(a picture of now defunct City Hall Station)
This is a very short excerpt from the story. Please enjoy the previous parts at these links:
The downtown train emptied out at the last stop by the Brooklyn Bridge but Andie stayed put. It would be moving to the other side of the tracks, going uptown, shortly. In order for the train to loop back around to the other side of the tracks, it would have to go through the old abandoned City Hall Station. Since it was situated on a tight curve and the conductor would not stop there, Andie opened the car door and stood out on the small walkway between the cars and waited until she saw the edge of the platform. The train moved steadily through darkness until suddenly, the tunnel widen and the sight of a large arched ceiling with darkened skylights loomed into view. She steadied one leg on the chain-link rail and as soon as the platform appeared, she launched herself through the air, the still air awakened by her speed, whooshed past her ears, and she landed lightly on her feet. Andie pulled her flashlight from her backpack and scanned the station. The train chugged along and disappeared at the other end of the tunnel and its echoing rumble dissipated into the darkness.
Andie realized she didn’t even know where to look for the Mole People. Turning around a few times, she called out hesitantly, “Hello? Uh . . . Mole People?” Her voice bounced off the glass ceiling above, bending around the tunnel. She felt foolish turning in circles in a deserted train station, even though no one could see her. This was one of her weaker plans. If, by some good fortune, she managed to make contact with the Mole People, she had no idea what she was going to ask them.
Andie stood still in the silence, every sense heightened in the near dark, hoping for a response. The skylights above filtered in little light. Andie drew her breathe in to call out again when she heard a shuffle beneath the track. Walking carefully to the edge of the platform, she traced the beam of her flashlight down the track. She saw the outline of something near an arch down in the tunnel. She dug into the pocket of her pants and extracted a small switchblade just in case things didn’t go as planned. And so far, nothing was.
“Hello? My name is Andie Janju,” she spoke into the tunnel. There was no movement or response. “I’m from The High Counci,l” she lied. “I’ve come to talk to you.” The figure disappeared behind the arch. C’mon, Andie moaned in her head.
She lowered herself down onto the tracks and ran down into the tunnel, the light from her flashlight illuminating only a few feet in front of her. She turned around the arch the figure had disappeared and found a blank concrete wall. Maybe this is some kind of gateway? Andie wondered, pressing her fingers against the wall but nothing happened. Sighing loudly, Andie spoke into the air, “I’ll come back another time, then,” she said to no one.
Out of the darkness behind her, she heard another shuffle and turned around swiftly. The beam of light from her flashlight fell onto a small creature, about half her height, with black skin and red eyes. It sneered at the light, brandishing its long red talons at her. Before Andie could get a better look at it, it dropped to all floors and charged at her, full speed. Andie opened her switched blade and took one strong well-aimed swipe at the creature. It fell backwards with a yelp on to the ground and shriveled up into a small pool of black liquid.
Andie shook her head ruefully. Of course no one was around for the fastest victory ever. She raised her arms above her head in mock celebration and was just about to congratulate herself when she noticed something that made her pause. There were three long gashes dripping with blood and black venom on her left arm.
“Oh shit,” she said out loud, dropping her flashlight. Her vision began pulsing around her and her muscles began to weaken. She reached out in the darkness in front of her to steady herself on the wall. Instead, she grasped something that felt like cloth. Before she could ask who was there, Andie’s knees buckled under her. She hit the tunnel floor hard as her vision and her mind went completely black.
. . .