“I just wanted to take the time to say that I appreciate each and every one of you that has taken the time to read this here story, or any of my content for that matter. I’ve been working on expanding my genres, and this is the first horror/mystery piece I’ve written in a while. I do hope that you enjoy.” – Anisa
I was lost. I was lost in the pages between my fingers, warming up to the words as they passed me by. I was lost in a daydream, as the remnants of a life I once loved flitted about, as it crept up beneath my skin, as it tore away at my flesh, burrowing itself in my bones. I sat with a novel in my lap, a traveler’s tired eyes, and a longing to escape. The glass fogged up as the warm interior of the train car helped to lull me to sleep. I glanced around at those around me, at the families with children running amuck, at the businessmen and their late night espresso, pondering their next venture. Everyone seemed calm, purposeful if you will. I wish I could say the same for me.
I pulled my blush sweater up over my hands, resting my head on the cold glass of my window seat, my mind finally beginning to settle as I drift. I rested with ease, with the thought that once I wake I will find a way to begin this new life of mine, one where I no longer had to run, one where I no longer had to be afraid. The world around me still, the only sound penetrating my dream was that of my own breathing. I had been ready with open arms to embrace whatever it was my mind had authored this time. I could feel my hands start to sweat, as I tossed and turned in my train seat, as though whatever I’d been dreaming had really begun to rattle me. It wasn’t until I felt my throat tighten, the air struggling to reach me, that I began to worry. I needed to wake up. I needed to wake up, and so I did.
I ran my hands along the back of my neck, feeling the sweat of my hair, wondering what it was I had been dreaming that left me so shaken. I looked around, blinking hard so that I could see because the lights had been dimmed quite a lot, and I had struggled to see out into the rest of the train car. I listened carefully, waiting to hear the sound of sleeping passengers, waiting to hear just about anything that would calm me down. The air grew dense, as I found my footing, as I begged my limbs to act. I held onto the train seats as I made my way down the aisle, but to my dismay, they’d all been empty. “Where is everyone? What’s going on?” I thought, as my eyes peered out once more into the dimly lit train car, hoping someone would appear, hoping someone would be there.
I could not begin to fathom how I’d been left here, nor did I understand where everyone had gone. I wondered if something happened, I wondered if I had simply been forgotten, but I knew that wasn’t true. I felt it from the moment I had awakened, the strange sense of uneasiness that turned my stomach, that left me for dead.
Growing closer to the door at the end of the aisle, I pried it open, closing it behind me as I slipped inside. The air had been heavier in here, and it smelt of rot, of something rancid. I fumbled around, guiding myself through by the light that peeked through the glass of one of the train cars before me. My foot got caught on something as I moved, and I bent down to free it when I realized what it was. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t speak. There lies a lifeless man, his eyes gouged out, as I could see the dried blood around his mouth. His chest had been torn open, organs spewed about near his body, as though someone had been looking for something. I couldn’t quite understand the magnitude of the fear I’d succumbed to, as I stood over his body, leaving him behind as I continued through. “There is no saving him.” I told myself, but I could not put that image from my mind. It wasn’t long before my trembling hands wrapped around the door handle, as it opened and I slid inside. It was absolutely silent, so silent in fact I could hear the sound of my heartbeat thud into my ears as the blood began to rush to my head. I couldn’t begin to make sense of this, as I flitted through a nightmare that never seemed to end.
“Aware are we?” I heard a voice say, from the far end of the train car. As I inched closer, I took in the impeccably dressed woman, her black petticoat laid out over her spidery legs, her wide brim black sunhat tilted forward covering her eyes.
“W-what happened?” I asked, hoping for an answer, hoping she would give me the insight I so longed to learn. Though, I couldn’t help but notice how odd the encounter had been, as she sat there at the window staring out into the black, murky night sipping lightly on a cup of tea from the teacart.
“Whatever do you mean, dear? Oh my, you don’t look so good. Please, join me,” she said, and I obeyed.
“What happened to everyone?” I asked, as I couldn’t help but stare at her. Her red painted lips coating the teacup as she sipped, how calm she had been, how uneasy it had made me feel.
“Everyone? We’re alone. Are you having one of your episodes again?” She asked, a look of concern washing over her, as she set the teacup and saucer down.
“You don’t understand, I fell asleep, and when I woke up the entire train car was empty, dark, and something must’ve happened! I saw a dead man’s corpse right outside that door! Don’t you understand?”
“Now now, there’s no need to raise your voice. I’m sure whatever it is that’s bothering you can be dealt with. Please, have some tea,” she replied, pouring me a cup of tea.
It had all been quite strange and for a moment I could’ve sworn I’d been dreaming. I couldn’t think, I could no longer ask any questions, all I could do was sit there with her, wondering what it was that was happening to me. In that moment, I couldn’t explain what had changed, I couldn’t explain why I had not been fearful of her, after what I had seen. I simply felt as though I had been drifting, moving through time entirely unabridged.
“I’m here to help you, dear. I’m here to make it all go away,” she started.
“Make what go away?” I asked, shuffling in my seat, unable to sit still.
