Black Out

by Follower

5:43 - Nathan Summers - Subway

Nathan's first feeling, upon regaining consciousness, was of a dull ache that seemed to permeate the entire left side of his face.

He groaned, raised his hand to his head and felt a stickiness that started just above his left eye, where the pain was greatest, and then continued into his hair, sticking it together.


He groaned again and opened his eyes. Nothing. Opening his eyes didn’t make any difference.

For a panicked moment he thought the blow to his head had affected his eyesight, then he realised that there was actually nothing to see - it was pitch black.

Pains in his shoulders made them selves known, and Nate realised that he was pretty much upside down; taking his weight on his shoulders.

Shifting position, he fell sideways and carefully stood, aware of the crunching of broken glass under his feet.

How did I end up like that?

Ok, I was crouched behind a seat, holding on to it when the train left the rails. Must have lost my grip and then been thrown around when the train hit the wall. That'd be when I picked up the head wound and all these other aches I can feel. Thankfully, nothing seems to be broken.

Ok, so the train bounces off the wall and I get thrown sideways, into the angle of the corner and floor. Then the train must have over turned; leaving me propped upside down in the corner.

Crouching, he examined the floor by touch, running his hands over it, searching. Eventually he located what felt like the edge of a window frame, the glass missing. He reached through the hole and groped around. Sure enough, he could feel the gravel of the tunnel floor, maybe three inches below.

Nate stood, stared blindly ahead. A horror that had been creeping up on him for several minutes finally made itself felt.

I'm trapped in an overturned train, in a tunnel. There's been a power cut. The ventilation system is not working. The emergency phones they put in these trains are not working. No help is coming.

He knew the symptoms well. True, he was in a bad situation. After all, he'd just survived a train crash. But even still, he recognised what was happening to him from experience.

The sudden difficulty in breathing, the imagined foul taint in the air. The approaching onset of panic. The need to get out of this little metal box, and then out of the tunnel it was in:


I must get out of here.

He felt the rear wall of the carriage, trying to find the door to the next cabin. The door was jammed solid, some impact had forced it out of shape, preventing him from being able to pull it open.

Briefly, he considered using a telekinesis spell, something he was very good at, to wrench the door open. Then he realised that wouldn't be possible. You need to be able to see your target to use magic on it. In this pitch blackness, he was helpless.

He cursed and backed away from the door several paces. Calm. I must stay calm. I must think clearly. If I panic, I will not escape.

Then he remembered a more serious consequence of panic

If I panic, if I loose control, I may inadvertently release a spell. It can happen in high stress situations. I would have no control over the magic, there's no telling what it would do.

He continued backing away from the buckled door like it was his personal nemesis. Almost hyperventilating now, Nathan fought the feeling of crushing weight that the surrounding tunnel was giving him now.

He tripped over an unseen obstacle on the floor and sprawled full length.

I'm trapped in a little metal box…

Desperately trying to distract himself from this line of thought, Nate examined the object he had tripped over.

I'm trapped in a metal box, in a tunnel …

It turned out to be someone's arm, sticky with bloody. Grimly he felt for a pulse. Nothing. Shuddering, he turned away from the body, unseen in the darkness.

The next body he came to was alive. The breathing was weak and erratic, but they were alive. …in a tunnel and they're never going to find me.

Trembling, Nate sat next to the unconscious body with his back against what used to be the ceiling, wrapped his arms round his knees and stared blindly into the darkness.

We're trapped in a little metal box, in a tunnel and they're never going to find us.

He could feel his fear, his claustrophobia advancing on him, bent on reducing him to incoherent terror. It circled round him, whispering about how stale the air tasted, telling him about the weight of earth held back by the tunnel walls. What if they had been damaged by the train impact? Weakened?

There could be a cave in. You think you're in trouble now kid? Just wait till that tunnel collapses: THEN you'll be really screwed.

Nathan sat, trembling in the darkness and fought back. His only comfort the sound of breathing next to him.

Copyright 2002 - Follower

Nate Summers - 6:22
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