October 7th, 2010
“Wait!” A young auburn-haired woman shouted as she ran across a deserted subway platform toward the departing train, ticket in one hand and her book-bag in the other. “Someone hold the door!”
However, no one on the train heard her cries, so the unlucky college student could only stand behind the yellow line and watch in dismay as the train left the station, leaving her stranded on the platform for the next half hour.
Alexis Day let out an exasperated sigh as she turned away from the edge of the platform and stuffed her metro card in the pocket of her windbreaker before walking over and leaning against the middle column in a set of the five columns that ran down the middle of the station’s only platform. Because she had just missed the rush hour connection back to her apartment, the nineteen-year-old college freshman was stuck alone on the only subway platform on her route home that had an extremely gruesome history.
That macabre past included dozens of grisly suicides, gang shootings, and murders, along with a laundry list of other violent events going back several decades. The disturbing regularity of violence and death that seemed to plague the station had frequently extended to the connecting subway line as well. While the route’s official name was ‘Red Line’, at night it was informally known by a more sinister title: ‘Bloodred Line’.
That same morbid nickname system the locals used for the ‘Bloodred Line’ also been applied to the subway station. While the platform and station Alexis was standing on were officially listed on maps as ‘C Street Station’, locals began calling it ‘Cadaver Station’ two decades ago because of all the corpses that were turning up on the platform during the late eighties and nineties. The number of dead bodies that showed up in ‘Cadaver Station’ had declined steadily over the last decade along with the general drop in homicide rates nationwide. However, it wasn’t unusual these days to see police tape sealing off part of the platform or even part of the station entrance every couple months.
Either way, the fact that she was now stuck alone in place where death had been a common event for decades was extremely discomforting. Alexis shifted nervously as she leaned against the white-tiled pillar and tightened her grip on the strap of her book-bag, half-expecting to get mugged or attacked by some creep lurking in the shadows.
The young woman almost jumped out of her skin in surprise when something off to her right suddenly let out a muted groan. She quickly stepped away from the pillar and turned, squinting in the weak glow of the ancient fluorescent lamps that illuminated the platform as she tried to identify the source of the noise.
Then Alexis saw him.
A large homeless man lay curled up on top of one of the platform’s four large stone benches, his head resting against a huge, threadbare duffle bag. His face was hidden by a mop of greasy, disheveled, midnight-black hair along with the grimy white hood of a hoodie, and he had a heavily tattered, dark brown trench coat over top the windbreaker that only covered down to his mid-thigh, revealing a pair of filth-encrusted white cargo pants. The man let out another soft groan and Alexis let out a sigh of relief. If all she had to worry about was sharing the platform with a sleeping hobo until the next subway train showed up, then she was getting worked up over nothing.
“This is wrong… Stop…”
Alexis froze as she heard the drifter start muttering in his sleep. The college student knew she should just ignore it and think about something else, but part of her couldn’t help but listen as the homeless man continued talking in his sleep as he started slowly tossing and turning on top of the cold, hard bench.
“No… Stop it… Don’t kill them…”
Alexis’ eyebrows rose at the ‘don’t kill them’ part. What the hell was this guy? Some homeless war vet with PTSD and extremely vivid nightmares?
“This wasn’t the deal… those people were innocent-”
Suddenly a loud, ominous voice cut the hobo off mid-sentence.
“None are innocent.”
Alexis let out a sharp gasp and staggered backwards toward the central pillar as her heart started pounding inside her chest. The new voice hadn’t come from the homeless man, but from directly behind her. However, when Alexis turned around and looked for the voice’s owner, the only thing there was a few specks of dust floating about in the musty subway air. The freshman poked her head around the corner of the pillar, searching the entire platform with her eyes, but the only two people there were herself and the sleeping hobo. Which meant one of three options: either she simply hearing things, she going crazy, or ‘Cadaver Station’ was haunted. Alexis desperately hoped it was the first one.
A loud, wheezing gasp suddenly drew the freshman girl’s attention back to the homeless man, who was now sitting upright on the bench, fighting for breath as if he was severely out-of-shape and had just completed a marathon. Alexis did a double take when she finally saw the man’s face. The grimy, dirt-covered hobo’s face barely looked a day over eighteen. Sure, she knew several people at her college who looked a lot younger than their actual age, but the man’s youthful appearance and pale, unblemished skin gave her the impression that the guy had to be less than twenty. Alexis had assumed the hobo was some disgruntled, forty-plus ex-soldier given the way he’d been talking in his sleep, so to discover he was probably much closer to her age came as a bit of a shock to the nineteen-year-old freshman.
