Broad Channel

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic thriller.... view prompt

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Thriller

I have to get out of here.


The lights are out. I’m not sure if the subway door will open if I pull on it.

Panic. Calm the hell down. That’s panic. I should wait for help.

I don’t need to panic because panic doesn’t help anything.


No one ever uses Broad Channel station. The most underused station in New York. That's why it's so empty. That's why it's taking awhile.


If you panic you won’t make good decisions at all. Be smart.

The car just stopped and the lights went out all at once twenty – six minutes ago and there wasn’t any explanation. But I don't need to panic because things like this happen sometimes.


There was an announcement maybe but I was asleep. I shouldn't have been asleep.


I take this route all the time and I’ve never had a problem.

I wonder if it’s an animal or something. Joe Rogan said on his show that happened in DC I think. They just cleared the animal off the track and it was fine. It was like someone's dog. Who even lets their dog get into the subway?


People take their pets way too many places. People are idiots about their pets.


It’s two am I think but I can’t see my watch in the dark. It was one thirty when we left the last station. Someone will be here. This is New York, not some hillbilly town. They have rescue people. Subway rescue people. Like that only work in the subway.


They say if you’re lost just stay in place. That people don’t get found when they run away.

Where would I run away to? I don't have any choice but to stay put.


Someone is coming to find me. I’m sure of it.


Of course I would get stuck on the subway wearing these pants. I hate these pants. They don't fit and I hate pants without cuffs. When I get out of here I am going to the store to buy pants with cuffs.


Wait - maybe I heard – a motor - no. Not the car starting. Nothing.


It’s so cold that the windows are almost frosting. That’s bizarre. I've never been on a subway this cold.


I never thought I’d mind being the only one in a subway car. Usually it’s a relief if it’s just me. I can sit and sleep a little bit and not worry. I’d kill for someone to be here. Even one of those guys that sings with the keyboard around his neck. Even some homeless guy. I'd give him ten bucks if one of those guys was here, right now.


Someone is coming to find me. Someone is coming to find me.

Blue lights, outside. Is that an emergency light? It’s barely lighting up anything. I can’t see at all.

It’s so quiet. Alone.

One of those emergency call boxes.


If it wasn’t so dark I could read, maybe. I don't have a book.

There’s literally not one person I can see, in any direction. Even outside the window.

Is there actually a person driving a subway car? Do computers drive subway cars now?

When I found out the computer and not an actual person drove the monorail at Disney World I never forgave my parents.

It’s got to be below freezing in here. I am so cold.


It's New York. They have people. Subway rescue people.


Is asparagus actually good for you?


My cell phone. Jesus Christ. You’re freaking out. You’re not being rational. You can call someone from the subway. Just call someone.

Tell them where you are and that you’re alone. Call 911. Jesus Christ.


Must be under a building. No service.


I have an message with an alert notification on my phone. It just says “Emergency - Evacuate”. But the message won’t open. I've never seen a text message like that before. Evacuate from what? Has there been a nuclear war?


Bang on the windows. What good does that do? Waste of energy. Yell loudly. Still nobody there.

Hey! Help me!

It’s really cold now.

The lights are eventually going to come back on. They just will. That always happens.

This is New York. They have people.


Why didn't we ever cut the tree down at Grandma's that blocked the view from the kitchen window?


The doors do not pry open no matter what. I wish I had joined a gym. I wish I had a crowbar.

Stop whining and start thinking of how you can get someone’s attention.


They say you’re too old to ever have abs after age 40. Like you missed your chance by then with metabolism.


There’s an emergency switch but it isn’t doing anything either. It just flips back and forth. Useless.

Sit on the floor, shaking. Back up again, determined to fix this. You can handle this. Back down again. Shaking. Crying. I need to vomit. I need to pee. Just pee in here. People do it all the time. Homeless people.

They will send somebody. This is New York. Nobody is going to leave you alone in a subway car.


The power’s out and it’s affecting thousands of other people besides just you. You aren’t special.

Just be calm.

Bang on the windows.


I don’t think these cars are airtight so I won’t run out of oxygen. You can live for three weeks without food. Or was it four weeks ?

It’s filthy in here. If I pee no one will even notice probably. It'll just dry up.


I’m so tired. I want to lay down and sleep. It’s dark enough that maybe I could sleep. Pass the time. I need it. I have to work tomorrow. And when you wake up someone will be at the window with a flashlight letting you out. A police officer or something.

Sit down on the floor. Cry.

Thirty seven minutes.

Bang on the window god fucking damn it! Bang bang bang.

I’ll break the glass with nothing. There’s nothing here to break the glass. Useless. I’m just going to hurt myself punching.


When I was a kid I would put myself to sleep at night by imagining that I was in a dark room with everyone gone.


Bang bang. Not me. From up above me. Banging on the ceiling.

Rescue. Someone coming in. Thank God. At last.

Bang bang bang, across the whole roof of the subway car.

Why the ceiling? Maybe there’s an accident and that’s the only access point. Like a hatch.

Just come through the door!

Bang bang scrape.

Digging metal noises. Do they cut people out of subway cars? Like they do in car accidents?

I left the lights on at the office in the break room. I’ll hear about that from Josie tomorrow.

The noise is across the entire ceiling now. There’s no way they need to lift the entire ceiling off the car. Right? That’s weird.

I’m in here. I’m Ok. Not hurt. I’m alone. Can you help?

Silence. Can’t they just release the door?

Maybe the door is broken so they’re coming in that way.


Someone is definitely through the ceiling. There’s a hole opening up and I can see light through it. I’ll start climbing up on one of the chairs. Hey! In here!

What if they don’t see me? I don’t want them to miss me. I want them to know someone is in here.

They’re not going to realize I’m even here. They're going to leave me in here alone.

Hello! I’m here. Can you help me?

Hey!

The ceiling is ripping open. I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.

They’re coming through now, I think.

Hey! Help me!

Oh my God. Oh my God.

September 26, 2020 00:42

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2 comments

This was delightfully panicky and vague.I really liked the ending and how everything turned out (even though the narrator didn’t turn out too great). The short sentences and paragraphs really got your point across well and kept the fast-paced, panicked vibe. There were a few sentences with some wacky punctuation, but I don’t think that was a bad thing? I kinda worked? I’m a little half-and-half with how I feel about them just because they aren’t conventionally correct with the grammar. For example: “Wait - maybe I heard - a motor - no.” ...

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Matthew Eubanks
18:16 Oct 01, 2020

Oh gosh thanks that is so nice. I struggle with the battle between what I want to do in feeling authentic and making things understandable. I appreciate being called on that. It’s ongoing for me

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