Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 17

This week's photo is an abandoned subway station - City Hall Station, in New York. It was built as a stop in the New York City Subway System in 1904, but closed in 1949 because the station wasn't very busy and could no longer accommodate larger subway cars.

This photo was taken by John Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek, and it was featured, along with many others of the abandoned subway, in an article in the UK's Daily Mail in 2012.

Being that I tend to write dark, this gave me the perfect setting. Interested to see what you make of it.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.





Paranoid 

When I reached the platform it was empty; the only sound that of my rushed footsteps echoing off the underground walls.

My heart skipped a beat as I looked round, frantic for company. The platform veered off to the left and I hurried along in the hope of finding another soul – but there was no one.

I tried to take steady breaths and calm myself while my ears scanned for any sound that might signify the imminent arrival of a train. The display boards were switched off giving me no indication of when that might be.

My over stretched ears were telling my brain something it didn’t want to hear: that the footsteps I’d imagined behind me since leaving the office and making my way to the station, were not actually imaginary; that they were steadily coming closer, one by one down the long flight of steps to the platform.

My eyes searched for a place to disappear into: an inset in the wall, a corner behind the power box at the end of the platform – even a bench to crouch behind, but there was nothing. I stepped back, hugging the wall and stepping quietly along to the corner. I could only hope they didn’t come round the curve in the platform.

I felt open, exposed, and vulnerable; the epitome of a woman alone at night.

My mind kept running scenarios of being attacked. I imagined running to the edge of the platform and flinging myself off - rather electrocuted on the lines than taken by force.

The footsteps had arrived on the platform. They were light, tentative, clearly looking for me. I wanted to shut my eyes, but my brain wouldn’t let me. I had to know, had to be sure. I looked out at the tiny section of platform I could see and waited.

But nothing; the footsteps had faded.

My ears kept searching for any sound or scrape, but only the echo of the station came back: the air moving through the tunnels, the background rustle of anything from paper, to mice, to the traffic above – no indication of another person on the platform.

I stayed where I was, frozen to the spot for as long as it took me to realise I was holding my breath. I let it out carefully not wanting to attract any attention, certain my potential assailant was still there biding their time.

My eyes traced the hands on my watch as the seconds stretched out to minutes, as I silently pleaded for two headlights to appear in the tunnel.

I jumped at the sound of sonic shots running through the rails as a train approached. The air stirred but I dared not move. I wanted to remain hidden until the last possible moment.

The train pulled in, bright and light, but mostly unoccupied at this late hour. When the doors slid open I made a dash for it, leaping in, my eyes darting left expecting to see someone coming at me. But no one did, because there was no one there. The platform was empty.

A frown crossed my face as the doors slid shut and I searched the station from end to end as the train moved off, but the truth was I’d been alone the entire time.

I leaned back against the wall of the train and sighed my relief, until a gentle cough reached me. I glanced up to find eyes staring at me from the other end of the carriage belonging to a lone man.

He smiled.

My stomach clenched.
 

11 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. Ooo, I like that. Great build up too, with a touch of humour with the song. Thanks for entering!

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  2. Love the tension in yours, Miranda. Here's mine - Miss Pink Sings The Blues.

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    1. Gosh, yours went very dark! Love it! Thanks for coming to join in.

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  3. Replies
    1. Wonderful tale. Leaves me wanting more. Thanks for joining in.

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  4. I don't have a place to link it like others have so here it is...



    She paused at the apex of the curve.

    “I can turn back.” Her words sounded hollow in the empty tunnel. They bounced off of the stone and came back to her. Nothing else came back though. It couldn't.

    She knew if she turned around she would only be able to see the last few feet she'd travelled. Pain told her those last steps had cost something important but of course she couldn't remember what. “I'm already gone” she whispered and took another step toward the unseen.

    Third grade – Checkered overalls, chicken pox, her first time singing with a class chorus; they flashed through her mind like a sharp blade and cut themselves off as her foot touched the stone. Another step took her brother in the spelling bee. Another took the night she was caught stealing. Behind her, memories littered the stone like shards of glass. As each one fell away she felt heavier.

    “Isn't this supposed to purify me?” She was yelling at the stone as she walked. “You promised I would forget! You said I would be better!” Who had said? That memory was gone too.

    Her mother and father's faces were gone, as were most of her teachers and friends. Still, she remembered pain. She remembered crying, and holding onto something precious even as it burned her. Now she cried again as the smallest memories cut themselves free leaving little behind to cushion the rest. The curve was far behind her now, and she couldn't remember it either. Ahead was a short, straight walk into cool blue light. She kept walking, but the pain didn't fade. It grew, dragging at her feet and pulling her hair as her steady steps toward the light became a struggle.

    Five steps to go. Her feet were bleeding from crossing more memories than one person should be able to hold. Had she come here alone?

    Three steps to go. There was something strange about the light. She knew it was her goal but it was cold and frightening and hurt her eyes.

    Two steps to go. That one last memory was still with her. It turned into a blazing fire and rose up between her and the last step. It roared and she screamed as they consumed each-other. She stepped into the flames and felt something snap. Then the snapping was forgotten. She was finally empty. The light ahead beckoned and she fell toward it.

    As she lifted her head from the pillow a soothing voice asked “Are you feeling better Sera?” She blinked at the name but even without memories the answer came to her.

    “I feel fine.”

    There was no fire here, only cool white light and gentle hands. She expected to smell like smoke and didn't know why. Her voice kept saying words while she checked her hands for burns. “I think today will be a nice day.”

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    1. I love how surreal this is. Makes me want more. Thanks for posting it up.

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    2. And feel free to put your stories in the comments. You don't have to have a blog.

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  5. I don't show up late to the party so much as bring an invitation to one you had weeks ago to prove I belong at the one you're having now. Here's this: Reflex

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    1. With this kind of brilliant writing, you come a little 'overdressed' but we welcome that here, so we can admire it and up our own game for the next party! I love that the previous prompts still inspire and get written for.

      You don't need an invitation, you are welcome anytime, we are lucky to have you here!

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