The Subway Station

By , Crozet, VA
"JULIA!!!!" I yelled as I flung the door to my room open. "Do you want to tell me exactly why there is mud covering my Uggs?!" I had just come home from another stressful day of 9th grade and decided that I would take a walk to the North End to clear my head. I loved roaming the streets of Boston and there was a candy shop not too far away with the best chocolate around. When I got to my room, though, I found my brand new Uggs caked with mud, the soft suede fabric ruined. I immediately went to my 7-year-old sister, Julia, who was always stealing my stuff. "Mommy told me that I could wear them, 'cos I couldn't find mine," Julia said, her big brown eyes staring up at me. I hated that look, because when she looked at me like that, I couldn't bear to yell at her. Mom, on the other hand, was a different story. So I stomped away, heading for the kitchen. I was preparing to demand that she buy me another pair of boots when I ran into my dad. He was holding something in his hand and had a frown on his face. "Sophie, what is this on your report card? A 'C' in English? I know you can do better. I'm very disappointed." No!! I had meant to be the first to see my report card so that I could be prepared for his reaction. I always wanted to please my dad and I hated to see him disappointed. How could my day get any worse? I turned away, not wanting anything to do with my family. Back up in my room I collapsed on my bed and flicked on the TV I'd gotten for Christmas. "…this nor'easter will be hitting Boston at about midnight tonight, so you might want to take a run to the grocery store; there's a high chance you'll be stuck at home for a while," the local weather man reported as he pointed to a big map behind him. My day had just gotten worse. I was going to be stuck with my family, unable to get out of the house for who knows how long. I should've just resigned to the fact that there was no escaping this situation, but a plan was already forming in my head.

I followed the small patch of light my flashlight illuminated on the familiar sidewalk in front of me, making sure I didn't stray off onto the road. I had decided to leave the house while I still could and I was planning to get stuck at my best friend, Meghan's instead. I knew my parents wouldn't want me to go, especially after seeing the 'C' on my report card, so I had left at 11pm when everyone had gone to sleep. A note was waiting on the kitchen table, telling my parents where I was and not to worry. I knew they wouldn't panic- I had ridden the T to Meghan's many times and knew the streets of Boston like the back of my hand- but they would be furious. That fury would have to be conveyed over the phone, though, because by the time they got my note, I would already be at Meghan's house and the nor'easter would be in full swing. Little did I know I would not be seeing Meghan tonight.

Unlike some people, I had never found the subway station exceptionally creepy. It was always well lit and I was usually only there for a couple minutes. So, as I was descending the stairs the underground station, I was only anxious to get to Meghan's, not worrying about getting mugged by the sketchy guys living in the subway, or getting trampled by the throng of people rushing to get to one place or another. As I reached the machine where you buy your ticket, I realized that the subway was almost completely deserted. There was a small child by the door of the women's restroom, probably waiting for her mother to come back out. She reminded me of Julia, with her blonde curly hair and brown eyes. There was also a scruffy man with beady eyes and a long beard sitting on a bench, but other than that, the station was very empty. I supposed it was because of the oncoming storm. The wind outside was already blowing fiercely and sleet had pricked my neck as I trudged toward the subway. I got my ticket from the machine and pushed through the turnstile. I looked around at the station. It was a dingy place that smelled of cigarette smoke. My eyes lingered on the edge of the platform, where there was a straight drop down of about five feet. The tracks lay at the bottom of the shadowy world, barely visible in the thick gray haze that settled down there. The thought of being on the tracks gave me the creeps and I shuddered as I moved towards the benches. It was then that I noticed that scruffy man's beady eyes were following my every move. For the first time, I began to feel uneasy. Then three things happened very quickly. First, there was a huge crash outside. Then I saw the scruffy man lunge toward me out of the corner of my eye. The third thing made me more scared than I had ever been in my life- the lights flickered out.