After a few moments, the shabbily dressed teenager stopped gasping for air and cautiously looked around, slowly examining the almost empty subway station from behind the pair of jet-black teashade sunglasses resting on his nose. He quickly readjusted his teashades with the index finger of his dirty, white glove-covered right hand when he noticed Alexis’ staring at him, pushing them up and quickly hiding his eyes behind his shades’ jet-black lenses.
“H-Hello there,” the homeless teen stammered slightly as he stared at her with a gentle albeit slightly confused expression on his face. “Is everything alright, Miss…?”
“I’m fine.” Alexis lied and shifted uncomfortably for a moment as the drifter looked at her. While his caring expression seemed genuine, for some reason his gaze made her feel like a criminal who’d just been correctly identified in a police lineup. “I was about to ask you the same question.” She added quickly, trying to change the subject.
The teenage drifter slid a couple white, glove-covered fingers under his hood and gently rubbed the side of his head before giving Alexis a dismissive wave as he turned and looked away from the nervous freshman. “You don’t need to worry about me. I’m just a little bit tired, that’s all. Any idea when the next train gets here?”
“It should be arriving in a few minutes,” Alexis said as she glanced down at her watch and then looked toward the subway tunnel, impatiently listening for the screech of an approaching subway train. She heard the drifter say something in reply, but she didn’t understand it. Her mind was too busy processing what she’d just seen when the front of the teen’s trench coat flopped open as he sat up on the bench and revealed more of what she guessed was an XL sized hoodie underneath his coat.
A trio of ionic-style columns in black outline were emblazoned on its chest, with the letters ‘M’, ‘T’, and ‘C’ displayed in large, “Old English Text”-style font underneath.
If Alexis had met this teen a few weeks ago, she wouldn’t have known or even cared where the hoodie was from, much less what the columns and letters represented. However, after last week, she was certain there couldn’t be a single person in America, or probably even the Western world who didn’t know what that emblem stood for. The 24-hour news networks were currently covering the tragedy’s aftermath.
The teenager was wearing a hoodie from Marble Town College.
From what Alexis had heard MTC had been a small, isolated college with a reputation as a peaceful, welcoming institution. That is, until last Thursday, September 30. According to initial reports that night, a massive fire broke out in the middle of campus, resulting in the death of eighty-one percent of the incoming freshmen, who were celebrating the end of orientation on campus and ended up incinerated by the devastating inferno as a result.
Both the news networks and the web had been carefully piecing together what happened that night over the next five days as new information about the tragic blaze slowly trickled out to the rest of the world from the college’s burnt out husk. Then two days ago, all the major news organizations suddenly stopped searching for answers with no explanation.
The networks just simply began referring to the fire as “the Marble Town Tragedy” and started covering the heart-rending aftermath of the event, focusing on the families of those who had been killed in the fire, deliberately avoiding any discussion about what happened. The blogosphere continued digging for new info, but the mainstream news media unanimous immediately condemned anything new related to the terrible inferno as baseless speculation by unethical conspiracy theorists looking to make a quick buck.
Normally Alexis wouldn’t have thought anything more of the drifter’s MTC hoodie, except that there were large black scorch marks all over the hoodie’s white fabric. Part of her wanted to ask him if he knew what happened at MTC, but something in the back of her mind told to let it go. There was never any statement from the authorities indicating arson or not regarding the fire, but she had no interest in possibly upsetting a potential arsonist and mass murderer all the same.
The screeching of metal against metal brought the college student back to reality as she watched the train slow to a stop beside the platform. Alexis wasted no time walking down to the far end of the platform before hurriedly getting into the rear-most car, shoving her way past a couple businessmen as she clambered into the middle of the crowd inside the train car through its rear-most entrances, incredibly anxious to get off the platform. As far as she was concerned, between the potentially murderous drifter and the idea that some sort of sinister apparition could be haunting the place, the sooner the train was out of C Street Station the better.
The college student leaned against one of the poles in the middle of the aisle and sighed as the doors closed behind her and the train pulled out of the station. All she wanted to do now was get home, drop her book bag inside the front door, and get some much-needed rest.
“Ouch! Hey! Watch it ya big lug!”
“Sorry. I keep forgetting how big this bag is.”
Alexis did a double take as she heard the drifter’s voice inside the subway car. Her head quickly turned left, her shoulder-length auburn hair whipping around behind her as she looked around the subway car, trying to catch a glimpse of the homeless teen through the crowd as the thought that the guy might’ve caused the Marble Town Tragedy popped back into her head. Then the freshman’s jaw dropped in shock.
