Silently sitting on the subway, she just minded her own business. She never slept on public transportation. The girl was the type of person that only fell asleep when she was in absolute comfort. Where safety was 120% guaranteed. Sometime or some place she knew she wouldn’t wake up in some obscure alley.
It was a long trip. Maybe an hour or so. She wasn’t going home and she wasn’t going to meet friends. She was just going for herself. Because she wanted to. Because she could.
There were perhaps between thirty five and forty stops.
Jet black hair tucked behind her ears and fair skin. If you describe her like this, she sounds simply beautiful. But in reality, she was painfully average. Her eyes were neither narrow like that of a model nor were they wide and refreshing. Her nose was round and closer to flat. Average height. Average weight.
Luckily, her style wasn’t so bad. Just simple. A simple light grey coat over a black turtleneck with blue jeans. On her feet, some simple white flats.
The train was empty. The walls were a clean white, outlined in steel. The seats were colored a boring grey. Almost brown because of the wear.
She twiddled her thumbs as she waited stop by stop. The announcements were voiced by high pitched, robotic woman who tediously articulated every consonant. That was all she focused on.
Then the train came to a strangely slow stop snapping the girl out of her train of mindless twiddling.
A shadowy figure walked through the the automated doors. It was hard to tell if the shadow had a face. The figure was long and tall. You couldn’t tell if it had legs because it seemed to just glide across the floor. Not like a ghost. It wasn’t floating. More like a snail or slug. It sat. No… lied down, sprawled across three seats perfectly parallel to her.
She could not see its eyes, but she felt it watching her. So she stopped moving and averted her eyes pretending it wasn’t even there. But pretending can only get you so far. Pretending is ignoring reality. Pretending is a game. Pretending is what you do as a child. Pretending is fun.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as chills ran down her spine. Was it cold? Was it hot? The clothing that wrapped around her neck felt suffocating. Like it was strangling her. She tugged at her sweater trying not to look too desperate.
The figure began to make sounds. Breathing sounds. But it wasn’t calm, it sounded like it was heaving. As if it were carrying something very heavy or had been travelling through the desert without any water.
Unable to pretend any further, she slowly stood up from her seat. Collected her belongings and walked towards the front of the train. At least she could move compartments. But every compartment she passed, it was there in the same spot.
Perhaps she was walking in circles? But a circle is figure in which both ends meet. An underground train surely was a line with two separate ends. So she kept going.
And she was right. The subway was linear. Progressing forward as it should. She marched past the shadowy thing and to the end of the first compartment where the conductor would be. She knocked.
“What is it?” the man inquired in a raspy voice. She noticed a pack of Marlboro cigarettes placed on the panel in front of him. He took his eyes off the straight path ahead to look at her.
“Um,” she started while pointing an unsure finger back behind her. “I think there’s-”
Suddenly the feeling that eyes had been carefully watching her was gone. She whipped her head around to see nothing.
“Actually,” she said, “I was just wondering when the next stop was. It feels like it’s been forever.”
“It’s barely been two minutes since the last stop,” the conductor defended. “I can’t be distracted by the likes of you. Go back to your seat and enjoy the ride like everyone else.”
The girl looked behind her once more to find the train still empty.
“Of course,” she nodded in almost a whisper. “Sorry for bothering you.”
So she sat in solemn silence beside the conductor’s cab. It wasn’t long before something slid down her shoulder and her side. She jumped slightly, but it was just her hair. The hair behind her right ear had fallen out. Immediately she tucked it back where it belonged.
The conductor stopped the train and the doors opened allowing people to flood in. It was a popular stop. He looked through the little window behind him and the window next to him to see if the mysterious girl from before had gotten off here. Maybe it was because of the load of people he could not see her.
Thud, thud, thud. Something tumbled against the window in front of him. Startled, the driver turned back around to see what it was. He tried to peer out the front, but his vision was limited. So he got out to get a better look. But there was nothing. So he went back in and resumed his duty. He drove on.
Left behind was a pale faced girl painted with her own blood. Brown eyes had glossed over truly allowing her to resemble a porcelain doll.
You see, the girl had gotten off at that station. She just didn’t get off at the platform.