It was darker than anything I had ever experienced, darker than black. It was pressing in on all sides and I wanted to scream, but I knew that there was a homeless, possibly crazy guy in the same room as me and that screaming might be the last thing that I did. So I kept my mouth clamped tightly shut and tried to figure out what to do. At that moment, there was a blood-curdling scream that echoed through the station, sounding like a fire engine. I jumped five feet in the air, terrified. Then I remembered the little girl who had reminded me so much of Julia and I knew I had to find her. She was probably even more scared to death than I was and I was sure that it had been she who screamed. I stumbled through the darkness, trying to sense where the sound had come from. Suddenly, I bumped into something. My heart skipped a beat and I yelped. I soon realized that I had found the little girl, whose scream filled the air again. "Shhhh, it's ok, it's ok," I whispered, but her wailing only grew louder. I remembered what my mom used to do when Julia got scared at night, and picked the girl up and cradled her. I asked what her name and between sobs she choked out a small "Kawa." We sat like that for a long time and soon I could only hear little sniffles. I started feeling calmer, too. My heart slowed a little and I tried to think. I thought I probably knew about where I was- Kara couldn't have wandered far- but I had no idea which direction the stairs were. "Stay right here for a minute," I whispered to Kara and I started to get up. I thought if I could just figure out where the door to the restroom was, I might be able to guess where we were relative to the ticket machines. As I got to my feet and began to feel around me, something tickled my ear and a raspy voice said "Come with me sweetie and I'll keep you nice and safe." "ARGH!!!" I shouted out as I felt a hand grab me firmly on the arm and pull me sideways. My heart was practically beating out of my chest and I tried to remember the moves from my self-defense class. I twisted my arm and fell to the ground. Quickly, I scooped up Kara and started running. I had no idea where I was going. My feet pounded the concrete of the floor. My sense of direction was completely lost in my terror. The only thing I could think of was getting away from that man. I just kept imagining what the man would've done to me and I was paying no attention what-so-ever to the fact that the room couldn't go on forever, that I would run into a wall at some point. That was when I fell. The floor suddenly just wasn't there. Five feet down and I was on the tracks.


I landed with a loud crack as my head slammed into the tracks and I felt a sharp pain in my leg. Kara had landed on top of me and wasn't hurt. With a jolt I recalled what my mom had once said about the tracks. She had told me about the third rail, which is a highly charged metal rail that made the train go. The one thing I was thinking about now was how she said that touching it meant instant death. I sat up cautiously, knowing that my shifting even an inch could be fatal. "Kara, do not move a muscle," I breathed. I suddenly remembered my flashlight. I was so stupid! I had had a light all along! I reached for the clip that hooked the flashlight onto the belt buckle on my pants, but it was gone. Gone along with all other hope of getting out of the shaft alive. It must have come unclipped when I fell. I could feel something else in my pocket, though. I slid my hand in and pulled out my cell phone. Praying it had battery left, I fumbled around with the keys until I found the power button. I sighed with relief as it played its start up jingle. The red battery light was flashing, though. I knew I didn't have much time, so I moved quickly. With the feeble light, I managed to spot the deadly third rail and drew in a sharp breath as I realized it was only centimeters away from my right leg. "O.K. Kara, I'm going to put you on my back. We're going to get out of here," I said to Kara, pulling her onto my lap. "No I want my mommy. I wanna go home," Kara replied as tears started trickling down her face again. "Shh, don't cry. I'm gonna get you home," I tried to reassure her, but my voice was shaking. I didn't see a ladder anywhere in sight and it felt like knives were stabbing my left leg every time I put weight on it. No!! I yelled to myself- my phone's screen had turned black, and we were plunged into darkness once again. At that moment, to my horror, the ground started shaking. I lost my balance and grazed my hands on the sides of the shaft. I didn't notice the pain at all, though, because I knew I was going to die. A train was coming and I had no way to get out. This was beyond anything I had ever felt before; Way beyond fear and terror. I was panicking. My sobs mingled with Kara's as I realized our horrible fate. If I could just find a ladder we could be saved. So I stumbled down the track, clinging to the wall as far away as I could get from the third rail. Something furry brushed up against my leg. I had heard stories about rats the size of cats that lived in the subway and I shivered. The rumbling was getting louder and louder, the floor quaking beneath my feet. I felt like my leg was on fire as I limped with increasing urgency down the track. This was no way to die. I was only 14! I would never get to go to college or marry the man of my dreams; And Kara; Kara who reminded me so much of Julia. She had her whole life ahead of her and now she was going to die. I wasn't going to be able to save her. Just then a speck of light appeared in the darkness far into the tunnel. It was the train. Death was only a minute away, hurtling toward us at 50 mph. As the rumbling became deafening, I tried to claw my way up the wall, desperate for some kind of escape. Funny how I had been thinking about escape earlier that day , and now I would give anything to be safe in my bed, my family close around me. I just couldn't let Kara die. She was too much like Julia. Now I could make out the front of the train. I had to save Kara!! Using every ounce of strength left in my body I pulled myself up on the edge of the wall. "GO KARA! PULL YOURSELF UP!" I yelled as pain seared in my leg. Kara struggled and made it over the wall to safety. I was getting woozy, though, the agony taking over. The sound of the train was all around me and I could make out the face of the conductor now. In the last second, I let go of the wall, unable to hold on any longer. In the final moment of my life, I saw the emergency lights in the station flicker on. Then there was blackness.





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