Part 1: The day a subway chair ate me

Part 1: The day a subway chair ate me

A Chapter by M.R Steiner
"

There are two worlds just out of your reach, one a place of magic and wonder, the other, a universe of science and power. Choose wisely, for you are the first.

"

You are the first



 

Part 1: The day a subway chair ate me

 


Why does it get hotter the deeper you go underground? The question runs around my head faster than the whirl of the escalator rolling me towards the subway platform. It’s as if I’m travelling through something living, a channel of blood coursing under the warm body of the city above.

 

A robotic speaker crackles, “Stand well back from platform 9.”

 

The screech of a shaking rail drowns out the world as my sneakers bump the end of the ramp. For a moment I struggle to suck in a full breathe. The air is thick with gassy fumes, whooshing at my face as the train thunders by in a blur. The last rattle of the tracks sends a shroud of dust in my eyes. I barely reach up to wipe it away when the twang of my hairband snaps in half. Dishwater blonde strands fall down to my waist, doubly distracting as the bump of another body slides by.

 

“Get out of the way hippie,” says a stranger.

 

There’s too much pain to feel embarrassed. It’s like a tiny shard of glass are poking between each lid. Furiously, I run my fingers against them before the blotchy outline of the station becomes clear. 

 

Something seems different. I step forward among the cracked white tiles and morning commuters. Everything looks the same, it’s the exact route I take to school every weekday, but something just feels off.

 

A croaking voice of a woman drifts past my ear. “You appear troubled?” she says.

 

I turn and get a mild shock at her clothes. She stands veiled from head to toe in dark red silk, hunching down with the frame of an elderly lady.

 

I stutter my response. “Are, you, talking to me?”

 

“Perhaps I’m just talking to myself?” she replies. “But you listened nonetheless, that’s a good sign.”

 

The golden tassels of those robes keep distracting my response. No one else seems to notice her.

 

She tilts her head before asking, “Does my appearance unsettle you?”

 

A rush of embarrassment sends my muscles rigid. The last thing I want is to offend her. “I’m sorry; I’ve just never seen an outfit with that style before, it’s beautiful.”

 

She drops to a snarky tone. “A pity the same cannot be said of your attire, blue jeans and a red knitted sweater, not to mention that long mop you call a head of hair.”

 

The shrill surprise shakes my throat. “Excuse me?”

 

“Your clothes, they’re disappointing, especially for one of your status,” she says.

 

I should just walk away, but morbid curiosity takes over. It’ll be something to talk about when I get to school at least. “What do you mean status?”

 

The outline of her face shakes behind the veil with laughter. “Ah, it appears I’m the first one here as usual, tell me, do you want to know your future or understand the past?”

 

She’s a fortune teller.

 

Probably trying to drum up business, why she’s doing it in a subway, I have no idea?

 

I try to sound sincere. “Sorry, I barely have the allowance to cover my fare. Maybe someone else wants to know?”

 

She doesn’t say a word.

 

I fear what she’ll do next as I nervously say, “Well, I’d better be going…”

 

Her wrinkled grey fingers burst out the veil, now twisting the skin of my wrist.

 

“At least take this keep sake,” she says.

 

A smooth sliver runs into my palm before she presses my hand shut.

 

“What is it?” I ask.

 

“A universe,” the old woman replies. 

 

A horn of a passing train turns my head. The station lights go dark as the rushing carriages beam an orange glow. The veil of the old lady bends closer to the floor. She’s about to keel over.

 

“Are you alright?” I ask.

 

It’s as if she’s shrinking, the veil pools into the floor until it reaches the height of my knees. I bend closer, stupefied, my eyes locking on something stirring inside.

 

I gasp as a little girl in a violet red dress crawls from the underneath the silk. 

 

“Boo,” she says.

 

This can’t be happening?

 

I look around to see the platform deserted.

 

Her young voice calls, “You are the first Bethany, you stand at the crossroad, choose wisely.”

 

The hairs on my neck stand on end. “How do you know my name?”

 

“How can I not know your name, everyone does?” says the girl. “At least they do where I’m from, don’t worry, people will know it here soon enough.”

