It was a grim and dreary autumn evening, the kind that crept through your jacket just to hide out in your bones. I pulled my scarf tighter and ducked my head against the howling wind.
When I finally got there, the bus shelter offered a minimal barrier to the elements and there was oddly no one else waiting, leaving me to fend off the pelting rain on my own.
It was too cold to pass the time on my phone so I stood, slightly hunched over with my hands curled in my pockets, and thought about the past couple of weeks. Nothing quite out of the ordinary had taken place, yet there was a strange staleness to the atmosphere. Like dead air on the radio; no static, no hum, only eerie silence.
Maybe I had fallen too deep into hibernation mode as I tended to do that time of year. I blamed my bland perception on spending too much time indoors and left it at that. When the season changed again, so would my mood. It always happened that way.
Finally I saw the bus come crawling down the street. It pulled over last minute and the doors flew open. “Sorry lady, I almost didn’t see you there”, explained the driver flatly, without even turning to look at me. I dropped enough coins in the slot and started down the aisle. Strangely, I was the only passenger, which never happened at that time of night. “Must be the crappy weather”, I decided.
The ride to the subway station was quick since there were no drop offs and oddly no pick ups along the way. I got off the bus and headed down the stairs to the platform. The train arrived quickly and as I got on I could vaguely make out only two or three other passengers, quite a ways down in the adjoining car.
The train started moving. The usual, faint screeching sound of metal on metal filled the damp air and was accompanied by the uniform click-click-click of the rails. I usually found the consistent sounds of the subway relaxing, but tonight they echoed too heavy in my head and I was already anxious to get to my destination.
My uneasiness was reinforced every couple of seconds, when the small lights at the top of the tunnel would flash a grave and claustrophobic reminder that we were travelling underground, stuck only between two cold, cement walls.
The view of these concrete walls wooshing by wasn’t much to look at so I took out my phone to pass time during the commute. “Dang it, I must have forgotten to charge the battery” I said under my breath. All of the sudden my screen lit up, then shut off just as abruptly. The image I saw, or thought I saw, in that nano second, sent the existing chill even deeper into my bones. “I must be losing my mind completely”, I quickly reasoned with myself. I put my phone back in my pocket and noted how quickly my imagination took over at times.
Suddenly the lights inside the train started flickering and then turning off for a few seconds at a time, with a spastic static hum to match. The train was still moving at regular speed, so I tried not to jump to any conclusions and anxiously waited for the lights to return to normal. When they didn’t I calmly told myself, “I’ll just get off at the next stop, and take a cab the rest of the way”. That’s when I realized the train hadn’t stopped once since I got on.
I glanced uneasily at the sign above the door that usually announced the stops in neon green script and realized it was blacked out. I decided to head into the next car to see what the other people on the subway thought about all of this. When I stepped through the door, my entire body froze in horror.
Through the flickering lights I watched the three necrotic bodies sluggishly rise from their seats and slowly turn to face me.
The train started to lose speed; the click-click-click of the tracks slowly dying.
Deep, monotonous murmurs droned from mouths half full of rotting teeth. Lifeless, flesh eaten arms reached out towards me.
The flickering lights went black.