlights lit up the opposite wall and the line of people,
each standing poised to race his fellows for a seat. Becky watched the doors to see which
one David would come out when she saw one of the glowing red digital read-outs, it had
the same destination but the number was 226.
Becky frowned, what happened to the 225? she craned her neck to see over the
bustling commuters, David was nowhere to be found. The doors of the 226 whispered
shut and it moved away.
`Mummy, where's Daddy?` Robert asked when the platform was clear enough to
see he did not get off that train.
`I don't know.` Becky admitted getting more worried by the minute.
David wasn't on the next train.
Or the next.

`Well where the Hell is it?` Benjamin Smith, the man in charge of everything that
goes on in the subway control room was not in the mood to restrict the normal
colloquialisms sprinkled liberally throughout his vocabulary for the workplace.
`I can`t find it- it`s not there.` the anguished Tamnet operators words ran over
each other.
Ben looked up at the giant Tamnet screen, the system that allowed by use of
homing devices, tracked the movements of each train and then displayed their positions
on a map half again as large as a man. Smith didn't know how the Tamnet system
worked, but he did know that since it was installed, the risk of collisions had been almost
nullified.
`Well, how could a whole train just disappear? Just like that? Off the radar?` Ben
exclaimed, clicking his fingers to emphasize the unlikelihood of vanishing.
`Either out of range or someone's destroyed the homing device or maybe
somethings tampering with the signal or I don't know, the systems so new we haven`t
ironed out all the faults.` the operator answered.
Well it wasn't a fault in the system, platforms 15, 23 and 8 all claimed that train
225 was still overdue even after following trains passed, no driver said to have seen any
wreckage as he passed the spot where the 225 was supposed to be and a train crashing by
itself but leaving the track clear for the next train to pass unmolested was a ludicrous
suggestion. How could someone destroy the homing device anyway? it was located
between the front pair of wheels where nobody could get to it. Even if it was successfully
disabled there was supposed to be another unit, one with less range but claimed to be able
to withstand a bomb blast. There were no signals from either unit, for that matter, the
radio was dead, train 225 couldn't even be reached by its public phone.
Ben ran his fingers through his slowly thinning hair, it was as though train 225
had disappeared off the face of the earth. but how? caught between 224 and 226 it had
nowhere to go - Unless, Yes! The old system of tracks, when trains were slower and less
organized, dozens of points led to branch lines to go to anywhere from anywhere, service
lines, main lines, sidings, all disused for years by everyone except the rats. Some of these
lines would have to be in condition at least.
Ben looked up at the Tamnet map, no, this map only showed lines in use, he
looked up and bellowed:
`Malcolm!` his assistant. `Get me all the maps of the train lines in the general
area- even the ones not in use.` even after all these years in the same job, he could still
shout over anyone else he knew.
Ben Smith left the Tamnet operator who was still feverishly interfacing with his
computer as if by mere keystroke the missing train and all its passengers would magically
reappear. Over at his desk Mal had laid out the map of the line where 225 was supposed
to be.
`God. There`s dozens of `em.` he breathed at the network of lines that lay over the
page like an ancient spiderweb, constantly being built over. `It could have gone
anywhere.` He removed his glasses and rubbed resignedly at his eyes.
Malcolm spoke up. `I have an idea.` Ben stopped rubbing his eyes and looked up
waiting. `Its just that even though we put in the Tamnet we still had the old computer on
line for a backup and it would document any point changes, even the old ones.` He
looked about nervously like a child anticipating a beating.
Ben looked at him as if he should of had something else to say and then slowly:
`Ok, lets have a look at it then.`
Mal jumped to the desktop terminal and had the file in a matter of keystrokes,
obviously he had looked at it earlier but failed to mention it sooner, maybe Ben Smith
was beginning to become a bit of a tough boss and was intimidating his subordinates to
the point where they were hesitant to approach him with new ideas. Maybe in the future
he should learn to be a bit more relaxed but later, this was an emergency.
`This is a pretty busy line so point changes halfway along are fairly rare.` Mal
began. Ben strode around the desk so that he could see what Mal was looking at the only
thing was:
Time Point Direction Notes
4:15:25 107 B 11 UNAUTHORIZED
4:15:35 107 M LINE UNAUTHORIZED

`So point one-oh-seven switched to branch line one-seventeen for ten seconds and
then switched back.` Malcolm translated.
`Where does this branch line go?` Ben asked.
`Ummm,` he studied the map for a moment. `Line twenty three.`
Benjamin looked up at the Tamnet. `That line`s in use.` Thank God the trains
were traveling in the same direction. `Then where?`
Malcolm was already on it, he called up another file and almost an identical
message:
Time Point Direction Notes
4:15:47 87 B8 UNAUTHORIZED
4:15:57 87 M LINE UNAUTHORIZED

Warming to the chase Ben said: `And where's branch eight-oh-three go?`
Tracing the so marked line with his index finger he stopped. `It goes further
underground. A long, long way underground.`

`Damnit Damnit Damnit!` Joe Vaughan ground out between his teeth as the train
slowed to a stop and the television screens displayed the usual apologies for the
inconvenience and a promise that train 607 would be moving as soon as possible.
Bethany Williams studied her partners sudden anger for a moment, she wasn't
surprised, actually she felt pretty ticked off at the delay herself, it was just that they were
so close, so Damn close.
They had been keeping track of a highly successful drug dealer for about a month
now as part of a token task force set up directly by the government to battle `escalating
drug problems` but Bethany suspected to fight falling opinion polls. Still, it functioned as
well as could be expected. The drug dealer Raymond Doust as far as they could tell felt
he ran his business like any legitimate businessman, he wore expensive clothes and
jewelry, owned about four or five expensive cars which he left at various parking stations
or back streets but only kept one outside his fairly ordinary looking block of flats ( which
he owned.) and that was what Joe and Beth used to their advantage when they finally had
enough to bring him in for questioning.
They double parked in front of his Mercedes blocking his escape that way but he
had been more resourceful than they expected. He ran across them in the hallway of his
floor and recognized them (even though they were fairly unknown plain clothes police.)
and dashed out though the fire stairs. Outdistancing the pair of them he burst onto the
front lawn and finding his car blocked he decided to try his luck on foot running down
the service alley around to the back of the block of flats.
Joe was out of the building barely before Beth arriving just in time to see a flash
of red disappear around the corner, not waiting for his partner he ran on hoping to catch a
more substantial glimpse of his quarry. Around the back of the flats was a bare concrete
area with dilapidated looking clothes lines against an old wooden fence, behind that a
train screeched to a halt. There was a station close by.
Raymond vaulted the fence into a barren yard with three pairs of railway lines
piles of rubbish and bordered by fences of various sizes but all covered with graffiti. He
ran across the tracks and climbed the wire fence over to the parking lot for the railway
station.
Joe, and followed a bit further back by Bethany pursued the fugitive into the
station where he boarded a waiting train seconds before the doors shut, the partners
arrived in time to see the train moving away.
Winded but angry at their failure to bring him in they stubbornly refused to give
in, waiting for the next train without thinking in hope that they may catch Doust yet.
But now it was hopeless, the realization that Raymond was a lost cause for today
at least was infuriating for Bethany because she always felt an iron determination would
get her to the end the victor, her parents had always called this a stubbornness that ran in
the family, maybe her father could be described as stubborn but she was determined.
Still, it couldn't help now, they were stuck in this train and in the one ahead,
Doust was safely out of reach but still as unmoving as the rest...
That was it! of coarse. There was still another chance of getting Raymond Doust.
`C`mon.` She grabbed Joe`s arm and pulled him along towards the front of the train.
`What?` He asked.
`We can still get Doust, if these trains stay stopped.` They came to the end of the
train where a lone seat faced the windshield, sitting on the seat a young man in uniform
with the words `Subway Security` embroidered on a badge on his sleeve.
The `Driver` was not really the driver of the automated vehicles, he was just a guy
paid to sit at the front of the train and man the radio and stop if there was a failure in the
on board computer and act as a uniform policeman to help out lost kids and stop vandals.
