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 Post subject: obscure
View Likes PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:30 pm 

you catch more flies with honey but you catch more honeys being fly

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"Continuing coverage of our top story tonight: a train car arrived today at Amersham station with all passengers missing. The train appeared to have been full when it left a station earlier in the morning and only one of the twelve cars was affected by the mysterious disappearance. Authorities have called it an act of domestic terrorism, citing an extremist group who are against the proposed demolition of abandoned South London streets to expand the Underground Rail."

Jamie drummed his hands in some manner of haphazard rhythm on the large stretch of desk in front of him, tuning in and out of the news broadcast and reclining in his chair. The most interesting part of his job was the fact that it was actually not interesting in the slightest. Libraries in the 21st century served little purpose, as virtually anything could be found online. Needless to say, they didn't see a whole lot of business, and Jamie didn't mind that at all really. No new check-outs meant that he could watch the small television at the end of the table, which he normally enjoyed quite a bit. But this particular news story made him uneasy, and between all of the news outlets online and on the air, he'd been hearing about it all day.

After the woman at the news desk talked some more, the scene changed to reveal a heavy set police officer in a crisp and pristine uniform, standing at a podium on top of some stairs. He grumbled from beneath his mustache and spoke into the forest of microphones which prodded out at him from the stand.

"These people have made it clear that they will stop at nothing to undermine the efforts of the municipal planning authority to expand the Underground Rail and now they have resorted to kidnapping citizens as they travel to work. The Metropolitan Police Service will stop at nothing to bring these criminals to justice and return the missing loved ones to their families..."

"Weird, right?" The only other receptionist at the desk, and his best friend by default, Sayid. A nice enough man for sure, but Jamie wished that he would stop asking that question every time the story came back on.

Jamie merely hummed in response, vaguely listening to the statement from the Metropolitan Police. "I wish you would change the channel. This is nothing we haven't heard a hundred times tonight," he said. He propped an elbow up on the table, cupping his chin in one hand and holding a pen in the other. The button was turned toward the table, and Jamie pushed it down and let it bounce back up only to fall back down to the desk with a small clatter. "I'm pretty sure you know that officer's entire speech by heart by now."

"I'm just saying-," Sayid started, and Jamie gave a rather dramatic groan of despair as he let his head fall to the desk. It actually did hurt a little, but he was fairly desperate to get the point across. He heard Sayid huff in agitation, but unfortunately that didn't exactly deter him from continuing. "I'm just saying that it seems a bit too weird that only one car was affected. One out of- what was it- twelve? Those cars hold a lot of people What would this group even do with them?"

Jamie lifted his head just enough to be heard. "Hold them for ransom? Kill them? Make them sit through another one of your insane theories?" he guessed, tapping a finger on the desk for each reason he listed off. Sayid disregarded his comment with a resigned tsk and turned back to the television. Jamie rolled his eyes and sat upright. "Right then. What does the great Detective Qadir think happened to the passengers, then?"

Sayid shot him a look that Jamie was sure was meant to be threatening, but it really wasn't. "He deduces the not-so-great Jamie McGuire needs to shut the **** up." Jamie laughed at that and spun his chair around to face him, gesturing with a wave of his hand for his friend to go on. After a moment, Sayid gave up the silent treatment, as Jamie knew he would. The man could never resist voicing his opinion. "There has to be something that they're not telling us in the news. I mean, they had to have found something."

"Except they didn't."

"They had to. It doesn't make sense. Say this group unloaded all the passengers on that car down onto the railway. Fine. But then what? Where’d they go?" he asked, waving his arms for a bit of extra emphasis. "They could march on the tracks for a bit, sure, but they could only do that for so long before they reached another station. And if they had reached another station, I'd like to think that someone would notice people taking the tracks on foot. And what about the cameras? Nothing?"

Jamie nodded slowly, much the way you would if you were listening to the nonsensical ramblings of an exceptionally annoying five-year-old. "So, what’re you getting at, then? That they actually vanished? Like, disappeared into thin air?"

"I’m just saying, you can't abduct an entire mass of people without someone noticing something."

Jamie rolled his eyes. "You're eccentric," he dismissed, shaking his head as if that could somehow repel neuroticism. "Look mate, there's still have a half-hour until close, please don't make me sit through this until then."

Thankfully Sayid relented, throwing his hands up in defeat and turning off the television. He disappeared into the file room and with a bit of reluctance, Jamie pushed his chair away from the table and stood, stretching his arms into the air with a groan as his back straightened and fell into place. He busied himself in organizing the papers that had been strewn across the desk throughout the day. He and Sayid were both very competent at what they did... they just weren't exactly neat about it. More often than not, by the end of the day they wound up with check-out logs mixed between order requests, and God only knew where some of the library's bills ended up. It could only be described as a miracle that they managed to get it all cleaned up and sorted out each night.

