*I wrote this maybe 1-2 years ago, when I was applying to be a horror chat fiction writer for an app. Hope it’s enjoyable and spooky!
Tara’s day stretched itself to its thinnest strand from morning until night, running from one audition to the next. But now, after one final audition, she makes a weary walk to the underground metro, where a 35-minute ride will take her home.
As she waits on the platform, a sensation slithers down her spine. The hairs on the back of her neck stand up.
But as she looks around, she sees nothing out of the ordinary.
The train arrives, and Tara enters the nearly-empty car. She sits next to a girl reading and across from an old man. She pulls out her phone.
Mom: Are you on the subway yet?
Tara: Yeah, I’m on
Mom: Okay, good. I’ve got a plate of dinner saved for you.
Tara: Thanks Mom
Mom: How was the last audition?
Tara: It was fine
Mom: That’s it? Fine?
Mom: I bet you were great, honey!
Tara: Was scrolling to find some music
Tara: It went well, but we’ll see
Mom: That’s good. I’m so proud of you, honey.
Mom: How long until you’re home now?
Tara: Maybe half an hour
Mom: Okay, see you then, sweetie!
Tara scrolls through her playlist and finds her a song suitable to her momentary tastes: “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N Roses. As she settles in for the subway ride home, the car jolts. Tara and the other two passengers in her car jump. “What the—” the old man says. Another jolt sends them all quiet and wide-eyed. The speaker in the car crackles on.
Tara: Hey Mom, I think I’m gonna be a little late. The conductor came on and said the train broke down
Mom: Oh no!
Tara: And this is the last train soooo they’re trying to figure it out but I’ll be a little late
Mom: I’m sure they’ll fix it soon.
Mom: Did they say what was wrong with it?
Mom: Everything okay, honey?
Tara: Yeah, sorry—the lights went out. Now it’s just my phone light
Tara: Kind of freaky
Mom: Are you safe?
Tara: Yeah. Two other people in this car
Mom: Stay alert. It’ll be okay. They’ll fix it soon.
Tara: It’s so dark in here…
Tara: My phone battery is on 15%, I’m gonna save energy
Mom: Yes, please do.
Tara sighs and turns off the music on her phone. As she pulls her ear buds out, she hears a snaky hiss emanate through the car, followed by a grisly howl. As she and the other passengers look around, nothing is to be seen. But suddenly, the loudspeaker bursts to life again…
Tara: SOMEONE’S ON THE TRAIN
Tara: Now my phone’s on 10%
Tara: But the conductor came back on the loudspeaker and it wasn’t the conductor it was some other guy
Tara: He had the conductor all tied up and said he’s come to collect us or whatever and then the conductor screamed and the speaker went off!!
Tara: Shit 9%! MOM!
Mom: Tara, you have to get off!
Mom: Is there a way to open the door? Or an emergency exit?
Mom: I’ll call the police!!!
Tara: Mom, I’m scared
Mom: You’ll be okay, honey
Mom: Just get out of the car
Tara: We’re trying, the other two people in my car and me
Tara: We pulled on the door but it wouldn’t open
Tara: We tried to break it for an emergency exit and the glass won’t break
Tara: Mom, I’m scared
Mom: Honey, HIDE!
Tara: Hide?! Hide where?!
Mom: It’s dark! Hide under the seats!
Tara: He’ll find us
Mom: He won’t find you!
Tara: Mom, I hear footsteps
Mom: The police are on their way, sweetie, please…
Mom: TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!
Tara hides immediately, and the other passengers follow suit. She hears the girl crying and the old man’s teeth chattering together. She shushes them as a sharp odor slides up her nose, like rotting, like when she and her family had found their missing hamster a bit too late under the couch. The door slides open. The new figure echoes with each slow step. Tara holds her breath and listens as the steps grow fainter…
Mom: Tara??!! Can you answer?!
Tara: He’s gone
Mom: Thank god!
Tara: He came through our car but he didn’t look under the seats and went through the door to the other car
Mom: Oh sweetie! Just stay there! Wait for the police!
Tara: I feel so lucky that
Tara: Oh no
Tara: Mom, he’s got a flashlight
Mom: That’s probably the police, honey
Tara: No, it’s him
Tara: Mom, I—
A sharp pain hits Tara in the chest. She rolls out from under the seat, screaming. When she opens her eyes, blackness encases her but a different sort, not the darkness of the subway out of power. She sits up slowly and reaches for her phone. 2%.
Tara: Mom, are you getting these messages? It’s been a while since you’ve responded and my battery is dying
Tara: I don’t know where I am. It’s dark here but I don’t think I’m on the subway anymore
Tara: Maybe the police came and I’m safe?
As she goes to call her Mom’s phone number, a chill injects itself needle by needle down her spine, and the rotting smell returns. She suffocates, gripping her phone tighter. The screen flashes. She looks at it. 1%.
Unknown Number: Hello, Tara.
Unknown Number: Nice to have you here.
Tara: Do I know you?
Unknown Number: Yes. I collected you. It was your time to go.
Tara: What the hell?? THIS ISN’T FUNNY! Where am I?!
Unknown Number: Let me take you a little further on, where I keep the others.
Tara’s phone dies. She sees a flash of a curved blade and screams.
© Copyright 2020 Alyssa Cokinis. All rights reserved.