“Your impulses, your inhibitions, as that is why you’re really here. Have you forgotten already? Have you forgotten what you’ve done?”
I found myself holding my breath, grasping at my throat as the air ran thin. I wanted her to help me understand something, anything about what it was that was happening to me. I got up to leave, and for a moment it appeared as though she had wanted to stop me, but she let me go.
“You’ll soon learn-” I heard her say, as her voice dissipated, leaving me completely and utterly alone.
I walked through endless aisles and empty seats until I happened upon a door that framed a window letting in just a sliver of sunlight, giving me the slightest bit of hope. I began to question myself, to ask myself whether that woman had been real, whether I had simply entered a fugue state. I could feel the heaviness in my chest begin to ease, as I opened it, and just like that the nightmare had been over.
“Ma’am are you okay?” Asked the man before me, concern surfacing in his expression.
“She will be,” said a voice behind me, as I turned to look at her. She gleamed, with the kind of excitement that eradicated any sense of calm I may have begun to feel. I couldn’t run. I had bene hounded, surrounded, and it was then I knew.
“You did this, you did all of this. I am going to ask you again, what have you done? What do you want?”
“Oh, shush now. Your confusion is quite adorable, as I’m sure we’re both aware of what I want, of what you want. This isn’t about me, this is about you. You’re going to wake soon, wishing you would’ve listened, wishing you could escape. I am not holding you, I am not here to harm you, I’m here to contain you. I know who you are, I know what you’re capable of,” the words fell from her lips, sinking beneath the surface of skin, as they settled. I felt as though I was going mad, I felt as though any semblance of reality has been stripped from me, and all that had been left was the will to make it out, the will to make it out alive.
“It’s time you ask a different question, dear. What is that you’ve done?”
I woke once more, the novel in my hands clung to my chest as I looked around at the seemingly normal train car, at the people that slept effortlessly, painlessly, and I took a sigh of relief. I managed to lift myself from my train seat, making my way down the aisle to the bathroom. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, the greying of my skin, how lifeless I must’ve looked to just about anyone I had passed. Something didn’t sit quite right, as I turned to close the bathroom door, and that is when I saw it. There she was, in the back corner of the train car, her hands dripping blood on the aisle carpet, her neck, chest, and face, gouged out entirely, and I tried to scream. I tried desperately to scream, but nothing came. I looked at the mirror one last time, and I saw it, the flicker of glee in my eyes. This wasn’t a dream, none of this had been a dream. My fingers wrapped around the edge of the sink, as I tried to steady myself. I could hear her voice now, warning me, treading lightly around my desires, but something clicked.
I walked back out to the train car I had woken in, noticing the subtle differences, inching closer to one of the passengers, until I realized they hadn’t been sleeping. They weren’t sleeping, they were dead. I felt a chill pass over me, as I looked out onto the unsuspecting faces, frozen in time. “What have I done?”
I sat on the floor, rocking back and forth, trying to come to some conclusion, trying to convince myself that this simply couldn’t be. I wanted so desperately to wake from this, this terrible dream of mine, for it had to be a dream, right? I began to cry, I began wail so violently I felt my heart struggle to pump beneath the surface of my chest. That is when I felt her approach me, as she bent down to calm me, her hand brushing against my hair like a child.
“I told you, it’s going to be okay. I’m going to make it all go away,” she said.
“Why did I do this?”
“You’re a dangerous girl, one that doesn’t belong in a world like this. You crave more, you need more, and so you take. The uncontrollable will to take, as though something very important was taken from you. An act of revenge, a never-ending act of revenge.”
“Wh-what do I do?” I asked, hearing the childlike tone in my voice.
“You’re going to have to see it all, you’re going to have to see why we can’t let you out, see for yourself why you’re not capable of being on your own,” she said, outstretching a hand to me, and as I took it, something shifted.
I held her hand, crushing it between my fingers, as they moved to her throat, as she fought to stop me, the breath leaving her as she struggled to fight me off. I was stronger than I had thought, I was capable of much more than I thought. She flailed, finally able to throw me off of her, and I hit my head so hard on the ground I could’ve sworn I would’ve died. Everything faded around me, everything except the growing monster inside of me waiting to be let out.
“Hey, hey wake up.”
My eyes struggled to flutter open, to see the true magnitude of what I had become. I hadn’t forgotten, I hadn’t lost myself, I had been awakened.
“How do you feel?”
“H-how do I feel? I asked, slowly.
“You were out much longer than last time, I had begun to worry,” she replied.
I was finally able to see, to see the subtle lighting above me, the bookshelves in the far corner of the room, the incessant greenery of just about every space like it.
“You,” I said, noticing her familiar features.
“Yes, I had been there with you. I’m trying to help you, if you’d only let me.”
“I’m not sure I need it anymore,” I said, grasping at her throat, my fingernails digging into her skin as she tried to fight me off.
“You’re not going to get away this time,” I said, as I held her there, the life leaving her body once more, and for the first time in a long time, I felt at ease.
It wasn’t over.
It’ll never be over.
It isn’t a dream.
I can’t awaken.
It is my life.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this piece that I’ve written, and I do hope that you enjoyed!