She opened her eyes all at once and accordingly her senses awakened. It happened altogether: her skin shivered at the contact with the cold air, the muscles of her neck contracted and ached because of the position she was laying, her ears captured some muffled noises of birds and voices in the distance, the place smelled of coal and rusty steel and the floor under her was freezing.
The only sense which wasn't working was her sight: all around her was black, but she could feel her eyes were actually open. To be sure of it, she brought her fingers, stiff because of the cold, to her face and touched her eyelids. Yes, her eyes were open, but everything was dark anyway.
Afraid that she might have gone blind, she slowly lifted her back and sat upright, blinking wildly and moving her head from left to right trying to catch something. There was some light, a long thin blue light line at the base between the floor and what had to be some kind of door.
She wasn't blind! She was just inside some dark cold room. Her room? No, her room had carpet on the floor and it had never been this cold, even in the coldest winter nights, and now it was May, how could the temperature be this low?
She took the two sides of her hoodie and closed the zip on her t-shirt. Then, she stood up and took a couple of steps towards the light line. The wall she leaned her hands on was made of the same freezing steel of the floor, but knocking on it she could feel it was empty. It was definitely a door.
She started searching for the handle and in the meantime she kept asking herself how she might have ended in a place like that. She clearly remembered she was on the train, seated at her place, listening to music and scrolling on Instagram, so how on earth could she be there?
The torch light of her phone!
She started patting her hands on herself, searching every pocket of her jeans and her hoodie, but no trace of it. They must have left it behind when they took her. Because that was the only assumption she could make: somebody kidnapped her. Otherwise, how could it be she didn't remember how she got there?
Yes, she was already figuring it in her mind: they hit her head with something heavy - even though she didn't feel any pain on her head - tied her and brought her to that place. How could they have taken her on the train, among all those people in the carriage with her, without anyone noticing? And, why did they took her? Perhaps to ask her parents for her ransom, they thought her family to be rich. But how could they be?
Her father was an employee, her mother hadn't worked a day in her life and they lived in a little house in the suburbs of Saint Denis. She couldn't even afford college so she took a gap year to work as waitress and save some money to help her parents with the college fee. Except the gap year had lasted five years and now she had no high education nor high expectations for her future.
But that was a different story.
So no phone, no light. And now what?
She took a step backwards rubbing her hands together to warm them a little. That place was too cold. Maybe they put her inside one of those big refrigerators where they store the meat, just like in the movies.
Ah! She couldn't believe she was living a movie scene.
Some voices caught her attention. They were male voices. Her kidnappers? She thought it was better if they didn't know she was awake. But then another sound reached her ears, more distant but also louder. A train whistle. Was she still on the train?
She couldn't keep silent anymore, she wanted to know what was going on.
"Hey!" she shouted and her voice thundered inside the steel room, returning to her ears twice as powerful.
She frowned in the darkness, regretting immediately her act. Then, the floor under her feet moved with a strong jolt and she lost her balance falling on her side and hitting her head on the hard floor.
She immediately brought a hand on her temple and massaged the hurting spot, hoping she didn't cracked her head open. She couldn't stand the sight of blood, even if her mother had always told her it was stupid for a woman to be scared of blood, since she saw it every month, but she couldn't help it. And by the way, she wasn't scared of blood, she just preferred to keep it on the inside.
As the train started moving and the floor of the car shacked and bounced on the trails, she crawled and reached the side of the room, laying her back on the wall and bringing her knees to her chest.
If she had to be honest with herself, she wasn't scared. Well, of course she was a little worried: she didn't know where she was, where they were taking her, who those people were, but she could do nothing about it, she didn't have any way out, and be afraid would only make things worse. She needed her head clear and ready to find a solution. Like that movie with that famous actor she liked so much, where he played the part of a psycho with multiple personality who kidnapped three girls and the smartest one was the one who kept calm and tried to find an escape for all of them.
Right, she had to be like that girl, smart and calm.
But being calm wasn't easy in her situation, not when the frozen air got inside her cotton sweatshirt and reached her neck, making her shiver, and neither when she couldn't feel her toes inside her sneakers anymore. And being smart was unnecessary at that moment and until the train would have stopped.
When would it have stopped?
Every now and then she could feel the carriage under her slowing down with a thin whistle of the brakes or speed up, bending on one side or the other according to the course of the trails.
With every slowdown she hoped to stop. She didn't care anymore where she was or who her kidnappers were, she wanted to get down that thing and find something to warm herself up.
