The day had been long - it was raining, and mist settled over the city line a fine, white blanket. It was wet on my tongue and streaked across my leather jacket, slicking across the water-resistant material until I was enveloped in a chill. I’d been out all day, and running on less than four hours of sleep and a shot of caffeine… and I was ready for a hot bath and my bed.
The only thing that I had to do was catch the train - and then there would be a bumpy, hour-long ride… and then I could rest. Even the jostling of the train wasn't going to stop me from enjoying the heated cars, and the sound of the screeching, whistling tracks - all the louder for the wetness - could easily be drown out by headphones.
I just had to make it through the ride home, and I was free to rest for the next few days. I'd been so busy over the past week that the thought of laying down and doing next to nothing was practically Heaven.
A gust of air chilling along my skin let me know that the car was approaching, and I shifted to stand in line. Squealing metal against metal pulsed through my head, and the train came to a stop in front of me; it only took me a second to slide through the doors and slip into the first empty seat that I could find. Better still, it was the last train of the day, and people seemed more sensical than to be out in the rain. Obviously, I'd made a poor decision to venture out... but I'd had too many appointments to cancel. I was just glad that the day was over.
I dropped my bag into the seat beside me, hopeful that the soaked material would dissuade anyone from venturing to sit there and converse with me. I pulled headphones from my pocket and flicked my phone to my music player. With a small sigh of pleasure, I pulled the hood of my jacket up and sank into the seat. As my music started to play, the train pulled out of the station... and the squeal of the tracks - screaming like lost souls on the River Styx - was drown out to the sound of guitar and drums.
I jerked awake with a start. A low curse spilled from my breath when I looked around... the train was empty. It took me a second to realize that we weren't moving. If I'd missed my stop, I was going to be royally fucked.
It took me another second to realize that the mist that had clouded the windows like a wash of foaming sea was slowly starting to spill inside of the train car. A frown quirked my features; I leaned out of my seat long enough to see if there were people in the cab in front of me.
It was empty.
A quick check to the cab behind me proved to give the same result, and I felt my chest twinge for a moment in concern. Had I been left on the train? I thought that the workers usually performed some kind of check to make sure that no homeless people slipped in for a warm nights sleep, but maybe they'd been slack on their jobs? Maybe they were just as ready to go home as I had been... so ready, it seemed, that I'd fallen asleep.
I glanced down at my phone just in time to see the screen snap to black. My thumb instantly hit the power button, and a low battery symbol flashed the screen. A low curse poured from my chest.
I was going to have to use a damn payphone to call my ride. Great. I turned my eyes to the windows - it was dark outside. I wasn't sure if I was pulled into the car station, or if it was literally just that dark. A steady rain poured down, only intensifying the mist around me, making it impossible for me to see more than a few feet from the thick glass windows.
"Fuck." The word bit hard into the silence.
The fact that it was so silent was chilling to me - even though I wasn't in the city, I lived in a town that always seemed to have noise, whether it was sirens or some drunken or tweaked out homeless man shouting about the end of days. The fact that I could hear nothing made me wonder exactly where I'd ended up. The train only ran a line to and from my hometown to the city, and all of the stops in between. It wasn't like I could be too far off from where I wanted to be.
I stood, slinging my bag over my shoulder - the material was no longer wet, proof to the fact that I'd clearly been asleep for longer than I'd meant. I scanned the car slowly; bags and suitcases still remained on the ground, stuffed into seats, kicked aside.
Had something happened that had forced them to evacuate the train? If so, what jackass had decided that leaving me here alone was a good idea? I fumed in irritation, but I'd have to make a complaint to the train station's manager later. For now, I needed to get off of the train. The mist was seeping into the cabin more, and I realized that the door was slightly ajar; it was what made the sound of the rain so loud, and brought in a rolling scent of the moisture as it pounded against the metal of the car.
"Great." I didn't have an umbrella, and I felt no guilt in snatching up the closest one that I saw and letting my wrist fall through the loop. If they were going to be uncaring enough to leave me sleeping on the train through whatever emergency had happened, I wasn't going to give a shit about snagging their dollar store umbrella.
The chill of the mist and rain crept along my spine, making me feel cold even in my leather jacket. But it didn't matter - I wasn't going to stay on the train, when it was clear that no one was here. With a small sigh, I stuck a hand into the cracked door and shoved hard until the metal gave and slid open on its track.
The damp air stole the breath from my lungs and made me frown. Something felt off, but it probably had to do with the fact that I was cold, somewhere that I didn't know... and unsure of where everyone else had gone.
