Time itself was beginning to loose meaning.
His mind was unravelling, succumbing to his fear.
Much more of this and he may even forget his name, and become merely a gibbering pathetic terrified thing that just happened to wear a humans shape.
He fought back, as best he was able but it was inevitable.
Nathan sat, almost curled into a fetal ball, staring unseeingly into the darkness.
Although he was not aware of it, his salvation was within reach; all he had to do was see it.
The pager vibrated and flashed, momentarily illuminating him with a pale green glow.
The pager vibrated and flashed again. Nathan blinked and stared uncomprehendingly at the light.
Finally the light drove away a little of his fear, here was something alive - in the same way an echo is alive; contact with the outside world. He uncurled and reached for the device.
It was attached to the belt of the person he'd been sitting next to, the person he'd listened to breathing in the dark. He struggled with the catch, trying to free the device.
He fumbled the device and nearly dropped it, his fear still trying to master him. Not now, he thought, just keep together for a few more minutes, Nate. These things normally have a 'Reply' function.
The device went silent, the vibration stopped. NO. No! I'm so close. He almost wept as he opened the devices clam shell. A small screen lit up, throwing out a pale green glow.
There was text flashing on the screen.
1 Message waiting: Read now? Y/N
He glanced at the pager's owner, an ork, who was still out cold. Really shouldn't read other peoples mail, but he ain't gonna complain. He's still out cold. Anyhow, maybe this is our way outta here.
He tapped at the devices tiny keyboard and the screen changed.
M7-3, B shift - report in
What the hell? He looked again at the ork. Then he had an idea. Maybe this is for his job. He used the light from the pagers screen to examine the comatose ork. A quick examination was enough, paramedic. Nate almost laughed. Yes! Saved. They're trying to call him in. There's someone waiting for an answer!
He hit the reply button and typed carefully. It was awkward to type on the tiny keyboard, but he persevered, cursing every time he hit the wrong key, but never giving up.
Paramedic is unconscious. Theres been an accident. help us.
He hit the send button and waited. Then he had an awful thought: What if this was an automated call? What if there was only a computer on the other end, incapable of understanding his message?
Please, no. Please.
When the pager vibrated in his hand, he almost dropped it.
Where are you?
Nate typed feverishly.
Train crash. Underground. Powers gone. Somewhere between Stewart and Pine Help us.
Again the interminable wait whilst who ever was receiving this read his message and formulated a reply. It was easier this time though, he knew that there would be a reply.
Understood. Please stay online.
What the hell you think I'm gonna do? Go catch a movie? I ain't got a lot of choice here.
I'm the only one awake. Hurry. People are dying in here. I can't see to help them.
What you do that for, Nathan? They know you’re here, quit bugging them and let them do their jobs.
They're on their way. Traffic is tied up. Sending motorcycle units to your location.
Whats your condition?
Huh? What they on about? I'm stuck in a crashed train and I'm this close to going out of my mind! Whoa boy, backup a bit and think. Paramedic talk: 'Are you hurt?'
He tapped at the keyboard.
I banged my head hard. It's bleeding. Think I passed out for a while.
He waited. What they gonna do? Heal me via text message? He realised that this dialogue with who ever was on the other end was helping. He was beginning to calm down again, people knew he was here. Help was coming.
Medic should have first aid kit. Check for flashlight on belt.
Using the glow from the pager to illuminate the scene, Nate turned his attention to the downed paramedic. He soon found the small flashlight. Flicking it on, he stood up and looked around.
'Oh dear god…' Everywhere he looked were bodies sprawled at odd angles. One guy in the corner had definitely broken his neck when he fell. He could see the chests moving on some, so breathing was still happening, so he wasn't the only survivor, but they all looked to be in worse shape than him.
He could see broken limbs; blood stained clothing where broken glass had pelted them.
'Oh dear god…'
Unnoticed in his hand, a new message flashed up on the pager.
He continued to stare round the wrecked carriage. Where to start? He knew a little first aid, but where to start?
The pager vibrated. Nate jumped, nearly dropping the thing. He read the message.
Turn the medic's radio on.
Nate shone his flashlight on the prone ork. Sure enough, there was a radio attached to his belt.
He pulled it free and examined the selection of switches and dials on the one end of it.
'Hope this thing ain't broken…' He pressed the obvious button.
Immediately, the radio started to crackle. The transmission was choppy and broken by static, but just about understandable.
'….you copy?…This is … …. rescue, do you copy?'
He examined the end of the radio again, looking for a 'send' button.
The voice on the other end continued. He could hear shouts in the background and the sounds of machinery.
'…do you copy? Press … send button …talk to me. This is …rescue…'
The speaker sounded tense, frustrated and out of breath.
He pressed the send button
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