The drifter was definitely in the subway car. He was hard to miss, considering his dirty hood-covered head was pressed up against the seven-foot high ceiling as he towered over the rest of the crowd at the other end of the car. Alexis figured the guy was big when she saw him sit up on the bench back at the platform, but the fact he needed to tilt his head down in order to stand up inside the crowded subway car meant the guy was much bigger than she had originally thought. Like, Yao Ming kind of big.
However, the drifter’s incredible height wasn’t what bothered Alexis. It was where he was standing that had her uneasy.
The gigantic teen was standing directly between the rest of the rear car’s passengers and the door leading to the rest of the train, effectively trapping them with him until the train reached the next subway platform in twenty-five minutes. If this guy was responsible for what happened at MTC, then everyone inside the rear car might be just seconds away from becoming his next batch of victims.
It didn’t help when he started looking around the train car, his eyes hidden by both his black teashades and the shadow cast by his greasy midnight-black hair and hood while slowly he examined the other passengers with an emotionless look on his face. It was as if the giant teen was coldly observing them all from behind a microscope.
Alexis’ gaze must have caught the drifter’s attention, because suddenly his head tilted up slightly against the ceiling and she found herself staring directly into the blackness of his shades. For a second, the college student saw a look of regret flash across the homeless teenager’s face as he stared at her from the other end of the car. However, this time Alexis didn’t feel The gigantic teen held Alexis’ gaze for a few seconds and then looked away as he continued scanning the rest of the passengers with the same impersonal, detached expression on his face.
‘Stop being paranoid Alexis.’ She thought and looked down at the dark brown linoleum under her feet as she tried to calm down. ‘You’re just really, really tired. That guy’s just some really tall homeless teen, not a homicidal serial killer.’ the nineteen-year-old woman closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths as her heart rate finally started to slow down for the first time since the loud menacing voice had nearly scared her to death back on the platform. “There’s no ghost haunting C Street Station. I was just hearing things.” Alexis muttered reassuringly to herself as she reopened her eyes.
…Just in time to watch as a huge, shadowy spike burst from the shadow of the crowd and crush the security camera on the ceiling directly above her head. Someone in front of Alexis screamed in terror as two more enormous tendrils destroyed the rear car’s other two security cams. Then three black tendrils disintegrated and vanished as the crowd started panicking and pushing toward the front of the subway car, desperate to get away from whatever was happening.
“My my, what a diverse group of guilty convicts we have here Nazar.”
Alexis’ blood turned to ice as she heard the menacing voice again. Only this time it came from the homeless teenager, who remained standing in front of the door leading to the rest of the train, keeping the other passengers trapped inside the moving subway car. The freshman’s eyes widened in shock as a massive, pitch-black silhouette rose up from behind the drifter and moved into view, leaning over the giant teen’s right shoulder, its back pressing up against the train car’s ceiling. A pair of glowing white orbs and an inhumanly large, leering grin blinked into existence while the crowd watched in a blend of horror, confusion, and disbelief.
“Conmen, adulterers, delinquents, hustlers, thugs, hoodlums and jaywalkers.” The shadowy entity chuckled menacingly as several large shadowy tendrils stretched out from behind his back and hovered around the ceiling while two white, glove-like hands appeared as a pair of toned male arms detached from its otherwise formless body. Then the shadow-being pointed an accusing finger at the packed crowd while the drifter, who Alexis guessed was the one called Nazar, looked with an emotionally dead expression.
“So many guilty, so little time…”
A middle-aged woman standing in front of the freshman let out bloodcurdling shriek as a dozen of the passengers closest to Nazar were suddenly impaled by several eight-inch thick, jet-black stakes. Pandemonium immediately broke out amongst the ninety remaining passengers as they all started pushing and shoving each other out of the way, every one of them fleeing from the deadly entity behind them.
Alexis’ mind went blank as the back of her head was bashed against the steel pole behind her when an older man violently shoved her aside, only to be knocked to the floor himself and trampled to death by the fleeing crowd seconds later. The college freshman dropped to her knees on the linoleum floor in the middle of the chaos and watched in a blurry, semi-conscious haze while the homicidal shadow continued killing the other passengers with ease inside the cramped confines of the subway car. She watched numbly while the shadow creature continued killing, massacring over half the passengers in under a minute, skewering dozens of victims at a time on a pair of twelve-foot long, eight-inch thick stakes, splattering deep red blood all over the rear car’s interior. Then the malevolent shadow-being moved in front of Nazar as his stake-tipped tendrils pulled back from the crowd for a moment while the large tendrils hovering above the entity’s shoulders thrashed around as their tips morphed into a disturbing selection of execution devices.
