“BENEATH THE SURFACE” (Mini Series) – PART I

(Fictional Story)

A typical day in the Nation’s Capital speaks of heavy volume during the morning rush hours, with thousands of commuters both pedestrians and vehicular traffic. On this warm summer day, just 48 hours after the nation celebrated its birthday, everyone goes on about their daily lives as if no holiday has recently occurred. On this particular day the subway system was having track maintenance, which caused a few lines to single track and experiences a much heavier load of passengers than normal. On one subway line, the Purple Line, which just came into existence a few months ago, already seems to push its limits on boarding commuters. This interrupted delay may many people late for work and caused many to stay home and telecommute into their workspace.

It seemed all at once hundreds of commuters rushed down the escalators, which were surprisingly flawless in operation, to catch the current train that pulled into the underground station. As the doors opened many passengers were exiting the train as commuters were attempting to board. Quickly this caused a few tensions to rise and physical altercations almost broke out between the two sets of people. The train conductor saw the commotion outside of the train on the platform and quickly made an announcement to have people disperse and go their respective ways. It just so happened that the transit police was in the area to separate many passengers and decided who stayed and who boarded. Once the commotions were squashed and dealt with, the train slowly continued down the tracks to its next station.

The approximate time between stations was five minutes usually, but with trains sharing tracks it added an extra two minutes to the ride. While the train was moving towards the next station, many passengers were forced to stand and grab on to the silver poles that protruded from the floor to the ceiling, and ran along the top of the car. Since every seat was basically taken some of the handicap passengers either had to brave out the ride standing up, or plead with some to exchange for a seat. Although it is the policy to give up your seat to anyone who displays a handicap need for it, many refused and a few violent verbal exchanges were heard throughout certain cars. Halfway through the tunnel the conductor made another announcement that they would be stopping and allow two trains to bypass them once they leave the station. This caused many people to murmur under their breath, which oddly started conversations between strangers.

A few minutes passed and just as the conductor was making his announcement, a loud explosion occurred and a heavy rumble was felt throughout the train. All the lights in every car began to flicker violently as the train rocked back and forth. People started screaming and yelling to each other wondering what was happening, but that quickly turned to survival. A couple more loud explosions rumbled above and caused the tunnel and the train to continue to shake violently. Soon the train separated from the tracks and began to tip sideways as many passengers held on for dear life. It felt like eternity for some as some people couldn’t hold on and maintain their balance, falling to the side of the train tipping over. Several passengers were crushed by falling debris coming from above through the roof of the train, and others landing on top of them. People were pinned between the windows and the pile of passengers causing them to either suffocate or suffer serious injury.

All the lights went out and all people could hear were each other screaming and glass shattering around them. Many people suffered lacerations across the face and to their limbs during this violent encounter. Both ends of the tunnel crumbled trapping them on the small portion of the track they occupied, cutting them off from everyone else. Which seemed like forever, the shaking and the falling passengers suddenly stopped, and an eerie silence fell amongst the scene. Once some figured it was safe enough to start moving, they started checking on each other and attending to those that were underneath the pile of scared commuters. Slowly people started to scatter around the train carefully not to step on people who are still trying to gather themselves. For several minutes people started yelling to other cars to take tally on how many injured and how many dead. The tally came to about a dozen dead and hundreds wounded ranging from severe lacerations to compound fractures. On each car the wounded were moved to a safe part of the train as the deceased were moved to another part of the train.

Finally, some passengers were able to break through the windows that were above them and exit. People had to use their cell phones to get a hint of where they were walking and who was where. All those that exited the train met up with each other as some volunteered to stay behind with the wounded and dead. The passengers in the front car immediately checked on the driver, but quickly found out that she was deceased as well. As some of the passengers attempt to make sense of what happened, others struggled to calm down some who started to panic and speak of unthinkable terms. A few passengers teamed up to walk towards the front of the train, careful not to touch the third rail, and could see approximately a hundred feet in front of them where the tunnel collapsed. Almost immediately several passengers rushed towards the mountain of rubble and started to move away the boulder-like debris. All this was done within a matter of several minutes, which one passenger standing on the track behind the process pointed up. All those that were helping looked up and could see a possible breakthrough into the other side of the tunnel. A couple of passengers carefully climbed up the unstable pile to peek through to see what they can see.

One male passenger got to the top of and was able to see the emergency lights from the next station reflect off the tunnel walls. As he was getting questions of what he could see and before he could answer, a shadow figure displayed itself on the other side of the opening expelling a heart stopping growl. This terrified the man and caused him to fall backwards on the sharp edged boulders beneath him with such force. The male passenger tumbled down the pile of rubble very violently and died as he struck one of the rails, severing his spine. Some passengers screamed in horror as others rushed to his aid to only discover quickly that he could not be saved. No one knew what he saw and what frightened him to his death, except the mystery of what has happened and what could be on the other side waiting for them.

Henry Scott

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