Careful not to slip on the rain-slicked subway steps, the woman rushed down the stairs silently praying she wouldn’t miss the train she just heard pull into the station. It was late and that meant another train wouldn’t be arriving for a while. She reached into her pocket for her MetroCard, slid it into the reader, and pushed through the turnstile just as the telltale ding-dong of the subway car went off and the doors slid closed. The train slowly rumbled down the tunnel, disappearing into darkness. The woman wasn’t the only one who was unlucky. “Shit!” someone behind her audibly cursed. Glancing back, she registered a young man, a good 4 inches taller than her, medium build, with dark hair. Her reflexes and instincts were sharpest after training but it also made her paranoid. Piece of cake, she thought; she could easily overpower him. She moved down the platform away from the man, while adjusting her bulky backpack. Pulling out her headphones, she settled in for the long wait.
Enough time had passed that the woman had begun contemplating taking a cab back to her apartment or even walking. Her aching muscles sagged at the thought of trudging up the stairs into the rain. She glanced down the platform at her similarly tortured companion, he had already dozed off on a bench. She began debating the merits of walking the few blocks in the rain back to The Center. Maybe she could just sleep there? Her impatience won when she heard a rustling sound coming from down the platform. This guy is up to some funny business, and the woman had already witnessed enough lewd acts on the subway for a lifetime. She ripped out her headphones and started back towards the stairs when the sight at the other end of the platform stopped her in her tracks. The young man was still sleeping on the bench. However, a figure was slowly pulling itself up from the tracks. It’s face was pale and flat, where its eyes should have been were instead, sunken sockets covered with molted scarred skin, the two slits underneath were sniffing the air as it stretched its bony unnaturally large three fingered hand up, pulling itself onto the platform and slithering towards its still slumbering victim.
“Hey!” She screamed. “HEY! What the fuck are you doing?” Her shouts had succeeded in finally waking the man up who lunged forward completely disoriented. He nearly fell off the bench, catching himself, and looking around to see where the noise had come from. the creature moving towards him was not hard to miss. The man froze, paralyzed at the sight, his mouth agape and making an odd croaking sound . The shouts had also startled the creature who had stopped but quickly recovered and began moving towards his prey with greater speed. She dropped her backpack on the ground but not before pulling out two short hooked scythes. Running towards the man with such speed she would have been a blur to passerby, she raised her scythes into the air, swinging hard as she came down upon the creature.
But the creature was quick as well, raising itself off its belly onto its feet. The blades cut across its front, slashing its front. The young man howled at the sudden appearance of her, unable to register the lightning speed of the action around him. He reeled back away from the fighting pair, falling on the floor, his legs collapsing like jelly underneath him. As the creature avoided her blows, she moved faster still, the blades slicing the air, just a whir of glinting metal. With a quick feint to the right, she darted to the left slashing its arm, leaving a trail of black liquid to spurt out into an arc. She moved behind the creature ready to strike. The creature stood still, sightless, it would have to sniff her out. Slowly it turned its face over its shoulder, sniffing carefully.
“C’mon,” she muttered, clenching the scythes in her hands. The creature moved abruptly, but instead of turning around, it lunged toward the man paralyzed on the floor before it. Grabbing the man’s face with one large misshapen hand, the creature swung his free arm around knocking the woman into the wooden bench with enough force to break it into two. She lost grip of her scythes from the impact but recovered quickly enough to see the creature still holding on to the man by his face, back on to its front, slithering towards the edge of the platform to get to the tracks below. Without hesitating, she jumped up and charged at the creature. However, the creature’s victim, realizing he was being suffocated by a giant three fingered hand, decided to finally defend himself, and began thrashing around, causing the creature to lose his grip. The man began grasping wildly at his waist but the woman was too quick for him, looping around him, she grabbed the gun out of its holster, and shot the creature twice. It shrieked in pain, reeling back away from its victim. It staggered to the left before catching itself and charged at the woman who shot it again. This time, it fell over off the platform. It lay on the tracks writhing in pain. As black blood frothed from its mouth, the creature twitched uncontrollably. She walked calmly to the edge of and shot it again. This time it stopped moving altogether. The creature slowly dissipated leaving a small black puddle in its wake.
“What. Was. That?” Staring at the same black puddle, the man was suddenly next to her, albeit on the floor since his legs still hadn’t regained any feeling.
The woman turned to look at him. The expression on her face wasn’t of fear or suspicion as the man expected, but confusion and, maybe a hint of worry? Her brown eyes narrowed but she didn’t reply.
He hesitated. He couldn’t have just imagined that, could he have? Was he dreaming? He quickly scanned the scene. A young woman, maybe in her mid 20s, stood before him. Despite being petite, she cut quite an intimidating figure. Wearing all black, her black hair in a slick ponytail, her brown skin seemed to be radiating power. Her legs alone looked like they could crush a man. She held his New York Police Department issued revolver casually in her hand. His eyes darted back to the bench, broken in two. The scythes, covered in black liquid lay not far away.
He looked back at her.
“What was that thing?” he asked again, quieter this time, and then added in a smaller voice, “Who are you?”
She knelt down in front of him, looking straight into his eyes. She paused for a minute, studying him. Large welts were already started to spring up in the shape of the creature’s hand on his pale frightened face. He was younger than she had first thought.
“You better come with me.” She said abruptly, standing up and extending a hand.
Maybe it was because he just saw her fight a creature that came from the bowels of the subway with lightning speed or because when she knelt in front him and looked into his eyes, he couldn’t help but trust her, he took her hand. She pulled him up with such force that he was airborne for a few seconds before his feet slammed into the ground. Without exchanging another word, he followed her up the stairs and back into the rainy night.