At first she was so deep in her thoughts and groggy because of the cold that she didn't heard it, but when the sound started to be closer and closer, she became aware of it and opened her ears to be sure of what she was hearing.
She never really heard a gun firing in real life, so she couldn't say if it really was it, but she heard it on TV. How different could it be?
Now the shots were really close, right out the car she was in it seemed, and with them she also perceived some people talking.
"What the hell was Bill doing? He had long enough to set that charge" said one voice. He sounded young.
"Well, I hooked up the wire, but we won't mention that" answered another male voice. He seemed to her a little bit older.
They were right out the car. She could have yelled for help, but she didn't. They were shooting, attacking the train she was in, and asking for help didn't seem right. Who fires a gun generally isn't the good guy. She learned that watching the news on TV: the bad guys always shoot, the good guys intimate you to put the gun down, but hardly ever shoot.
Some steps above her made her look up: they were walking on the roof of the car. One of the two fired again. She brought her arms up to cover her head.
She didn't like that situation, she felt in danger, even more than before. Her kidnappers were being attacked, maybe by a worst kind of people, maybe by dangerous criminals, like the mafia. She had heard a lot about the mafia: they were dangerous, ruthless, the worst kind of criminals on earth. Maybe this was a settling of accounts between two gangs.
The two men went away, following the line of carriages, and with them the sound of their firearms.
It didn't took long before a powerful jolt made her lose her balance so that she had to lean on the floor with her forearms not to hit her head again. The train was stopping, but she wasn't too happy about it. The criminals were stopping it. The other criminals.
She was finally able to stand up on her half frozen, half fallen asleep legs and stumble towards the line of light at the base of the wall to lean an ear on it and try to listen what was happening outside.
It wasn't hard to understand the fight was still going on because the people out there were still shooting and yelling. They must have been in a very isolated part of the country, she thought, because it was impossible that the civilians hadn't called the police when they heard the guns.
A bullet hit the side of the carriage, leaving a little perfectly round shaped hole in the steel a couple of inches away from her head. She gasped loudly and let herself fall back on the floor. It wasn't a good idea to stand, not until they had stopped shooting.
She didn't wait long. When silence fell and the only sound was her breathing echoing inside the room, she stood up and leaned again her ear on the door.
"I can see now why the O'Driscolls brought so many boys up here for this" she heard the same young voice of before saying right out of her car.
He was there, right there. Was it wise to reveal her presence? She didn't care, she was freezing and, criminals or not, she wanted to get out of there. She summoned all her courage and knocked on the steel door.
"Hey!" she added to the knocking.
"Please… please help. Help me get out of here" she begged with a loud tone, but without yelling to avoid the echo of her voice to return too strong in her ears.
Silence fell and she wondered if he had listened to her. Then, she thought that maybe it was better if she sat again on the floor, just in case the man out there was about to shoot her from the outside.
A clang and the sound of two pieces of iron that rub one against the other anticipated the strong light that blinded her. After hours in the complete darkness, that light was unbearable for her.
She closed her eyes and felt as every human being feels when they are forced to keep their eyes shut in a dangerous situation: weak and exposed. She blinked a couple of times and tried to cover the excessive light with one hand as she took some steps backwards.
"Who are you?" asked the young voice.
She didn't answer, she didn't want to. Reveal her identity to a stranger and potential criminal would have been a mistake. Her eyes started to get used to the light. Standing against the clear white background there was the shape of a man, dark because of the contrast, so that she couldn't see his face. However, she could perfectly understand he was pointing a shotgun at her. All her courage abandoned her.
"Please, please don't" she whimpered kneeling down and holding her hands in a begging gesture.
"Don't kill me" she added looking at the dirty floor of the car.
"Hey! Come here a moment" she heard the man shouting. He was calling his friends. She couldn't tell if this was a bad or good thing.
This is very different from what I've written until now: I've changed the point of view, the kind of narrator, and I must say this way is easier. I've found out the first person is incredibly difficult if you're not good at it, and I'm not.
Besides, I've thought about not following the main story, at least not scrupulously as I've done until now (for those of you who have read my previous work).
The idea isn't original, I know. There are a lot of fan fictions about time travel, I'm aware of that, but I hope you'll like this all the same, not much for the story but for how it's written.
I would like to remind you English is not my first language, so for every mistake shame on me and glory for whoever points it out for me, thank you very much.
I'll publish once a week: chapters are long and I think seven days are due between them, every Sunday morning I'd say.
Thank you for your attention and see you soon!