Beth flashed her badge as did Joe and asked: `How long do you think we`ll be
stopped?`
He shrugged his shoulders. `Hours. Maybe.`
`Look, we need to get onto the train ahead before it gets to the next station.` Beth
stated. `Is that possible?`
He considered the request for a moment and then as he reached for the radio, `I
think I better talk to the control room and see what they think.`
And so it was organized. Joe stepped off the train and looked around, the tunnel
was well lit and the security cameras that control said would follow their movements
glinted dully in the fluorescent light. Something about this tunnel was wrong, Joe could
feel it though he couldn't explain what made him feel weird. Bethany was walking on
ahead fearlessly and Joe shamed himself into following dutifully but he could not shake
the feeling that something bad was going to happen. Beth walked into a patch where the
light overhead was out and the darkness seemed to swallow her up like a hungry animal,
Joe, following walked into the darkness that seemed to reach out for him with tiny
tendrils of blackness to draw him deeper inside...

Malcolm`s wire rimmed glasses reflected his computer screen. `Ok, I've isolated
all the power below branch eight-oh-three, we can restore power to the rest of the sector.`
`Good.` Ben said. He looked up at his second assistant, Jane, who was standing
nearby.`Put all the power back into the trains- but make sure those cops are back.` She
ran off and Ben turned his attention back to the map Mal had just bought in, the lower
levels. This station catered for two main lines, each with two tracks so that trains could
run in both directions simultaneously, once there was need for three main lines and the
third was below, there were also storage yards and train maintenance bays and return
loops which had all become redundant since the station had failed to be a main station
anymore.
All of the unused track still lay down there, some was in disrepair, some would
still function, Ben was certain that the missing train was deliberately stolen, its signal
carefully masked and its passengers unwittingly taken deeper into the earth, not knowing
the danger they were in until it was too late. Where the Hell were those Security
personnel?
Ben looked up at the Tamnet map. `Why the Hell aren`t the trains on line twenty
three moving yet?` He yelled to everybody who was supposed to be dealing with the
restart of the lines.
Jane ran up to him. `There's a problem.` she stammered.
`What now?`
`We've lost contact with the police officers.`
`How?`
`I don't know.` She shrugged.`The cameras just seem to have gone dead.`
`All of them?` He gasped.
`No just the ones between six-oh-six and six-oh-seven.... where the police officers
are.`
Ben clenched his fists, he should never have authorized letting them off that train,
now its just compounding the first problem. `You had better show me the tapes.`
Jane led him to the corner of the control room where the wall was covered in
video screens, the operator had it ready and played it as soon as they got there.
`Here.` he indicated six screens all with different images of the tunnel, the far
right had the front of a train marked 607 and from this stepped two individuals, they
walked purposefully to the other side of the screen and were out of view for a moment,
seconds later they appeared walking across the second screen past a giant air duct, soon
they were out of sight of that camera too, a moment later appearing in the third cameras
view, after a while they were walking across the forth screen and the operator said: `Now
watch this.` He pointed at the second screen.
Nothing happened for a moment and then suddenly dirt and bits of rubbish
scattered from around the air duct as if the air was blowing out from it instead of in like it
was supposed to, it got stronger as the metal slats bent and buckled under the forceful
winds until they finally popped out and Ben knew something was in there, he couldn't see
anything except that garbage was being flung about and suddenly the camera cut out
leaving snow on the screen.
The winds seemed to be affecting the area that the third camera was focused on,
bits of metal thrashed around and then that screen was covered in snow, the second
camera to mysteriously come off line.
The police had by now become aware of the weird winds and turned around
confused, Ben saw the next screen hiss into snow. `Run Damnit.` Ben ground under his
breath even though this was a replay of past events. The winds whipped around the two
police officers and then that camera was enveloped in snow. The young plainclothes
officers were gone. Ben stared at the only two still operating cameras, the first with the
front of the 607 and the sixth with the rear of the 606 standing waiting patiently for
permission to move.
`God.` Ben breathed, `What the Hell`s going on?`
Something had to be done. Ben turned to Jane, `Right I want The six-oh-seven to
crawl along looking for anything that may have been left on the track, maybe they were
knocked unconscious by all that garbage flying around and the same with the cameras.`
Jane was very white. `But how could something like that happen?`
`I don't know.` He looked away. `Maybe a freak gust of wind or something, I`m
sure it will all be explained in a week or two, just give the orders to the trains. Everything
will be fine.` He assured her but as she walked away he wondered if it really would be.
Something big was going on and Ben had a feeling that the disappearance of the 225 had
something to do with this separate seeming incident, this was going to be a bad night.
`Benjamin Smith!` A loud voice bellowed out his name, Ben looked up to see the
florid face of Wal Davidson, the head of the Security personnel, a good man whose only
fault was a short temper ( which he never lost around Ben.) at last something was going
right. These men were trained for this sort of situation and Ben was certain that there
would be no problem in finding the missing train now.

Becky Taylor knew something was going wrong here. First, David`s train doesn't
show up as if there was no train meant to be there and then no trains show up at all for a
whole five minutes, and then start up again as if nothing happened. That was it, she
would have to go to the authorities, maybe they could reach David by the public phone or
maybe they would know what happened... They would say if the 225 was involved in a
crash wouldn't they?
Suddenly, five uniformed men ran in through the entrance, some were carrying
sophisticated looking equipment, some were even armed with small guns Becky had seen
police on TV use, one carried a larger weapon used in riots, they all carried hard hats
with lights on top and breathing apparatus.
The uniformed men strode confidently along the length of the platform to the end
where the one in front ( who looked in charge,) used a key to open a door restricted to
authorized employees only. Behind the door was darkness so the men put on their hats
and switched on the lights, silently they descended into darkness.
Becky knew that these men had something to do with all these strange going ons,
these men were obviously here to help but somehow they made her feel worse.

Chris Moore scanned the tracks in front of train 607 as it crept along at a snails
pace, looking for anything `out of the ordinary` as Jane from control had said, especially
concerning the security cameras, well that much was obvious, the last three had been
trashed- totally. Not just broken but looking like someone or something had grabbed its
insides and twisted until the outer casing cracked and splintered leaving warped
electronics and severed wires hanging out like the guts of a dead animal you swerve to
miss on the highway. Not only that but rubbish was all over the place, on the tracks
strewn about as if a train had not passed in centuries and to match, parts of the structure
were bent or twisted like in an old mine shaft. This was the first situation Chris ever felt
he could truly describe as `spooky`.
Still no sign of the two police officers who had stepped off his train only minutes
ago, where could they have gone....
Then his flashlight fell onto a pile of white looking sticks between the two tracks,
curious, Chris stepped off the creeping train and ran on ahead to investigate, when he saw
what really was there he gagged in shock.
Lying in a pile were perfectly formed bones, ribs, collar bones, femurs, finger
bones all covered in a mess of red liquid that stank with a coppery smell. There was no
flesh or clothing in sight, just bones and blood and lying on the top of the gory pile, side
by side, two blood covered skulls, both grinning as if there was some immense secret that
they knew and knew soon that Chris was going to find out as well.

Lyle Packard had been part of the Subway security for five years and never had
he ever been called to investigate something as weird as this missing train, excepting of
coarse a year ago when a train went missing from its storage shed, but that was by an
idiot with a lock pick looking for thrills, this was completely different. This train was full
of passengers! How could a full train go missing? This was definitely the strangest thing
that had happened yet.
When Packard asked himself who HE thought did the deed, the word terrorist
sprang to mind immediately, who else had the manpower, the weaponry, the reason to do
such a thing? Common criminals do not set up a stunt like this do get a dozen wallets and
some watches, no, the reason would have to be linked with a hostage situation where
much more could be gained. If that was the case, then Packard and his comrades may be
walking into a trap.
