A short story about a couple who get teleported to an alternate universe while riding the London Underground!
The tube carriage rumbled as it travelled into the dark. Crowds of yawning passengers squeezed into wiry pews; vacant expressions imprinted upon their faces. The morning commute had begun. Amidst the sea of grey suits and empty eyes a young couple sat, glistening in radiant colour and life. The train rattled.
Sarah wore a flowing ocean-green dress. A matching ribbon woven sleekly through her jet black hair which crested and rolled upon her shoulders. Her sweet smile was set upon wispy features and pale skin giving her an ethereal allure. It was as though she belonged just beyond reality itself. The train rattled louder and shook.
Charlie, her partner, was a young man no older than twenty five. His brown hair curled faintly in the breeze giving him a handsome and boyish appearance. His deep blue eyes were focused on a folding city map opened haphazardly upon his lap. One hand traced paths upon the paper roads, stopping at junctions; awaiting a green light in his thoughts. The other hand was tightly clasped with Sarah's, as though keeping her tethered to his world. The train clattered louder still and shuddered.
A hacking cough erupted from one of the grey suits, followed briskly by a timid apology. No response was given save for an irritated sigh from a nearby shirt and tie. Below, the clanging steel feet of the train marched forth unaware into the black. Something was different this morning. Something dangerous approached from a place forgotten. It was time. The tides of fate were changing.
A waistcoat yelped from down the aisle as a blue electrical spark streaked across the ceiling. Immediately, three more sparks followed, slashing their way through the steel carriage and illuminating the dim walls with violent flashes. Shrieks and gasps pierced the air and a panicked frenzy erupted.
A coffee cup flew through the air, splashing on to a window as the sea of suits rushed and drained to the rear of the carriage. Further sparks erupted from the seats and brewed with the terrified roars; a cacophony of thunder.
A blinding blue flash filled the world, lingering for just a moment before conceding to a shroud of darkness. Somewhere in the mayhem a young couple were separated, their hands no longer entwined. Their tether broken.
Some time passed. Maybe moments, maybe more...
The carriage was dark and musty when Sarah awoke. She found herself in a corner beside a sliding door. Thick layers of dust covered the floor around her and she spotted a collection of suits, dusty and grey, lying in a puddle of cloth. A solitary tie swung from a support rail; a silent metronome in the breeze.
At the other end of the aisle, a giant parchment heaved and rose as something stirred from beneath. The painted surface swam with faded colours, plotting a mysterious city which stretched out across the metal floor. A moment later, a bewildered face appeared from beneath, gasping for air and covered in soot. The face looked around for a time, perplexed.
“Sarah? Sarah! Are you OK?” It yelled, before finding a pair of arms and a dusty torso from beneath the map.
Sarah rose to her feet and steadied herself on a support rail before calling out with a weak and hollow voice;
“I'm over here, Charlie”
Charlie, now fully formed, stood tall, grasping the giant map with one hand and holding his brow with the other. Eyes strained, he tried to peer down the empty carriage to no avail. He called out again for Sarah, voice laden with confused desperation.
Sarah ran towards the voice, her sobs catching in her throat and tears streaming down her dusty face. As she reached her bewildered partner, she flung her arms around him in relief and subsequently, to her great surprise, passed right through him! Her face was a mask of disbelief.
Behind her, she heard him call her name one more time; a searching voice. Fear burned in his eyes as he hurriedly made his way towards the carriage exit, checking beneath each seat as he passed.
Sarah turned to call for him but her voice caught and she fell to her knees in shock. "What has happened," she thought...
Outside, a darkness stirred in the night. The scent of fear filled the air and the maws of despair licked hungrily at the tendrils of fate. New passengers had arrived...