Contamination | Invasion Survivor Book One | Chapter Ten
The view of New York City disappeared from sight as they entered the tunnel. The sudden darkness made more than a few people look up from their phones. As always, cell reception vanished along with the daylight.
That was also the point where they were meant to slow down, but Paige noticed they weren’t.
If anything, the train was slowly but steadily picking up speed.
A random thought almost made her chuckle—but with irony rather than humor.
She felt like she’d been plunged into a bad Keanu Reeves movie, except she was no Sandra Bullock.
“We’re not slowing down,” she said to Dave, and he frowned as if he was about to disagree. Clearly, though, he reconsidered and recognized the truth.
“The train is not slowing down,” she repeated, a little louder this time so the others could hear as well.
With the truth out there now, her panic started to rise. We are going to crash.
The people continued to stand there as if stuck in place, uncertain as to how to act. Also, they looked at her as if she was the crazy woman from the road. Is this how people look at my Mom? The thought intruded, jarring her already unsteady emotions.
Dave jumped in to help, and things changed.
“Everyone, get to the back of the train,” he shouted. The uncertainty lingered for only a few seconds more before they began to push toward the exit.
“Faster,” Paige yelled as panic threatened to overtake her. Dave took her hand and her anxiety subsided slightly but enough to enable her to keep going.
The sick remained seated, her and Dave’s screams not fazing them at all as if they simply accepted their fate.
All the healthy bodies were now moving, seeing the sense of the plan, and scrambled toward the door.
An elderly man had difficulty moving fast enough, so Dave helped him.
“Why is this happening?” someone cried out, and Paige had to agree that it was a valid question.
“The train driver must he infected,” Dave whispered to her, and she nodded in return.
“I guess it was only a matter of time with all the affected people boarding it,” she agreed.
“Just wish we thought about that sooner,” he added with a sigh. She shrugged, knowing it wouldn’t make a difference for her either way.
That clown on the station had been gunning for her and getting onto the train was her only way of salvation.
Fate won’t be so cruel as to let me survive all that, only to let me die in a train, right? she thought glumly, not really expecting or wanting an answer to that question.
“God, help us all.” An elderly woman crossed herself, mumbling prayers under her breath.
Together, the passengers all pushed through into the next car, trying to get to the very back of the train.
In the melee, panic sparked by a single woman spread like wildfire, and soon, they shoved and knocked one another out of the way to survive.
For a second, Dave looked like he wanted to take her hand but reconsidered at the last moment, pretending he was checking the contents of his pockets. The distraction worked, though. Paige refocused on the task at hand.
In front of them, a frantic woman in a party dress pushed and clawed her way to the front. The others cursed her in outrage, but she acted as if she didn’t care.
“Watch it, girlie!”
“Oh, bite me,” she snapped back.
Like she was the only one who needed to be rescued. Paige tried not to judge her. “Fear makes a strange bedfellow,” she’d heard someone say once and it was true.
“Hey, lady, stop that,” another man protested, but she kept on going.
Paige and Dave moved at a steady pace, watching the drama ahead. The woman managed to leave the car and was in the process of crossing to the next.
The gap between the wagons was substantial, and she wore high heels.
“Hurry up,” someone yelled impatiently at her.
“Oh no,” Paige murmured, the scene almost in slow-motion now.
“What?” Dave asked in confusion, looking from Paige to the woman.
“She should have got rid of those heels,” she answered, her tone heavy with dread as the train jostled over some kind of bump. Everything jumped a little, and the man behind the woman in question slipped and gave her a little push.
She screamed, and Paige instinctively joined her. “Help!”
A few people that were the closest tried to reach for her, but it all happened too fast.
Losing her balance, she slipped and, in a flash, crashed onto the train tracks below. Her multi-colored dress swirled a rainbow through the air. Her scream faded abruptly as the train raced over her body.
Paige shuddered, but Dave pushed her onward. “We have to keep going,” he urged.