 

Another screech stabs my ear. I squint as the light returns. The little girl is gone, so is the old lady’s veil. The people are walking by, oblivious.

 

Am I going insane?

 

“Who are you talking to?” asks a tall man, sporting a confused expression.

 

I desperately think of a response. “Nobody, I’m just rehearsing for a play…”

 

It must be some weird psychotic break, brought on by those fumes or the lack of air?

 

Either way, I try my best to dismiss it. I’m sure everything will be okay as long as I make it above ground.

 

Something is still cupped in my hand. I open my palm to see a silver marble glinting back. Perhaps it wasn’t all in my head, maybe there really was an old lady, she could have slipped me something, but how?

 

The speaker makes an announcement. “Next arrival for platform nine is bound for Joana street station.”

 

Thank god, soon I’ll be out of here.

 

I pocket the marble, pondering where it really came from. No doubt something will show up on the news later, a segment about people tripping on fumes in the subway.

 

I think I’ll get the bus home tonight.

 

A man’s familiar voice calls behind me, “Excuse me madam, I was wondering if you had a minute to talk?”

 

I can’t believe who it is when I turn round and shout, “Dad?”

 

He’s wearing a blue suit.

 

Dad’s never worn a suit in his life, nor has he ever slicked his hair back.

 

This is all too confusing. “Dad, what are you doing here?”

 

He grins and says. “Madam, I’m here to offer you the opportunity of all time, I only require a moment to explain.”

 

He isn’t my dad, that voice is too happy.

 

I feel so stupid. “I’m sorry; I thought you were someone else.”

 

He doesn’t stop smiling. “It’s quite alright madam, so do you have a moment to spare?”

 

“My train is next up, but sure, why not?” I say.

 

“That’s wonderful. This won’t take but a second.” His throat splutters a cough before he speaks in a rehearsed manner. “Madam, I am here today to offer you a chance to join the most prestigious higher learning establishment in history, the Daedalus Foundation.”

 

His college must be pretty desperate to be recruiting down here?

 

“I’m sorry, but I can’t afford it.” My train squeals to a stop. “Well, this is me, good luck recruiting.”

 

He keeps grinning regardless. “Our rates are very reasonable.”

 

I step into the train. “I’m sorry, but it’s just not possible.”

 

“At least take this card,” he says.

 

I turn to see his arm stretching between the doors, the silver card wiggling between his fingers.

 

“Door closing,” says a speaker.

 

The door judders, his arm still stretching out. “Please consider our offer Miss Bethany.”

 

He knows my name.

 

The door slams shut, his arm sticking through the glass. My throat rattles out a scream. He’s still smiling, holding out the card as if nothing’s in the way.

 

His body judders all over as he’s a video on pause, his voice repeating in a loop, “It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. It-”

 

The card drops the ground as his body fizzles away in flash. Everyone on the train is staring at me.

 

“Brilliant acting,” shouts the tall man from before, he starts clapping, encouraging applause from the people around us, “You’re going to knock them dead kid.”

 

The floor of the train stirs into movement. I stagger to a seat, my eyes fixed on that silver card. No one else even glances at it.

 

I need a doctor, or maybe an exorcist? Why is this only happening to me?

 

The tunnel lights drift by as a strange whistling sound erupts from my jeans, as though steam is shooting out a tea kettle. No one else seems to hear.

 

I can’t stand the noise. I fumble through my pocket as a sting burns my fingers.

 

It’s the silver marble from earlier. The surface is smouldering as it drops to the seat beside me. It melts into the cushion, sending a waft of burning wool up my nose while it grows in little channels of ooze.

 

I don’t know whether to act normal or run screaming. The seat cushion is rising up and down like a lung. Wheezes of air are blowing at me.

 

How is no one seeing this?

 

The lights shut off. A feint glow beams at my face. The card on the floor is pulsing white, its rhythm matching the breath of the cushion.

 

I look up at the other seats where not a soul is sitting.

I’m alone.

 

The cushion rumbles the chair. I look back down to see a mass of veins running in strips of blue. At its centre is the fleshiest part of all, rising out a slit in the middle.

 

How can it be real?

