Chapter 1: The fear of Bloodshed
Rachel couldn't help but think to herself why she was doing this. She was climbing underneath a trail car with only the metalwork that she was holding onto to keep her from falling off the speeding train and onto the rails below; a result which would certainly bring her death. All it would take was a simple misstep or just a little slip of her fingers, and it would all be over.
She shook her head. No….she couldn't give up…she wouldn't regret her decision. She knew fully well she could have stayed in that train car, playing a helpless passenger as the guns were drawn to carry out a villainous plan that she knew nothing about. No….that was a lie….she had heard of situations like this before, and their grim outcome.
She moved forward carefully, her hands and feet skillfully finding footholds and things to grab on to. She had thought enough about herself, now was the time to act. Now was the time to do everything within her power to help those who needed to be saved. She was grateful to have her green leather gloves protecting her hands as she grabbed onto the rusting metalwork which could have easily cut her skin. She was surprised at herself for not having gone deaf at the thundering sound of the train underneath her.
A bone chilling scream suddenly resonated from the train car in front of her. Whether by curiosity or by instinct, she lifted her head to see what was going on.
"No! Stop! Get away from me!" The man's frantic yelling was followed by the firing of a machine gun. Before she had time to think about what had happened a shadowy figure came into her vision, restraining a black suited man. The suited man screamed as he was dangled above the train tracks. The shadow-hidden man that was holding him lowered his victim's body, forcing it onto the train tracks. The speed of the train against the tracks created more than enough force to tear the man's lower body to shreds.
It was the most gruesome sight Rachel had ever seen. The man's legs caught in the tracks and were ripped from his body. The man's shrieks assaulted her eardrums like shattered china; the contortion of pitches grinding at the knot in her throat and growing louder still as his assailant pushed him down again on the metal tracks. Blood and bits of bone flew everywhere, like a reversed waterfall of nightmares.
Rachel's knuckles went white from how tightly her hands gripped to the side of the train car. That man's terror, his pain and the blood….there was so much blood….it was so horrifying for her to watch, she had never been so frightened…yet she couldn't bring herself to look away. Her muscles would no longer move under her command; she was completely paralyzed with fear.
The murderer, now covered in blood, threw his victim's carcass aside like a rag doll. Then he looked at the terrified girl under the train car with his glowing red eyes. Climbing down and latching under the train with her, he leaned in close to her face and whispered in her ear "Your ticket please…."
She sat up on her bed, screaming like she had that night. It took a few seconds for her to realize where she was: inside her apartment. Breathing heavily, she hugged herself, listening to her heart beat viscously against her chest. She closed her eyes trying to calm down and keep herself from shaking. She grew weary of the same recurring nightmare….seeing that man die always made her sick to her stomach. It wasn't Claire that she was afraid of; it was all that blood…all that suffering. It was too horrible of a death for anyone to experience. She proceeded to turn on the light, the same way that a child would if it was afraid that a monster was hiding in its closet. Her lamp illuminated her hands; their palms still badly scabbed from when she had failed to hold on to a rope to save two passengers that were falling off the train.
She looked at the clock. 2am….she had only been able to get 4 hours of sleep. Reattempting to rest again was not an option to her. She would only have that nightmare over and over again…and she couldn't go to work as shaken up as she was now. Her fright with these things had been the reason why she had decided to take un-paid time off only a few days after she had been allowed to resume her work at the Daily Day's.
She massaged her bullet-injured leg as she set it on the ground. Though she had been shot more than a week ago, the pain never seemed to dull for her. She used her crutch to help herself up and out of the bed, wincing as she limped towards the kitchen counter.
What an utter failure the last three days had been….she had tried to give herself time to heal the mental wounds…but she had only ended up making it worse. All that time by herself, with nothing to keep her occupied…..all she could do was remember, all she could do was think about that horrible, horrible night…..
She prepared some tea to help calm herself down, trying to ignore the screaming that echoed in the back of her mind. She brought the cup to her lips, struggling not to spill anything: a task for which her quivering hands made it difficult. She was slightly more relaxed as the hot drink helped her cease the shaking in her legs.
Sitting down at the table, she began to reflect on what today was going to be like to distract herself. As far as her co-workers at the Daily-day's knew, her time off had only been for the recovery of her physical wounds. She had not told anyone about what she had seen. She put her tea on the table, staring into the now empty cup. She wondered if anyone had missed her…probably not…she was unnoticed in the office as it was. No one really paid attention to freelancers such as herself, because it was always only a matter of time before they left.
Well…now that she thought about it, there was on person she was sure that would miss her; the one person who loved to bully and annoy her in every possible way: Nicholas Wayne. What was even more embarrassing however was the fact that she could never bring herself to fight back. Maybe it was because she was too kind, or maybe it was because in some strange, twisted way….she enjoyed it. Perhaps it was because she wasn't used to attention at all. She had spent so much of her time simply watching other people and wishing she could openly be part of the friendships that she watched around her. Even her own father had not occupied much of his time with her after the train accident which he had been so unjustly blamed for.
She made a soft smile.
Yes, after many years of solitude Nicholas's child-like behavior was….welcome. Her eyelids became heavy and she closed her eyes.
It is not cold…..
Here I feel safe…..
There is no wind…..
Here I feel warm…..
I hear no tracks…..
I feel lose, I feel free, and standing…..
And Here I feel there is no blood…..
Hammering. Ringing. A typewriter?
Tik tak, tik tak….tik tak…
I can't remember the last time I sat at one.
Grinding, gears, tak, tick, tak tak
I sat at one. On my father's lap once. He showed me how it worked.
It worked? No it didn't work. Not for a long time. But I got better.
Did he work? No he didn't work. He didn't get a job, and he didn't get better
…..I got better!
"Welcome, Welcome. ….. You must be the new one.
Freelancer correct? ….. We've been expecting you."
…..That horribly egotistical smile…..
Why is he bleeding?
Her alarm clock rang, telling her that it was 6am. She realized she had fallen asleep in her chair, and got up to cease the high-pitched noise that had interrupted her dream.
She got dressed in her usual dark green cotton clothes, light, comfortable, easy to move around in and even great for camouflage in a tight pinch. Finally, she wrapped her bandanna around her head and put on her gloves to cover up her severely rope-burned hands. The leather was not delicate to her injuries and she clenched her teeth as she forced herself to put them on. She couldn't have other people be worried about her…
She closed her apartment door behind her. She was actually looking forward seeing Nicholas today. He might be the most annoying person on earth, but he sure was distracting… and that's exactly what she needed today.