Together, they managed to make it out through to the next car. She kept turning, unable to help herself.
“What is the matter with you?” he inquired. She couldn’t believe he’d actually asked her that.
“That woman just died and I don’t want to end up like her,” she snapped back. She had to make sure no one was behind her.
Still, he did have a point. No one was pushing her since they were the last two people in the group of terrified passengers.
Well, that wasn’t completely true, she hedged. They would be the last two people apart from those staying behind. Those with the virus, who seemed incapable of registering the reality of another kind of danger.
“Here, let’s trade places,” he offered. “I will keep you safe.” Paige simply nodded. She didn’t need a hero to save her, but it was quite nice for someone to step up.
Looking back for the last time, she noticed something strange. People with the virus were starting to stand as well. Their movements were a little stiff and irregular, but they kept going nevertheless.
In disbelief, Paige realized they were moving in the wrong direction
“What are they doing?” she asked, nodding toward them.
They headed toward the front of the train where the impact would be the greatest.
Dave frowned, watching them as well, but he made no comment.
“Come,” he urged as he watched all those poor men and women walk to a certain death.
Their lives were hanging in the balance as well.
Through the commotion, a baby in her mother’s arms caught her eye, and she stopped in her tracks. She couldn’t be much older than a few months, and Paige’s heart sank when she noticed the blood on the little baby.
Her gaze slid to the child’s mother, a lady with long brown hair and a white dress patterned with red roses. She realized the blood was actually from her dripping nose. The mother was sick and not the baby, and they were also moving toward the front of the train, leaving the baby’s stroller behind.
Without thinking, she ran over to the pair and started shaking her to break her out of her stupor.
“You’ve got to come this way,” she told her, praying she wasn’t too far gone and that she would understand.
The woman appeared dazed and confused, but Paige managed to lead her alongside, while Dave helped from the other side. Together, they reached the last wagon, but it was already too packed with bodies. There was no way they could get through.
They held on to one another as they prepared for impact.
The sound of metal ripped apart echoed like a scream, deafening them instantly.
Paige, despite the instinct to bury her head in her arms, looked up and watched in horror as the top of the train tore open like a can. Shards of angry metal protruded from where the roof had once been. Sparks flew in every direction as the metal scraped the tunnel’s stone roof.
People around her showed signs of agitation, and Paige understood the feeling perfectly.
“Lord, have mercy on our souls,” one man prayed, and he wasn’t the only one. Pretty soon, others joined in as well.
“Our Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come...” For the first time in her life, Paige wished she knew how to pray.
She thought about her family, how much she loved them, and how much she wished to see them again.
Please, God, let me survive this train crash and see my family again, she pleaded. I really don’t want to die here. They need me.
Without warning, the floor flipped upward, lifting them from the ground. Paige panicked and tried to clutch onto Dave as closely as possible, but it was difficult in the train now completely out of control.
Suddenly, the carriage was plunged into darkness, but she closed her eyes regardless.
They tumbled and jostled, swept up in the relentless motion, and her eyes shot wide in horror.
I can’t do this. Her emotions spiraled out of control. I can’t do this. I want to wake up. Oh, please, can someone help me!
Sparks continued to fly, providing flashes of illumination for her to see everyone tossed in the air like the ragdolls she used to play with.
She watched as Dave flew to the opposite side without her being able to hold him back in any way.
“Dave,” she screamed, reaching out to him.
“Paige—” His arm stretched, his hand groping at air, but in vain.
In the next instance, she landed hard with a loud thud. The impact was so powerful, it knocked all the air out of her lungs.
A metal pole right in front of her provided something to hold onto as the train continued to roll, throwing everyone around as it spun uncontrollably.
When it finally slid to a grinding halt, Paige let go, only to fall forward one last time. She blinked her eyes open at a sudden weight crushing down on her. Dave lay above her, shielding her with his body and blocking her airways at the same time.
After that, everything went black.
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