That was the reason why it was decided unanimously for at least a few of the
personnel coming to be armed. Packard checked his own Cooler digital handgun, the
safety catch was off and the guide made a tiny red dot on the wall ahead, pulling the
trigger, Packard could send a blast of ultra-concentrated laser light and reduce an inch
thick titanium plate to a glowing lump of scrap. He wouldn't come unarmed.
Still, in a hostage situation, the enemies usually want the world to hear their cause
so its not a good idea, nor standard practice to blow away anyone who comes within a
kilometre, just hostages. Packard felt he wasn't in danger, but a lot of civilians were.
After a short discussion it was agreed that the primary task of the group was to
locate the lost train and decipher the current position, control would inform them by use
of the cord-phone that they brought if a call was made through from the men responsible
informing that it was indeed a hostage/terrorist attack. Packard looked at the cumbersome
phone, radio did not work so deep underground so their only link to control was the thin
insulated wire they laid out as they moved along.
At the bottom of the stairs was a long unused station, dusty even down here and
after so long unventilated, breathing was hard, they all switched in their air and from
minuscule jets below their chin, good air floated into their faces.
Packard looked about at the interior designing of yesteryear, pretty boring and
suddenly laughed. `Hey, Boss look at this.` Benjamin Smith, the newest man on the team
looked up in annoyance at the sound of his nickname, all because he shared the same
name as the big boss who ruled over the control room with an iron fist. `Check this out,`
He indicated a large poster on the wall opposite the platform, `Discreet escorts.` he read
out aloud. `Call in and see us.` it was all written next to a picture of a woman dressed in
clothing so out dated that it was laughable. With current add restrictions, an add as
obvious as that would never be allowed.
`Come on guys.` Wal Davidson, the red haired leader called them over. `This is
serious.` He gave Packard a look that said that his fuse was half gone. `Now this is the
map of the area, and we are here.` He stabbed a point on the map which had vaguely the
same shape as the station. `We have to get to this line here- branch eight-oh-three by this
service passage. Over there.` He looked up and pointed at a small rectangle of black on
an otherwise dark grey wall. `Lets go.`
The service passage was long, black and boring, strange enough, some of the guys
looked nervous, most just checked their equipment. Buz the phone operator was being
helped by the boss to unroll the phone cord as they walked along, Will Moreley was
trying to pick up the trains signal but if the mono-tonal blips were any indication, there
was no sign.
At the end of the service passage was a plain single pair of tracks disappearing
into the darkness to the left and disappearing into the darkness to the right.
`Right.` Davidson began. `This is eight-oh-three and that way,` pointing to the
right, `is back up to the main line twenty three. `I expect the train to be further down
considering how long it took control to switch off the power to this area, but I am going
to send one man back up to check in case it stopped. Any volunteers?` No hands showed.
`Good man Packard, I guess we will see you when we get back up there. Goodbye.`
Packard was left standing alone wondering why he had been chosen for the dumb
job. DAMN! the most interesting thing to happen in weeks to break the monotony of
catching pickpockets and vandals and he was sent back before any action started. Figures.
Trudging obediently back up towards the mainline above thought he heard
something, a crash or something, probably one of the others shooting down bad guys. A
weird wind blew up from behind him, how could that be? There was no ventilation down
there, what would be making that wind? Train? No. Maybe.
Packard heard a rattle behind him and spun, only a wind borne piece of rubbish
but why did he feel that something was down there? something that felt his presence as
good as or better that he felt its. Packard felt his skin prickle and a cold sweat broke out
over his brow, the wind got stronger.
Packard held the gun ready and gripped so hard the knuckles of his hands turned
white, although deep down he felt... knew that the weapon would be useless he assured
himself in its weight, its physical presence, the way it fitted his hand all were things that
he knew, that he could comprehend, that he could believe in.
And then it moved. Packard saw nothing but again he felt it, knew that it was
moving, coming towards him gathering speed, taking in momentum as if the faster it
moved the more dangerous it would become. A drop of sweat trickled down the side of
his face, he strained his eyes, searching the darkness for something. Anything.
Somewhere deep inside if him was constantly screaming over and over. Run Run Run
Run.
Was that movement?
Run Run Run Run.
The wind blew stronger.
Run Run Run Run.
There it was. Packard did not see it but he knew it was there, in front of him
blowing up pieces of garbage as it moved, bending great steel supports as it passed with
amazing speed going faster and faster, crushing tin cans and shredding cardboard boxes
and dispersing the torn pieces.
Whatever it was turned the corner as if it was on the rails as a train would be
screaming onto the straight where Packard stood. Run Run Run Run.
He couldn't move.
Run Run Run Run.
He remembered the gun.
Run Run Run Run.
It was looming over him
Run Run Run Run.
It hit him like a hot blast of wind but icy cold and suddenly it was all around him,
for a moment his vision blurred and he felt like the wind had taken up a physical presence
and was pulling at his face and his cloths and hands and legs, it pulled harder and Packard
felt like his skin was coming off, his lips were pulled from around his mouth, his gums
peeled from the edges of his teeth, his exposed eyeballs pulled out of his skull, collapsing
as they were drawn through holes smaller than themselves. His fingers peeled from the
bone, dropping the useless weapon. His clothes torn away were followed by his skin, and
then the red exposed muscle beneath revealing the rib cage.
Hair all over his body stripped in a second, his legs had skin peeled layer by layer,
through the levels of muscle, cartilage, sinew, until the bare bones gave under the weight
of the still not quite stripped torso.
His skull was stripped to the bleached white bone on the outside but inside the
forces were still at work, ripping at the brain, escaping out from any hole possible, the
eye sockets, the mouth the nose holes. Inside the rib cage the organs were constantly
being eaten away, the lungs, the liver, the stomach, the still beating heart dissolved into
the air above as it flew past with extreme velocity.
Suddenly the winds were gone leaving the dead quiet of the tunnel as it was
before its two intruders, except for a pile of white bones lying between the tracks and a
bloody grinning skull.

Jon Quinn sat at the rear of the train. What a terrible night, what a terrible day.
His collar restricted his what others had once called an over sized adams apple, he
loosened his tie but that did no good, what he needed to do was get out of this suit before
he died of discomfort. This was supposed to be a great day, the day he closed the most
colossal deal he had ever dealt with before but the developer had pulled out at the last
minute and without time to find a new developer the whole thing folded in on itself from
lack of steam.
The mood at the office had been positively rancid after the loss which Jon had to
admit was partly his fault because of the way he handled the deal after the developer
pulled out, But he felt so disappointed to say the least.
But to add insult to injury the trip home had been Hell. Something must be wrong
with this trains brakes, the stopping and starting at stations was so jerky that Jon`s slowly
waning headache returned at full power, and then they suddenly just stopped. Halfway
through a pitch black tunnel, for five whole minutes, no explanation, no nothing. It
seemed ages before they started up again.
Jon opened his briefcase, digging through the mess within, there had to be an
aspirin somewhere, anywhere, the headache was killing.
The trains lights dimmed and Jon could feel it slowing down again, he groaned,
that was all he needed. Another delay. Why couldn't they manufacture trains that could
run for more than a couple of hours at a time? Suddenly the train screeched to a halt
throwing Jon against the vertical bar normally used by standing passengers, What the
Hell was going on?
The dim yellow emergency lights came on revealing the crowded inside of the
train, down at the other end it was the same. He could see down at the other end because
there was no narrowing of the inside where the train bent to take a corner, when the train
was moving it twisted and turned in an almost eerie fashion. This time, it lay on a straight
and Jon could see the far end, confused passengers calling to each other, shouting to be
heard over the person who was shouting to be heard over them. The noise level was
steadily increasing.
Jon stared out the window, wishing that he could somehow teleport himself away
from all the pandemonium, into the cool musty silence of the tunnel, that was what he
wanted, some peace and quiet.
There was a strange wind blowing past the train, very strange. Jon thought the
train was much deeper underground than this to be affected by gusts of wind from
outside. Then bits and pieces of rubbish were being blown all over the sides of the train,
blowing up against the windows, it would seem dangerous to have so much junk lying
about that could be blown up by a freak gust of wind in a place where packed trains
roared past so quickly.