"...a train car arrived today at Amersham station with all its passengers missing. The train had been full when it left a station earlier in the morning and only one of the twelve cars was affected by the mysterious disappearance. "

Jamie jumped at the sudden sound and clenched his fists around a few papers, feeling his heart race and then slow down. Without dignifying it by so much as turning, Jamie closed his eyes, embraced zen, and laid the papers on the desk, trying to force them to lay flat where he had wrinkled them. "Very funny, Sayid, now turn it off. We don't have time for this." The woman's voice was cut off, and Jamie was greeted with silence. Which meant, of course, that Sayid had taken to ignoring him now, but at least he'd been courteous enough to turn the television off again. "Thank you."

"You say something, Jay?" Jamie spun on his heel, and saw Sayid poke his head out from the file room. "Earth to Jamie. What did you say?"

Jamie stared at him for a long moment, then turned his eyes to the television. He shook his head slowly at first, then quickly with dismissal. "Nothing. I think I'm just tired," he said, leaning backward against the desk and tapping his nails on the wood. He allowed himself to contemplate it only for a moment before forcing it to the back of his mind. “Right then, hurry up so we can get out of here."

Somehow Jamie and Sayid managed to ready everything for the next shift on time, a rare occurrence between the two of them. They stood in front of the large glass doors, Sayid digging into his pocket for his keys and Jamie drowning in a black coat one or two sizes too big for him. "See you tomorrow, then," Sayid said once he’d retrieved his keys, giving Jamie a firm clap on the shoulder as he passed by to get to his car. Left to his thoughts, Jamie listened to the car door slam and the engine roar to life, and just like that he was alone. He watched the car get smaller and smaller, and for a moment he wished for the world that he had asked for a ride home. He’d never felt uncomfortable taking the train home after work, but something about walking to Amersham station felt amiss. He really needed to stop watching the news.

When he arrived, the station was cramped, hot, and smelly. Even with a prepaid ten trip ticket, he didn't seem to get through the huddle any faster than anybody else, but before long he was standing on the platform catching the first train that had boarded. Any ridicule or complaint he was contemplating was rudely interrupted by the screeching of a halting train car pulling onto the platform. He, along with so many others on their way home from work, ambled and shoved onto the train where they would spent the next moments of their lives uncomfortably pressed against one another. There were women holding the hands of children tightly and clutching their handbags even tighter still. There were homeless men who occupied entire stretches of sitting space while they slept, and occupied even more space around them with their stench. A few people were like Jamie, just bundled up button pushers making their way to or from work. The last group Jamie could see were the perverts who slid their way like inky snakes to stand by women or children and press their bodies against them, rubbing themselves on the clean and unsuspecting with their eyes closed and perverse grins on their faces.

He hated the train.

The speeding train car rocked back and forth, jarring everybody around within its bowels. Occasionally it would breach the end of a tunnel and more natural evening light would break into the surroundings but more often than not it was dark with only the hum and bleak glow of halogen bulbs which lined the top of the car. Though even then, only a few worked and even fewer didn't constantly flicker. The train sped off from another station and into the darkness of the tunnel. Through most of this, Jamie had his eyes closed and was trying his best not to pay attention to the heat or the smell, but he could tell when the car lit up with each stop and he counted the minutes between each one. It was the same as the last time he'd ridden the train and it was the same the time before that and countless days before them still. It was the same as it would be tomorrow. Four minutes of blackness, then a stop. Six minutes, stop. Fourteen minutes, stop. The next one was four minutes away again. Four...

Five...

Six...

Seven...

Blackness passed and passed without light. Jamie opened his eyes and looked around to see the windows of the train car still awash with the same black that permeated through whenever the train was between stations. Puzzled, he pushed his way to the window and squinted his eyes to see if he could see the subtle red lights that dotted infrequently on the walls of the inside of the tunnel. Minutes more passed and no red glow. Not even a flicker. It was around this time that Jamie noticed the train car wasn't rattling and bumping like normal, but rather gently swaying back and forth, rhythmically tilting from side to side though no one in the car seemed to shift. He pressed his face closer to the glass and used his hands on either side of his eyes to peer out and tried his best to focus. Perhaps the train had stopped and something was being serviced. It was strange that they wouldn't announce that on the intercom though.

A few more minutes passed before Jamie saw much of anything. The first movement was a distant blinking white light which swung back and forth out in the expanse of nothing. It drifted closer and closer with each fade, in and out, and was almost mesmerizing. Jamie blinked and it was closer again. He watched it carefully for a minute before pulling away and looking around the car. It seemed that no one else seemed fazed by the prolonged darkness and gentle rocking of the train. No one was even looking out the window except for one man. A homeless man had risen from his slumber and was peering outwards into the same deep blackness that Jamie was, and he was watching the swaying white light.