"Hello?" My voice was oddly flat when I called out, muffled by the thick sheets of rain that relentlessly fell from the inky sky. My eyes twisted up; I couldn't see the stars. I didn't even see a streetlight to let me know where I was going.
With a frown, I let the umbrella pop open. I had to take a deep breath to steel myself, but after a moment, I nodded. Stepping into the darkness and rain was terrifying, but the creeping and ominous silence of the train car was worse.
I had to figure out what was going on.
It took me a few minutes of standing, the rain falling around me like a curtain, for my eyes to adjust. The odd thing was, no matter how long I stood, my usually excellent night vision wasn't kicking in like it usually did. I could make out vague shapes in the distance, and I could see enough in front of me that I wasn't afraid of falling on my face as I carefully picked my way forward... but I couldn't make out where I was.
I didn't like the feeling - it burned terror through my chest, and I had to swallow the sensation now. I wouldn't give myself over to such childishness; being afraid of the dark was an instinct that humans had been able to give up a long time ago. There weren't predators, salaciously waiting around every corner to make us their next meal.
At least, that's what I needed to tell myself.
The sound of rain drowned out the soft pad of my booted feet as I picked my way carefully through the darkened train station - I had to assume that I was in a train station. That was the only explanation for the fact that I was irrevocably confused about my location. I'd never been here before, and I wasn't completely convinced that may people had. I didn't know if they had some place out of the way to store the cars, so that the homeless and vagrants couldn't find them and vandalize them.
I wasn't sure about anything. Maybe I was still asleep? The muffled sound of my voice calling out again seemed so surreal, and even the sharp fall of the rain and the mist that seemed to thick for reality seemed so illusory that I had to question myself.
My hand came to my arm, and I pinched at pale skin, slicked from the moisture of the fog that had pooled into condensation droplets on my jacket. A low hiss poured from my chest - no, that had definitely hurt.
So, what in the fuck was going on, and where was I? My heart was pounding just a bit harder than I liked, but I continued to move forward. It was the only thing that I could do.
In the back of my mind, I was reminded of all of the precautionary tales that I'd been told as a young girl. Being along, in an area that you didn't know, in darkness where there were so many places to be pulled aside was a fantastic way to get kidnapped, raped, murdered; all of the tales that a worried mother had told her child to try to keep her face.
I had to force myself to step forward, because those stories were threatening to paralyze me with fear. Of course, my only comfort was the fact that no one seemed to be around, no matter how many times I called out. If someone had wanted to attack me, I'd have given away my position perfectly... but my need for human contact, some kind of proof that I wasn't trapped in one very fucked up nightmare was too much.
I broke into a run, and I knew that it wasn't a very smart idea, because I couldn't see where I was going.
Scene Cut Away - Content in Between
I didn't want to think about the dark thing that was twisting in the corner of the room - my mind didn't want to see what it was. It was almost like it was protecting me, refusing to acknowledge the fact that there was something in the corner, and that something was so definitely not human that I couldn't make out the truth of it.
I'd never run into anything so preternatural that my brain simply couldn't wrap around it. I was shaking, and I didn't know when the tremoring pulse had started. My heart was a thick, frightening thud in my chest. It felt oddly wet for the thickness of it, as though I could taste the blood that it desperately tried to pump into my circulatory system.
Something in that writhing mass of motion paused, twisted, turned to face me. I had the sinking, terrified sensation that whatever that thing was, it could sense my blood rushing as well. A low cry, glutted and angelic all in one chorus of screams tore through the air. It made my ears buzz, but I didn't have time to assess the starbursts that stole across my vision, because the thing twas moving faster than I thought possible, and scuttling towards me on things that most definitely weren't legs, but function as some sort of range of mobility for it regardless. I had a brief flash of tentacles and broken bones spewing forth, flesh darker than any black I'd ever seen, and eyes a crimson as blood. Teeth.
So many teeth.
And then he was diving for me, and I spun on my heels. Suddenly it didn't matter if I could see where I was going - suddenly my need for contact with another living creature wasn't important at all. All that mattered was my sense of self preservation, and the fact that I needed to find a door that I could bar myself behind - I needed to find a way out of this building, so that I could leave that horror behind.
My mind didn't want to process the fact that there could be more of them, that outside could be even more dangerous, hold an even larger array of the monstrosity that chased after me like a hound from hell. I could hear the shattering snap snap of teeth behind me, biting viciously at the air on the off chance that it surged forward enough to catch against my flesh.
It was so ravenous for my flesh, and I wanted to scream at the terror of it. I'd thought that the predators that lurked in the dark were long gone, that civilization as it were now didn't have to worry about it. I was clearly wrong, and the mistake was one that could very easily cost me my life if I didn't wake up and escape.