The wind was blowing up chunks of dirt now, pulling up areas that looked like
they had lain there for centuries. Jon stopped watching with mild interest and genuine
concern took over. The wind looked Really Strong.
The noise inside the train had died down when people noticed all the noise
outside, it was really whistling past, this had to have something to do with the stoppage of
the train, maybe the power lines had been downed or something. No, that wasn't right,
Jon knew that a mere wind storm was not what this was, something was out there, it
sought them, it hungered for them, for their flesh, it was seeking a way in right now. Jon
didn't know how he knew, but he somehow knew.
Inside the train was dead silent as if the rest of the passengers had also realized
the grave situation they were all in, all eyes peered out trying to see what was going on
and then...
The glass in Jon`s window cracked, a little, and then some more, other windows
were cracking, some faster than others. Jon put his hand over the crack and felt a thin
draft, where the incoming air washed over his extended palm, he felt a tingling sensation,
then a dull pain, than a sharp one, Jon clutched his hand tightly trying to wipe off the acid
like gas. The pain was gone but where it touched him, all the skin was pallid and loose
and felt dead.
Jon heard a crash and then another, he looked up and all the windows down at the
front were smashing, actually imploding all over the helpless passengers and the list of
shattering windows was making its way up the train towards the rear where Jon stood
dumbfounded holding his wounded hand.
People were screaming in agony as the acid air that was on Jon`s hand washed all
over their bodies, hair was dissolved in seconds, clothing fell off in tatters half dissolved,
skin followed exposing raw areas increasing in area by the second.
Jon heard a crash to his left and felt himself being showered by glass, all over
other damage was being done, panic straps rolled about, structural bars bent and broke
the roof collapsed in places. But all around the screams of people as they were torn apart
layer by layer, bone was being exposed, blood showered all over the walls, half intact
victims clawed their way out, ripping off great chunks of themselves and others as they
fought their way to imagined freedom from the intense pain, a half uniformed cop who
still had the movement of some fingers, drew his gun, placed it in his bony mouth and
pulled the trigger spraying blood over the wall behind.
Jon looked at his fingers where the bones were beginning to push through.
He was glad when the acid wind damaged his ears beyond use and took his eyes,
for then he no longer knew about the dozens of others in the train and how they died.

It was not long before they reached the first intersection, as on the map, after
coming down branch line 803 this was the first point the missing train would have come
across, they looked down the two equally dark passages in confusion.
Buz Hawkins wasn`t really concerned about the whereabouts of the train, as he
lay out the phone cord with the assistance of the `Boss`, just do your job, he told himself,
and that`s operating the phone link to the surface. He thought about the last update
control had given, two cops walking along the tracks had mysteriously disappeared only
to be found later a bloody pile of bones, and then five trains on the main lines stopped, in
rapid succession their Tamnet signals winked out. Found later by the ambulance rescue
service, all that was left were smashed up wrecks covered in blood and littered with the
same bloody bones.
No weapon Buz had ever heard of had an effect as horrific as what was happening
to those trains, as a matter of fact he was all for giving up the search for the 225 and
going back to the surface but Wal would have none of it, he had led this particular group
of Security personnel for years and never before had he ever had to back out of a
situation unfinished, either combating criminals or rescuing from a crash and today
would be no different, he was determined to get the job done or bust.
Bust was what Buz feared.
Still, he had his pride and that was what kept him going, he also noticed that the
other two, the Boss and Will Moreley, looked pretty on edge as well. Four men with two
hand guns and a riot gun taking on what hardly seemed to be as mundane as terrorists did
not seem to Buz as a good career move.
Buz looked at Will Moreley, a man around the same age and who had only been
on the squad slightly longer than the Boss, held out the portable Tamnet scanner,
`Nothing.` He stated. `I can`t tell where the train went.`
All four pairs of eyes scanned the two tunnels.
`Hey look!` The Boss exclaimed. He pointed at the part of the point that slid
across to facilitate the switching from one direction to another, it was gone, the point was
stuck in the one position, veering off to the right, as a matter of fact, the whole
mechanism was rusted solid, there was no way of moving that thing. They still had the
trail, for now, but how long would the points be rusted into position? How long would
their luck hold out?
As they set off down the tunnel, the phone rang, strange for the only form of
communication in these black tunnels, the communication that may be used in a hostage
situation, the same communication that was once used during the horrific three train
pileup of 2009, to have a ringing noise the same as an ordinary telephone but there it was.
Buz snatched up the receiver. `Hello?`
`Buz, you and the guys have to find out what`s wrong.` The speaker on the other
end sounded terrible.
`What happened?`
`We`ve lost three more trains, full trains.`
`Can`t you just divert everything out up to the surface?` Buz was shocked.
`We tried but something else is controlling the points, the trains just get turned
around again and again until they`re taken by... by whatever it is that is doing this.` Buz
noticed the use of whatever instead of whoever. `There`s other stuff too.`
`What?`
`Were losing rescue squads, they go out to look for survivors and then we lose
contact, we`ve lost half of the ambulance rescue and you guys are the only Subway
Security guys we still have contact with.` From the noise in the background it was clear
that the control room was in a state of utter turmoil, it was hard to hear the speaker`s
voice. `We`ve also lost contact with the other stations, were totally cut off from the
surface.`
`Can`t you just get up and leave?`
`Yes of course we can but we need to stay and help evacuate everybody else, if
we don't help them, then they are dead.`
`What can we do?` Buz was at a loss, he noticed the other three were gathered
around listening to the morbid conversation.
`You have to find 225. Find out why it was taken down below when all the others
were attacked as they traveled on the main lines, it may tell us something we can use
against it, even if all you can find out is What it is we need it. You may be our only
hope.`
`Ok, we`ll try.` Buz was shaking.
`I have to go, I`m needed.` With a click, the phone went silent.
Wal Davidson was the first to move decisively. `Let`s go, they need us now more
than ever.`
They all started off, no more doubts about the usefulness of the mission, no more
doubts about the safety of the mission either, but it had to be done. That fact was set in
buz`s mind. He knew that if he ever made it out alive, should he look back on life, he
would know that the mutual decision to keep following the train 225 was one he and the
rest of the squad had never been so sure about in their lives. To turn back now would not
only be failing themselves but it would mean failing to the hundreds of people who had
been unlucky enough to be on a train on this day.
They walked a little further, the track began to descend deeper into the cold rock,
the occasional drips from the ceiling became more frequent the lower down they went,
still the track continued in its downward trend.
`Hey I`m picking something up.` Will Moreley was studying the screen of the
portable.
`Which direction is it coming from?` Davidson.
`Uh, Its too far away to define, but I`m sure that when we get to the next
intersection I can point the general direction.`
`Good.` Wal Davidson asserted.
They continued silently down the tunnel of which it seemed was built primarily
for the use of providing a train line to the lower pits of Hell because it went down and
around endlessly. Buz was beginning to wonder if there would be any good to finding out
the whereabouts of 225, and if they did, would they get out alive to tell about it?
Still there was no choice, it was probably safer than a couple of levels up where
squads were going missing as they searched for train loads of mass murdered people....
Suddenly, Buz felt a chill sensation in his chest, it got stronger, a coldness deep
down inside him and an infinite dread filled his heart with black despair. He could feel it,
it was near, it knew of their presence so deep down in its private catacombs and it
hungered. It searched. Buz looked around, the tunnel was bare walls, no service entry's or
even air vents, if it caught them there, they would be trapped. It was moving, it shifted
slightly, it stopped, it turned around, it faced them. Buz didn't know how he knew, he felt
it. It started to move towards them gathering speed. Faster. Faster. It was coming to get
them.
And then it stopped again, it shifted a few feet as if in indecision, it started
moving again but slower this time, unsure, and then it was sure. It began to build up
speed again. Buz didn't see any of this happening, he knew it was happening and looking
around he saw the other three felt the same thing, it could feel people and people could
feel it. It was traveling at enormous speeds, but its trajectory seemed wrong, it wasn't
heading straight for them, the same way that they had come, would it turn an unseen
corner at the last moment or would it pass by, realize its mistake, backtrack and take the
correct path next time?