“Hahaha! Unless you convicts haven’t figured it out, the only fitting sentence for the guilty IS DEATH!” the malicious shadow shouted with a sadistic laugh and flashed a thumbs-down sign toward the crowd as all of his tendrils ripped into the remaining passengers, slaughtering them all in a brutal, gory medley of beheading, impalement, dismemberment and disembowelment. Alexis watched in a daze as one guy attempted to pull the fire alarm and warn the rest of the train, only for an executioner’s axe to lop off his forearm before he could even touch the alarm’s handle. The man clutched at the stump and screamed in agony, the blood spurting from his arm spraying all over the dazed college student’s face before being decapitated by a different axe two seconds later as Alexis regained full consciousness.
“Oh god!” She shrieked in horror and dropped her book-bag, which like herself, was now covered in both the blood and guts of the shadow entity’s victims. The mortified freshman frantically tried to stand up and grab the emergency release lever for the nearest window, but she slipped on the bloodstained linoleum and instead did a face-plant into a puddle of the warm, sticky crimson liquid that now covered most of the rear car’s interior.
‘I don’t want to die I don’t want to die oh god I don’t want to die!’ The terrified college girl thought as she started to crawl toward the subway’s trains rearmost emergency exit door.
Then she noticed the deafening silence.
The other passengers had stopped screaming.
Alexis slowly raised her head and looked forward, and then proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach onto the blood-covered linoleum in front of her as she saw the nauseating scene.
All the passengers who had rushed past her minutes ago were now not only dead, but they had been so brutally ravaged by the shadow-being’s tendrils that Alexis could barely tell the bodies apart. To her, it looked like one large, grisly heap of bloodstained innards and mangled body parts lying in a massive pool of blood. For a few seconds, the only sound she could hear was the sound of her own vomit splattering on the floor.
“Stop Judge… that’s enough…”
Alexis coughed up one last drip of bile from her throat as the giant drifter finally spoke. She heard the entity reply, something about a 'meat-puppet', but Alexis Day didn’t care about what either one of them said anymore. Right now, her biggest priority was escaping from the sadistic monster that had just mercilessly butchered over a hundred people in less than fifteen minutes.
A chill ran down the freshman’s spine as she someone started walking down the car’s blood-soaked aisle, the sound of their slow, measured footsteps sending a surge of fear-enhanced adrenaline burning through every inch of her body. Alexis began feverishly crawling toward the emergency exit on her hands and knees, clawing her way through the heap of stomach-churning carnage between her and the door. The front of her body quickly became covered in a ghastly blend of blood, body fluids, and wet, gooey chunks from various innards as she desperately scrambled through the nauseating pile of death to the very back of the subway train.
‘I made it!’ Alexis thought and her heart soared with joy as she looked up at the door and saw that the only thing left to open the door was pull down the red emergency lever. No longer paying attention to the sound of footsteps, Alexis reached for the lever with a blood-soaked hand. ‘I’m going to live!’
“You’re not going anywhere, Miss Alexis Day.”
Suddenly something pierced Alexis’ outstretched arm. The college student blinked as she saw a large, black needle-like syringe sticking through the bloodstained sleeve of her windbreaker, the needle sticking out of the inside of her elbow, going directly into her median cubital vein. Then an agonizing, burning pain shot from her arm and started rapidly spreading throughout her entire body within seconds. Her joy shattered instantly as she realized that the ‘syringe’ was really the tip of a familiar black tendril. The freshman tried to pull her arm away from the tendril, but her arm refused to move from its outstretched position.
In fact, Alexis couldn’t move at all. Whatever the shadow entity injected her with had just paralyzed her entire body in under five seconds.
Her arm went limp after the tendril pulled out of her vein and slid uselessly down the side of the door, leaving a few bloody fingerprints on the emergency lever as her blood-soaked fingertips brushed against it on the way down. Then a second tendril picked Alexis’ limp body up off what was left of the other passengers and unceremoniously tossed her on the bench next to the wall, where the freshman landed on her side facing the opposite wall as she slowly began to suffocate.
All Alexis could do was watch as another one of the shadow entity’s tendrils opened the door while the giant drifter called Nazar walked almost mechanically over the pile of corpses, carrying his duffle bag on his left shoulder before ducking through the emergency exit. The malicious shadow-being quickly followed after the homeless teenager, but not before it turned and gave the dying college student a malevolent sneer.
As Alexis’ life continued slipping away, the first words she’d heard the Judge say popped back into her fading conscious.