Then, as if from nowhere, the train car was illuminated from the right side by the swaying light. Jamie and the homeless man were the only two passengers who reacted to this at all, and the light violently jerked upwards to reveal something Jamie had never seen before. Right in front of his eyes was a gaping maw of teeth and tongues and eyes. He stumbled back and fell to the floor, disturbing passengers all around him. The maw in the window opened wide, and everything went black.

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 Post subject: Re: obscure
View Likes PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:30 pm 
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A pebble skittered across the road, propelled by the toe of Michael’s boot, only to be caught and flung back at him by a passing car’s tyre. Above him, the overcast sky reflected the city’s lights and turned the moon into little more than a bright smudge. The wind was sticky with humidity. Michael pushed his hand deeper into his pockets as he turned down an unassuming alley between an adult store and a pawn shop. There, against the back wall of the pawn shop, was a steel door. Michael kicked the door once. An eye height slot swung open on rusted hinges, revealing a heavily made-up pair of poly-chromatic eyes looked out with feigned disinterest.

Baal kneels,” muttered Michael without raising his head to meet the gatekeeper’s gaze.
That was last week’s.” The voice was a peculiar shrill drawl, like the sound of a ‘90s cool-guy teenager whose voice began to break.
For ****’s sake. Just let me in, Kenneth.

The slot slammed shut with its usual rusty squeal, followed by a louder grating as the lock bolt was removed and the door opened. Standing in the doorway was a sour-faced, pudgy goth trying his hardest to kill Michel with an evil look.

My name’s Abadon,” the goth gatekeeper blurted. Michael knew how to wind the guy up. There were those that liked the scene, or the music, or the drugs. But then there were those who were caught up with the spectacle; those who took the sub-culture, and themselves, a little too seriously. Kenneth was one of the latter. Pushing past Kenneth, Michael ignored the man and began his descent down the narrow stairwell.

The Underground was nothing but a basement parking for the pawn shop above it. Instead of storing second hand vehicles that would spend more time gathering dust instead of interest, the owner figured that he could turn a tidy profit by illegally renting it out to Sasha. Sasha took advantage of the isolated entrance and the sound dampening effects of locating a bar in a hole to setting up a goth club. A bass-laden beat vibrated the drinks standing on the tables while black-clad bodies gyrated to its eclectic rhythms. Michael made his way to an empty bar stool, sat down, and began rolling a cigarette. A drink appeared in front of him. In the dark red light, the contents of the glass were undefinable, but Michael knew what it was. He also knew who put it there.

Need a pick me up, babe?” Michael took a sip before looking at the woman behind the bar. She wore a tight-laced corset that glittered purple in the light. The black contact lenses in her eyes stood in stark contrast to the pale white of her skin.

Not tonight, Sasha.” She pulled out two shot glasses and began filling them.

How you coping?” Michael’s expression didn’t change save for a pointed glance at his now half empty glass. He grabbed the shot glass and threw it back. The tequila burned down back of his throat. “She was a good girl, but you knew what you were getting into. She was unstable. ” She leaned a little forward as she gently placed her hand over Michael’s.

Michael squeezed his drink, hoping that the glass would shatter in his hand. Just like he knew how to rake Kenneth’s nerves, Sasha knew how to rake his. She didn’t do it intentionally, or, at least Michael didn’t think so. But with Emily, Sasha always laced a little venom into her words. Michael paused to light his cigarette, drawing a deep drag to calm himself.

I’m cleaning out her place tonight” Sasha immediately drew back from the counter, pulling her shawl across her exposed cleavage. Her stance became more casual as she took her shot.

****. I’m sorry. You here for her key?” Michael just nodded. She disappeared into the storage room and emerged a few seconds later with the key. Michael left a couple pounds before Sasha could protest and headed towards the elevator.

Emily lived with Sasha in the apartment above the pawn shop. The apartment was a mess of miscellaneous esoterica, empty rock CD cases, Anne Rice novels, and fishnets. If you believed in chi and chakras, you’d say it has a fatal aura, but to Michael, it was just a whole lot of unwanted memories. He flicked on a light. The place always looked like it was robbed, but this time it was different. Half of Emily’s door was propped up against her bed. The other half was splintered. Michael still didn’t react. Not much phased him in the last two months. He trudged forward through the debris and began sifting through the discarded drawers, looking to see if there was anything notable that was stolen. Something was wrong. Flipping over a Black Sabbath CD case, Michael found Emily’s purse. He stooped down to pick it up, popped it open. There was cash in it. Then it hit him. The obvious error in the overturned room. Jewellery was still there; laptop, TV, DVD machine, cell phone. All the items that should be missing weren’t and only Emily’s bedroom door was broken

Only the books were gone. Emily was a prolific reader and Michael had been there so many times that the various books scattered around the apartment just melted into the usual mess. But there was nothing. The book shelf was lying empty and face-up on the bed. There were not even loose pages left lying about. Whoever broke in to Sasha and Emily’s apartment was looking for something specific, something written, something that belonged to Emily. . .

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