Without a sound it passed by, so close, Buz felt that all he could do was keep
from screaming, separated by only a few meters of earth, he felt that if he let out the
slightest sound, if he even breathed, that he would betray the groups position and what
ever it was would sink through solid rock to find them and do what it did to the train
passengers.
It was gone. Luck had given them a reprieve, a second chance to complete the
mission. As usual Davidson was the first to recover.
`It is confused by this maze as we are. Now move!` He yelled. `It may come
back.`
In a flat run they pelted down the descending tunnel in hope to outrun something
that had successfully caught speeding trains, maybe they might stumble onto a secret
weapon buried by an ancient civilization who had once in the past fought this menace,
but that was a vain hope inspired by too many movies. Suddenly there was a splash and
freezing cold water crept into their shoes, pointing the lights down they saw it was water,
black as death, Being the lowest part of the series of man made catacombs, all of the
water had seeped down to this point and collected, flooding the whole area.
Still they ran on, their strides throwing up water into each other, they didn't care,
the freezing water lanced up their exhausted leg muscles, but they had to keep going,
keep moving or die.
Finally, the endless seeming tunnel branched, all eyes went to Will Moreley and
his Tamnet unit, he studied it for a moment and then pointed in the direction of the
smaller tunnel. `That way.`
They started up but immediately, as Buz pulled on the phone cord reel, it pulled
back. His heart jumped and for a moment he was sure that the thing was toying with
them, until he realized that the reel was out of cord, in staying linked to control, this was
as far as they went. He called the others back and standing knee deep in the arctic waters,
they discussed what they could do.
`Just leave the phone here.` Wal said impatient to go.
`But its our only way of communication,` Buz reminded him. `If we leave it in the
water, we`ll damage it and we need it.`
`Someone will have to stay with it in case control calls.` Boss decided. `I`ll stay.`
`I will too,` Buz said, `In pairs is safer.`
Wal nodded in agreement. `Good. Moreley, follow me.
Davidson and Moreley left leaving Buz holding the phone and the Boss holding a
handgun. Buz was at first unsure that staying back in the tunnel where they almost
encountered the killer was a good idea, but as he thought about it, it really wasn't any
safer than walking on ahead. The two of them just sat there straining to hear a sound, a
noise, a couple of times Buz was tempted to reach out with his mind and try and locate
the things position but he was afraid that if he did, the communication would betray his
position to it and any thing that wasn't necessary but may endanger them was bad.
Suddenly the phone rang.
Buz grabbed the receiver and held it tightly to his ear.
`Hello?`
`Buz, it`s me again, look, we`ve lost contact with everything, things are really
bad, we can`t even talk on the public address system to warn the people to get out of our
own station, the electronics is shot to pieces, I`m surprised I reached you, look whatever
is doing this knows what its at, the people in our own station don't even suspect
somethings wrong until it gets them too, there are no more trains, we lost contact with the
last rescue and security group ten minutes ago, for God`s sake if we get cut off and you
find out if there is a weapon capable of taking this thing, find another way out and get to
the authorities on the surface because if we don't evacuate now then there wont be
anybody left alive to meet you, we are leaving and were gonna try and get everybody out
of this station....` The speakers words trailed off.
`Hey whats going on?` Buz tried to call into the receiver.
`Sorry, its just something weird is happening.` The speaker sounded confused.
`What? What?`
`Uh, oh just a strange wind blowing around, it just seems a bit out of place here.`
A bead of sweat trickled down Buz`s face as he listened to the empty line, the
speaker seemed to be talking to someone else, while holding his hand over the
mouthpiece of Buz`s phone.
Suddenly there was a violent crash in the control room and the receiver at the
other end was dropped, Buz tried to call someone but no one answered, more crashes and
the smashing of a window it sounded like, it was there.
And then the screaming started, mens screams, womens screams all coming
through crystal clear, they intensified and then died out one by one as if someone was in
there ripping out the throats of each person one by one, or maybe the throats failed to
function as a noise makers anymore or maybe it had spirited away each body as it lay
dying....
The phone line went dead.

Becky was ready to go home and check to see if David got home another way.
Maybe was waiting for her, forgetting that he told her to wait for him on platform 15, he
did that sometimes, forget things. Mostly they were birthdays and anniversaries but often
he forgot that he said things only hours before. The more she thought about it the more
likely it all seemed, or maybe she heard the train number wrong, maybe he had said 221
and since she didn't arrive until the 224 left, he had caught a taxi home and missed her.
That had to be it, why would he say he was on a train that didn't seem to be running today
anyway?
They had a car, Beck could drive the kids home and if David wasn't there, come
back and wait longer alone, the kids couldn't wait much longer anyway.
She had seen the smartly uniformed young man in the station office and he
assured her that everything was fine and apart from a few technical hitches, ( which was a
fairly offhand way of describing no trains in the last fifteen minutes and a horde of
ambulance rescue squads running past and down the tunnels ). He looked very friendly
but Becky could tell that he was lying, he had an anxious look on his face and he seemed
to be having trouble reaching anyone on the phone when she walked in.
Maybe it was just her imagination... where had those kids run off to? oh, there
they are, Jennifer and Robert had pushed the pram all the way to the other end of the
platform, had positioned it so that James could watch them swinging on handrails set up
to help old people onto the trains.
Becky felt a wave of guilt that she had been so irresponsible to not even notice
that her children had walked so far away while she was talking to the man in the office,
but they were ok...
Suddenly there was a high pitched scream, the crowds parted and Becky saw a
horribly disfigured man stagger into the station, he looked like he had been dipped in
powerful acid for a minute and then pulled out still alive.
`Run.` He gasped, falling to his knees.
`Mr. Smith!` The uniformed man had come at a run out of his office and evidently
knew this man. `What the Hell...?`
`You have to get out of here.` The Mr. Smith groaned falling to his knees, no one
moved to help him, no one wanted to touch him. `Get out or die. Get out or what
happened to me will get you.`
Some standing close by, understood right away and began to head for the nearest
stairway up to the surface. What started as a nervous walk turned into a hurried trot, and
then deteriorated into a full running melee, people trampled other people, pushing
shoving, people were crushed in the rush that was not due to the Mr. Smith`s words but to
the fact that every body else was running and panic spread like an infectious disease.
Becky searched around, her children were still at the senior citizens bars but were
standing still watching in confusion at the panicked crowds. She ran up to them, `We
have to leave,` she didn't want to scare them but Mr. Smith scared her.
It would take ages for the whole panicked crowd to run up those stairs and Becky
didn't want her children crushed in the mess but she still hurried along towing Jennifer
and Robert by the hands, past the huge door that the first five Security patrol man had left
ajar.
Suddenly Becky realized that despite the frenzied pushing and shoving, the crowd
wasn't moving at all, looking up, she saw huge blast doors, manufactured in the
occurrence that war broke out and the Subway had to be used as a bunker, had by some
fault in the doors computer or something like that, shut, Barring the way out.
Now the crowd was ten times worse, women and men caught up in the frenzy ran
around looking for other ways out, all of the passages up to the surface and to other
platforms had been closed off. Somebody or something had deliberately trapped them,
the only way out was through the train`s tunnels.
Becky was scared. Very very scared.
Suddenly a strange wind blew up from out of nowhere.

Will Moreley glanced at the portable Tamnet unit, the signal was getting stronger,
he could tell the direction it was coming from for sure now, not that there was much
confusion, the track they followed continued on without branching off, without end.
Suddenly the signal pinpointed, it came through crystal clear, the portable
identified the signal as that of the 225 and estimated a distance of fifty meters. Davidson
shone his light into the gloom ahead and there it was, the end at least, a bent, torn
shattered lump of metal that only vaguely resembled what it once was, Wills heart sank,
it was certain there would be no survivors here.
