Night stalkers.

Enjoy the short story below. I’m a train commuter and I hate walking through the long tunnels to the train.

“Mum, really I’ll be fine.” Vicki rolled her eyes as she ducked out of the rain, careful to keep her footing on the station steps and into the split pedestrian tunnel. She would always choose a different tunnel every day, even though they were identical, separated by the tiled wall, with arches every few meters, so you could change walkways.

“The last train is usually pretty full of people coming home from drinks and that kind of thing. Besides I’ll sit next to the guard carriage. Nothing is going to happen to me.”

This was the script every Thursday night. Her late shift at David Jones in the City, made her take the 11:45pm train home.

She wouldn’t have minded so much, probably wouldn’t have thought about the danger if her Mum didn’t run over how many horrible things could happen to her on her way home every week.

The toe of her cherry red stilettos scattered a bottle of V in the long tunnel, the dark green glass clanking loudly before skittering down into the other tunnel.

“Mum. I’ve got to go. I’ll text you in an hour when I get home. Love you.” Her voice echoed in the tunnel.

She hung up, but kept the phone in her hand. It was a long walk from busy Elizabeth Street to the Platform at Museum Station, she was brave but she wasn’t stupid.

The cream and green tiles echoed her heel strikes and amplified her hurried steps. Another set of footsteps joined hers at the mouth of the tunnel, behind her. Not the clear, crisp tap of her stilettos. These footfalls were shuffled, messy, uncoordinated.

“Great,” she muttered and hurried down the corridor, her heart thundering in her chest. The last thing she needed was to explain to a drunk that she didn’t need an escort.

A quick glance over her shoulder and she couldn’t see anyone, but the footsteps came faster and purposeful. The other pedestrian tunnel ran parallel to this one, and a person could duck in and out of her tunnel and into the other one, so they could see her but she couldn’t see them.

Dipping her hand into her bag she pulled out her keys and fisted them. Poking her front door key, a particularly sharp and pointy spike of metal, through her index and forefinger. A key to the eye should do it, no reason not to be prepared, even if the person behind her was only hurrying for the last train, just like she was.

They closed the distance, and in the corner of her eye, she saw him. The long duster coat, swept at the floor and billowed out around him. Her gut churned and her heart slammed against her chest. She almost broke into a jog, her cheeks heating and then another one stepped in front of her. She skidded to a stop and he gripped her elbow, holding her up when she would have fallen.

“Thank you,” she said automatically

Then he moved his grip to her upper arm, the contact rough as he flicked his eyes to the man behind her.

“I got her.”

There was a moment when she thought, that this couldn’t be real, these kinds of things happened to other people. Not to her. His fetid, hot breath against her cheek, swung her right back into reality and she tried to wretch her arm away, but her stylish and useless high heels didn’t give her any traction.

“She’s a pretty little thing.” The one behind her said as he moved closer.

Something inside her snapped and she knew that if the other man got to her, then she would have no chance of getting away.

“What do you want?” her voice broke as she turned fully to the man gripping her arm. She studied his face committing it to memory, from the scar near his left earlobe, to the mole on the left side of his chin.

The sick glint in his eyes as they roamed over her body, told her all she needed to know. His distraction with her breasts gave her enough time. She raised her fist and slammed the key into his cheek, piercing the flesh, and as she ripped it out, it tore away a flap of his skin.

He released her, his hands flying to his face and his scream echoed off the tiled walls. The other guy hesitated and then ran at them. She kicked off her heels and sprinted towards the platform, her stockinged feet moving quickly over the concrete, her arms swinging and her keys kept safe in her fist.

One thing was clear, even as she pumped her legs, her focus on the train. She had his DNA on the flap of skin and on the blood, that covered her hand.

She stumbled over the ticket gates, and heard the train pulling in, the rush of hot air the most welcome thing she had ever felt. Heading straight at the guard’s carriage she screamed, it didn’t even matter what it was. The door opened before the train had stopped and the guard’s face turned white as she saw her.

“Come in.” She waved and Vicki dived into the carriage and only realised her face was wet in the quiet safety of the train.

It was a week later that she got the call. The pair were arrested and remanded without bail. They were wanted for the rape and murder of at least five other women, that the Police knew about. They kept saying that she was very lucky to have escaped.

Lucky. Yes. She was alive, but living? No, she wouldn’t be doing that for a while.

Come on over and friend me on Facebook at Lisa Lancaster.
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Photo by Dushan Hanuska  via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

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