 

Part of me doesn’t want to believe it. My hand shakes from reaching the cushion to check. The skin runs smooth against my fingers, it quivers then splits, a milky eye stares back.

 

My body tenses, not even a squeal passes my lips. The seat buckles in a chorus of snapped bolts as the metal tilts me to the floor.

 

The chair squeals the pitch of a wounded animal, stretching 4 stiff legs left and right as the skin grows over the frame.

 

A surge of fright picks me up, both legs pump towards the door. Something wet tugs my ankle, the ground rushes at my face with a thud.

 

I’m numb from the impact. My body is sliding back the way it came. I look up to see a strand of flesh, reaching from the lip of the chair. Sets of flat teeth are shooting out its snapping mouth.

 

A glow of the card passes my head.

 

It’s my only hope.

 

 I reach out, arm strained, it’s too far away.

 

The call of the chair reverbs around my ears. I see it brimming with the slather of spit, hungry for its prey.

 

I keep reaching for the card, its glow scorching my vision. It slides a little towards me. I can nearly touch it.

 

The grip of the chair tightens, reeling me in, its feet stamping closer.

 

My body snaps back, everything shifts to a blur. The chair closes above, its wet skin seeping over me.

 

I look forward with surprise as the card whooshes past my head, digging into the cushiony flesh. The chair squeals in pain, dropping me to the floor. I see the wound sink deeper, the light growing brighter and brighter as it erupts in a wave of blinding energy.

 

“Are you alright?” asks a voice.

 

I’m lying on the floor. The train is rolling along as normal.

 

The tall man from before is standing over me with a dozen other people, all casting strange glares. “Honey, I think you need to dial that acting habit down a bit,” he says.

 



© 2016 M.R Steiner


Author's Note

M.R Steiner
review, or you will be deemed lazy and cruel, and your nose will rot off.

My Review

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Featured Review

Last thing I need is my nose rotting off. Too many good smells out there, like honeysuckle and Baklava.

To be honest ? Painfully blunt ? And perhaps a little conceited ?

Very ... well ... written. I could definitely see this story in my mind. That doesn't happen too often. You used wonderful picturesque words which captivated the moment and elements to follow perfectly.

You leave it with the reader wondering if this is a long exchange of a misty dream or one's madness overcoming the self.

If this has truly happened to you (which is what I'm reading from the clarity standing out in here), may I suggest a lovely cocktail of anti-psychotics ?

The good news is you won't be alone as likely I would partake as well. :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

that's very kind of you to say, I still feel I have a long way to go :)

I tend to ba.. read more
dw817

4 Years Ago

Most of the stories I get from dreams and real life. I fully believe that we can all be excellent st.. read more



Reviews

Last thing I need is my nose rotting off. Too many good smells out there, like honeysuckle and Baklava.

To be honest ? Painfully blunt ? And perhaps a little conceited ?

Very ... well ... written. I could definitely see this story in my mind. That doesn't happen too often. You used wonderful picturesque words which captivated the moment and elements to follow perfectly.

You leave it with the reader wondering if this is a long exchange of a misty dream or one's madness overcoming the self.

If this has truly happened to you (which is what I'm reading from the clarity standing out in here), may I suggest a lovely cocktail of anti-psychotics ?

The good news is you won't be alone as likely I would partake as well. :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

that's very kind of you to say, I still feel I have a long way to go :)

I tend to ba.. read more
dw817

4 Years Ago

Most of the stories I get from dreams and real life. I fully believe that we can all be excellent st.. read more
I like this one.Very creative.I think the thought brackets will liven this one up also.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

my thanks Jade, I always had trouble with thought brackets, I think that will be my next goal to sol.. read more

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2 Reviews
Added on December 18, 2016
Last Updated on December 18, 2016
Tags: magic, fantasy, science fiction, dark, love, romance, life, sad, evil, devil, horror, suspense, monsters, good, religion, hybrids, animals, supernatural, depression, science


Author

M.R Steiner
M.R Steiner

a terrible city, an even more terrible region, United Kingdom



About
looking for advice and feedback, every critic welcome no matter what, I will thank you :) more..

Writing