Will`s assumption turned out correct when they stepped onto the dead silent
carriage, as torn and broken as the end but this time Will gagged, the inside of the train
was covered in blood, splattered over the walls, dripping off the ceiling, inch deep in
places on the floor, it clogged the senses, the smell blocked the throat. The only noise
was the drip of blood into a slowly filling glass jar that had somehow escaped the
destruction.
`Lets go.` Will gasped.
Davidson nodded briskly and they walked out trying not to touch the walls or get
dripped on.
Will was out first and he ran to the stone walls and retched violently, Davidson
was breathing deeply the cool fresh tunnel air, trying to control his stomach too.
Finally Will could throw up no more and he went and stood next to the silent red
haired man. `This whole thing was a waste of time,` He accused nobody in particular `We
wont find anything in there.` He indicated the train with a turn of his head.
`Are you sure?` Davidson was deep in thought. `Did you notice anything strange
about back there?` He looked hopeful.
`Yeah, there's no flesh anywhere.` Will found it hard to talk about the subject.
`Which means that this thing, this whatever it is, eats, the people it catches.`
Davidson deducted coolly, as if this was no more than a murder mystery on the television
rather than this real life bloodbath.
`And what about the clothes?` Will suddenly remembered, `I only saw a few
shreds of clothing back there.`
`Yes.` a light came into Davidson`s eyes. `Where are the clothes? do you think it
eats them as well?`
`Well it ate every scrap of flesh it found but then only most of the clothing, why
do you think it was so selective?`
Davidson frowned for a moment and then a spark of an idea came into his eyes,
he stepped up onto the train and disappeared inside. Will made no move to follow,
thinking himself unable to control his stomach, if he had anything left to throw up.
In a few minutes Davidson returned with a triumphant look on his face, on the end
of his riot gun which he held out to Will, was a piece of blood soaked clothing, ripped but
it looked like a piece of a once white shirt with part of the collar attached. Seeing what
Davidson wanted him to do, he read the tag out aloud.
`One hundred percent polyester. What about it?`
`It`s man made.` Davidson reminded him. `We didn't grow it, nothing in here is
natural, the metal, the glass, it wasn't eaten, just smashed! And did you see that all the
seats were stripped of their covers?` He sounded almost happy.
`So what good does that do us?`
`So we can fight it, just make a suit out of polyester, it cant eat through and you're
safe!`
`SAFE?!?` Will almost screamed. `Look at the shirt. Look at the whole Fucking
train! if it cant eat its way through it tears its way in. To get into this train it would only
have to break open one window, but why do you think that it broke every window? why
do you think it ripped apart the wheels for God`s sake?` He indicated the torn metal
littering the ground. `Do you want to know what I think?`
No answer.
`Because its easy.` Will answered. `Because its fun. Because it likes to terrorize
its victims. Because that's the way it is!`
They stood there in silence, Wills anger waned to where he could think about
other things.
`C`mon, we should get going before it gets back.` He said.
`NO!` Davidson said firmly, Will stopped in shock. `You may think that I`m
clutching at straws in hope that I find an all powerful weapon or magic serum that
protects the user, but I don't, I think that there maybe something that just might help us
and walking away now could lose that chance forever.`
Will was dumbfounded at his stubbornness, they had to get out as soon as
possible.
`And another thing.` Davidson added. `To me walking out of here now would be
admitting defeat, it would say Thing, I know we have nothing to use to fight you, all we
can do is to run away and hope to God that you don't catch us.
`But that's all we can do.` Will reminded him. `We have nothing.`
`How do you know?` He yelled back. `How can you be so sure that there is
nothing on this train?`
Will stood there unable to answer for a moment and then said. `What I do know is
that if we don't get away soon then even if we do find something we`ll be too dead to
care!`
They stood there for a moment staring at each other, nothing else to say. Will
knew that if things were to fall apart here then they would all be dead, him, Davidson,
Buz, the Boss, even Lyle Packard (wherever he was), they needed to stay as a team or
perish in these black tunnels. Will looked at Davidson, a man who had been in charge of
many men for a number of years, many times his will had been adhered to even if he was
wrong, it would be difficult for him to admit defeat and do as his subordinate suggests, it
was something that was not part of his character anymore, the years of unhindered
leadership had worn away that facet of him almost completely. He would not give in.
Will then looked at himself, maybe Davidson was right, was this pessimistic
outlook on the situation an invitation to death? if they walked out would they be as
steeled to fight for their lives as they could be, or would they be resigned to defeat? not
even letting the thinnest hope of getting out alive shine through?
The more Will thought about it, the more logical it seemed, Davidson would not,
or would not very likely give in to Will`s opinion, and splitting would only damage the
group`s combined strength to the point where they would be helpless, The only option
would be for Will to agree to stay while Davidson is satisfied enough to agree to leave.
Doing anything other than that would be to sign all their death warrants. It wasn't
weak, it was smart.
`Look,` he said. `We can look around for a bit and stay safe, I`m pretty sure, but
we have to go soon.`
Davidson smiled. `We will, don't worry.`
Will turned to go to the train, but Davidson stopped him with a touch of his arm.
`We need to stick together as a team.` He repeated Wills very thoughts. `I...I`m
sorry.` Will was stunned, apologies were not what he expected from this man.
Will smiled. `Me too, we`re all pretty stressed out.` Then getting to business as
quickly as possible: `We better go and look at the train again.`
The thick nauseating smell of blood invaded Wills senses as he stepped onto the
train, it was the same, blood covered and destroyed. `What are we looking for?`
`I don't know,` Davidson replied. `Maybe something that hasn't been eaten or
wrecked...`
Will could see nothing, he scraped blood away from the floor and in the seconds it
took to recover the spot he saw that even the floor was torn and buckled, the thing was as
thorough as it was deadly. He also noticed items of clothing that had escaped the
destruction, scraps of clothing, watches, necklaces, belt buckles, all bent or torn or ripped
or severed or gouged, all was eaten or wrecked.
Except the glass jar.
Both men noticed the jar, it was sitting right out in the open as if someone
walking past afterwards had put it there to catch the drips of blood.
Davidson moved to get the half blood filled jar, when Will stopped him
doubtfully, `I don't think that glass is really the material that is impervious to the thing`s
strength.` He indicated the smashed windows.
`Maybe it`s a type of glass.` Davidson said hopefully, stooping to retrieve the
item.
`Maybe it was just too small for the thing to really worry about it.` Will was sure
that the jar or the material had nothing to do with it.
`I feel sure that if you were to take that watch,`Davidson pointed at a stopped
watch with a cracked face, `and take it apart, there would not be one piece that was not
broken or bent, not one gear, not one cog would be in working order.`
`I wouldn't go that far...`
`I would. There was a reason why our thorough little friend left this jar intact and
when we get to the surface, we`re going to find out what.` Davidson seemed so sure of
himself, that his confidence almost lent itself to Will, for a moment, he was as sure as the
red haired leader. But then the moment passed, Will could see nothing in the tiny glass
structure that had weathered the destructive force of the thing and then captivated the
attentions of Davidson.
Had Will failed to notice something about the still blood filled container?
Trying to maintain a line of logic to the situation, he tried to divert Davidson`s
attention to something else. `What about these bones, they're organic, why aren`t they
gone too?`
`I don't know.` He admitted, `maybe bones are harder to digest, take longer,
prevent a quick getaway.`
Will suddenly realized they had been referring to this thing like it was some
supernatural force, a ghost, a hungry viscous specter. These were things Will hadn't really
thought about. He never really believed in the supernatural, but now, looking at the
carnage, trying to figure out what the Hell happened, ghosts just seemed to be such an
easy explanation to turn to. After all this, Will believed that anything was possible.
Davidson wanted to get back to the surface so that the jar could be studied, Will
doubted it really had anything to do with any of the things points of weakness, (if there
were any). But he was grateful for the decision to be finally going.
As they walked back the way they had come towards where Buz and the Boss
were waiting patiently, Will looked at the now redundant portable Tamnet unit, informing
him that the 225 was getting farther away, good. He switched off the machine.
Davidson carried the riot gun in one hand and the jar in the other, Will noticed
that it was still half filled with blood, he was about to tell the red haired leader this when
he thought of something.
`The Blood!` He gasped. `Why didn't it eat the blood?`
Davidson stopped in surprise. `Yes. Why not?`
`I mean, blood is organic and it would be no harder to digest than flesh.` Will
continued.
`Maybe it cant deal with liquid, we haven`t seen it yet so we couldn't tell. Maybe
it just doesn't like the taste of blood.`
`So it separates the blood from the flesh and eats the flesh?` Will said doubtfully.
`Why not? its done harder things before.`
Will nodded, `And that looks like all the blood from those passengers...`
Suddenly, as they turned the corner, a wind whipped up. Smith from the control
room said there was a weird wind that preceded an attack, Will felt a freezing sinking
feeling in his chest, it was back and this time it was in the same tunnel.
Screaming echoed through the tunnel, Buz and the Boss. Davidson and Will broke
onto a dead run towards the pain wracked sounds when suddenly they broke off, the only
noise were the pair`s footsteps and the wind whistling its song of death.
Davidson grabbed Wills arm and pulled him back. `They're dead. We have to get
out of here.`
Will realized he had been running to his death for a lost cause stopped
immediately, with mutual unspoken consent, they both ran back along the tunnel, running
for their lives, hoping it hadn't felt them so close, hoping to get out of range of it`s radar
like ability.
Too late, it knew they were there already, it was moving in their direction,
looking for the right tunnel that would take it to them.
Back to the 225 they plunged, slowly its shattered bulk loomed ahead, there was
no safety in there as dozens had already discovered. Past the train to the track beyond,
where it ended abruptly, a dead end.
The winds were getting stronger, there was nowhere to run, no side passages, no
air vents, no service entry's, just the 225. Will jumped up into the blood spattered wreck,
searching desperately for a place to hide, but would there be one here? when it could so
easily find a person with the telepathic abilities that it possessed?
The winds plunged through the smashed windows and holes in the ceiling, a
violent shudder shook the entire carriage throwing the pair into the pools of blood on the
floor, Will rolled around onto his back, blood was all over him, soaked through his
clothes and hair, covering his skin and invading his mouth and nostrils with its sickly
touch. This was it, he thought, he was going to die.
While one tiny part of him refused to believe that he could die, the rest screamed
in fear of what would happen after death, blackness? a new life? Heaven? Hell?
He looked over at Davidson who was lying in a pool of blood as he was, covered
so that there was not a speck of colour other than different shades of red.
Suddenly he realized that it was quiet, was it gone? was this the quiet before a
storm of pain? was Will dead already? He looked around at the blood smeared train, had
he gone to Hell and was doomed to relive this nightmare over and over for eternity?
Davidson stood up. `Its gone.` he choked.
Will realized that the coldness in his guts had gone, he couldn't feel another
presence searching for them anymore, it had found them surely but for some reason
moved on, maybe figuring them trapped and planning to keep them for later.
`Lets get out.` Davidson whispered.
Running down the tunnel for the forth time, they encountered the knee deep
water, Will could stand the feeling of blood all over him no longer and plunged into the
icy waters, letting the stagnant yet clean seeming water wash away the copper smelling
liquid that clogged the senses.
Will came up and saw that Davidson had also washed off the blood but was
standing still as if listening for something, Will paused and found that he could feel the
thing again, it was far away, the blood had blocked the signal for some reason and now it
was washed off...
It found them. It changed course. It was heading their way again.
They reached the intersection where the line 225 had taken and branch line 803
met, there was no sign of Buz and the Boss, no doubt of what had happened either, there
was no time to run back to the train and recover themselves with blood, at the speed that
the thing was moving towards them they would not make it back that far.
Will started back up line 803.
`No Wait!` Davidson yelled, `its coming down that way, we have to go this way.`
He indicated the other direction. `There may be a stairway or shortcut.`
They began to run down the track, keeping their eyes on the walls in vain hope of
some sort of escape, the terrifying winds whipped up again. Davidson looked back and
saw that he had left the jar on the waters edge when he had washed himself, he was
certain that the jar was their only way of getting out, madly he dashed back to retrieve the
treasure, Will calling out behind.
Unbelievably, it still contained the blood, for a second he considered washing it
out in the water when the wind whipped up even more ferociously and he just ran after
Will.
Will ran on ahead searching for the only hope, a stair or something when his light
fell onto a ladder that disappeared into darkness above. Crying out in relief, he looked
back to see how far behind Davidson was, not far, he began to climb the aging metal
ladder.
Davidson stumbled and almost fell, but recovered his footing, it looked unsure if
he was going to make it, Will jumped down to help him up the ladder when suddenly it
was here.
In deathly silence it circled the pair as if afraid that they would escape for the
third time. Will strained his eyes, he knew it was there, all around but he could not see
anything but the chunks of dirt whipped up by the ferocious winds.
Davidson suddenly remembered the riot gun, he raised it to where he felt the thing
to be most concentrated but suddenly the whole weapon disintegrated in his hand, now all
he had was the jar. Wills portable Tamnet unit also disintegrated into bent and broken
pieces, but still they couldn't feel any pain themselves, maybe it was delaying their
deaths, to squeeze out that last ounce of terror for its own entertainment.
Davidson heard the crack in his hand, the jar was smashing too, it had no magical
powers, it had no resilience to the things strength, Davidson felt a fool for believing that
something as trivial as this could possess the things secrets. The frustration pent up boiled
over and he screamed.
`Bastard!` He pitched the cracked glass at the part of the thing that blocked the
escape by the ladder, the jar passed through and smashed on the ladder and the wall
behind, spraying its cargo of blood all around.
Will watched the blood splatter all through the air where he could feel the thing,
suddenly he realized that it wasn't there anymore, wherever the blood passed the thing
had retreated, the cool taste of fear, fear of the blood reached Will, it hated and feared
blood. There was now a clear path to the ladder.
`C`mon!` He screamed at Davidson and ran to the ladder, he jumped and
scrambled up half to give Davidson as much room as possible to follow and half to get
away himself.
The ceiling was unusually high, even for a train tunnel, twenty meters at least,
halfway up and Will realized that Davidson wasn't following as close as he could, he
looked down and saw his red haired companion straining on the bars. Further down the
thing had pounced and somehow grabbed Davidson`s legs with invisible hands, the
effects were not invisible however, his shoes were gone and the pant legs gone, his feet
seemed to be dissolving, coming apart layer by layer.
Will started down to help his friend, suddenly an artery opened up from the
shredded legs and the things grip on Davidson was temporarily released as blood spurted
out in time with his racing heartbeat, ignoring the intense pain below, Davidson pulled
himself up with his arms alone.
Using another tactic, the thing climbed up his body, pulling off hairs and clothing
and skin as it went, when it reached his wrists it began to work again. Ignoring the mind
piercing pain that now worked over his entire body, Davidson held on, he would not
willfully go down with out a fight.
His hands were raw, his wrists torn away so fast that blood had no time to come
out from the tiny blood vessels, muscle was exposed, sinew, tendons, his knuckles were
the first bones to show, finally, stripped of flesh the wrist bones separated in a snap and
Davidson fell screaming to the bottom, leaving parts of his fingers still clinging futilely to
the rungs of the ladder. His face was turned away for a moment until he looked up to
Will, the eyelids were pulled back or missing, the lips were gone exposing ragged gums,
parts of the cheek and forehead were gone, the red hair had long been torn out. Distorted
by the massive mutilations his voice was a harsh rasp.
`Run.`
Suddenly Will realized that he was still stopped halfway up the ladder. So did the
thing, leaving the already dead Davidson on the tunnel floor, it started to climb the
ladder, or so it seemed, for Will could see its progress as the ladder bent and buckled and
pulled out of the stone wall further and further up.
He ran up the ladder as fast as he could, the thing gathered speed as well, Will
looked up, there was only a small hole to go through at the top, that indicated the
possibility of a door, over the top he went moments before the thing, the top was a door,
it closed like antique submarines, he threw it shut and turned the rusty wheel until the
door was solidly shut, airtight, bombproof, secure.
Will gasped in relief, he had made it, or had he? There was suddenly a thunderous
crash from below the tightly sealed door, it was trying to break through, there was no
telling how powerful it was. He looked around, this was the unused station they had first
encountered upon coming down. All he had to do was run up one pair of stairs and he
would be on platform 15 among people, safe.
The crashing against the base of the door stopped abruptly, Will spun around, it
was still intact, Will couldn't believe that it had just given up in the chase, maybe it was
tunneling around.
It began to move. Slowly at first it made its way to the bottom of the ladder and
made its way along the track, gathering speed but traveling faster than any train could
even if the tracks were not in such disrepair, it was circling, describing a huge arc as
branch line 803 came to the same height. With increasing horror, Will realized that line
803 was somehow attached tunnel-wise to the track he now stood on. At estimation, it
would arrive in less than fifteen seconds.
Summing up more energy from a steadily decreasing well of stamina, he jumped
onto the platform and ran to the wide stairway. The wind whistled menacingly, it was
moving faster than it had ever before, this time its prey would not escape.
He took the stairs two at a time, the wind whipping at his legs, the disintegrating
gas only moments behind. He reached the landing and stopped.
There was a little girl huddled in the corner.
`Help me.` she cried. Her pale tear streaked face was framed by tangled auburn
hair, `Oh no.` she gasped as the winds strength increased.
`Lets go.` Will held out his hand and she took it looking anxiously down the
stairs, she had obviously discovered what followed the mysterious wind, but survived?
maybe she had slipped behind this door and had been too small for it to worry about,
which could only mean...
Will gasped as he opened the door, platform 15 was a wreck, blood smeared, bone
littered and destroyed, the cement of the actual platform had been torn up, leaving
sections sloping every which way. This place must have held hundreds of people.
He slammed the door behind them, Davidson had the key to open it from this side
but once shut, it locked automatically.
Suddenly something slammed on the door from the other side. It. This door was
not as strong as the submarine door at the top of the ladder, the thing may not be forced to
go around.
Taking the girls hand he ran to the stairs up to the surface, staggering from acute
exhaustion, the uneven rubble and the slipperiness of the blood soaked surfaces.
At the base of the last stairs, Will stopped in shock, the bunker doors had shut.
How the Hell? Despite all the destruction to the platform, the bunker doors had remained
untouched.
The bangings on the doors down to the unused platforms had become more
frenzied and the bowing of the solid seeming barriers increased with each hit, there was
not much time.
All of the employees in the subway system had been informed how to use the
bunker doors if war ever broke out, they had all been given clearance numbers to operate
the doors from the office computers if the automated door control ever failed to close and
to open up after the danger had passed.
This precaution was useless now however, the station office and everything in it
had been extensively destroyed, the computer, the controls, everything. The office was
not so blood strewn as out side, as far as Will could tell, there was only one pile of bones.
Will sat the girl in a desk chair while he searched for what he needed, she was distraught.
He tried to talk to her. `What`s your name?`
`Jenny.`
He searched the metal cupboards, not there.
He searched the huge filing cabinets, not there.
He searched the storage drawers, not there.
`What are you doing?` Jenny whispered, hoping that what was banging on the
doors wouldn't hear.
`We have to find some stuff to get us out of here.` Will answered looking
desperately around the room, out of options. Then he saw it, a twisted red metal box, half
open, a tool box. He opened it to take inventory of what still worked, a small crowbar
bent in the middle but not beyond use, cable cutters with the handles torn off but still
workable, and a packet of fusers untouched, excellent.
They ran along the platform back to the stairs out, the bunker doors stood
defiantly solid, pushing over the piles of bones that seemed most concentrated here, and
attacked the seam in the middle where the two sections met with the crowbar, he
managed to get the wedge end in but any time he pushed it open further, powerful
hydraulic pistons pushed it closed again. He wasn't worried, this was partly what he
expected.
A loud crash spoke of the destruction of the demolished doors at the other end of
the platform, it was with them. A sudden wind blew up around them.
Will threw open a power box, filled with safety switches and other cables, the
doors motor contained an emergency battery if the power was ever cut, Will ignored the
cable marked `bunker doors` and went to the hydraulic hoses, there was about eight, none
were marked so Will began to cut them all.
He cut the first, with the handles missing, the cable cutters lost a lot of leverage
making it much harder but still possible.
The second, Will looked over at the crowbar, still hanging out of the door,
wedged between the meeting edges.
Number three, `Hurry,` Jenny urged, as the winds grew stronger.
Four, and the crowbar fell to the floor with a clang, he had cut the right hose.
Back at the door Will pushed the crowbar in further and pried the heavy doors
apart, until there was room for his fingers, he discarded the crowbar and pulled. Jenny
tried to pull at the other door, but she spun around and screamed.
It was there. Being so close to the outside it would not let them slip away by being
unnecessarily slow, it hit their bodies with the force of a thousand tiny fingers pulling at
their faces, their clothes, their hair, their skin.
Will felt his cheek blister and scorch in the acid like gas but he gritted his teeth
and continued to pull at the door, his fingers grew weak and then felt loose in their joints.
The door was still only fifteen centimeters open, he put his foot against the other door
and heaved with all of his remaining strength, the acid wind tore at the pair, searing their
skin, ripping.
The door was open a foot and Will grabbed Jenny around the waist and pulled her
through, with the last of his strength he pushed the door shut with the thing blowing its
acid winds into his face, the door was shut but the thing still pushed at it. Will could not
let go.
Jenny was at his side, trying to help hold the door shut.
`In my pocket.` He shouted above the whistling She retrieved the packet of fusers,
opened it and pulled out seven metallic disks the size of a big toenail. `Put them over the
hole.` He was keeping the door shut so she could stick them at regular intervals along the
seam.
Will knew that fusers normally needed to be lit to operate but these ones were
gunpowder coated, a sharp tap and they lit by themselves, Will looked around, the
carefully swept pavement revealed no rocks.
Will bunched his fists and punched at a metallic disk, it was enough, it lit up in
sudden blue-white flame, Will punched at the other fusers, ignoring the pain as the
already damaged flesh cut and split from each impact. It was worth it, the fusers went to
work, melting the metal together until an unbreakable bond was formed.
The fusers burnt away to reveal perfect joins, slightly blackened and charred from
the extreme heat, if the thing could not pass through the submarine door, then this would
be impossible.
Silence. Will stared at the door.
Jenny stood next to him, probably thinking about lost friends and family, for Will,
there were no better friends than the men who had accompanied him on the search for the
225, Ben Smith, the Boss, Buz Hawkins, the solid dependable man, Lyle Packard, the
wisecracking lunatic and Wal Davidson, a brave man who on many occasions even
before this day had pulled the team together in a tough situation. Too many good men
had died on this day, by this Will meant to include the hundreds of people who had fallen
prey to the thing which hadn't even been given a name.
Will was too weak to stand, no longer fearing the permanently shut bunker doors,
he sat down on the cool pavement, a slow drizzly rain began to splatter down, some
people claimed that the rain these days was so bad that it was bad to be outside when it
rained. But not today, today there was nothing that was as pure or untainted as the sweet
cool rain, Will lay back against a sloped retaining wall letting the water cleanse him of
the horror he had only recently escaped.
Jenny sat down next to him, poor kid, she was probably down there with her
family, now she was the only one left, he put his arm around her comfortingly and she
hugged him fiercely back, burying her face in his ripped clothing, she sobbed in grief.
Together they sat letting the rain soak into their burns and wounds, would they ever heal?
Finally she pulled away and said:
`Maybe there are other people alive down there like me? Maybe we should call
the ambulance, or something?`
`No.` Will doubted there would be anyone as lucky as they were and besides, `I
don't want to send anyone else down there to die as well, too many already have...`

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