Monday, January 19, 2009

Birdie Singer was late.

He clock hadn't rung and her cat didn't bother her to be fed the way she normally did, sitting on her chest and licking her nose. It figured that on the day her alarm malfunctioned, so would the cat. Even the B65 bus which came by her window at the same time everyday did not serve to awaken her from whatever solid dreams had captured her.

She didn't even get her coffee, and now not only was she disgruntled from being late and having to rush, uncomfortable in the clothes that she threw on, but she was also suffering from caffeine withdrawal. The crowds in the subway pressed in on her as they waited for the train to come, even at half past nine in the morning, when everyone should be sitting at their desks, checking their email and chatting with co workers, or whatever they did in normal jobs, they were still here crowding the platform. She'd never seen so many people waiting for the train, wanting to get in to Manhattan.

The train was late too, and all the everyday commuters were groaning and checking their watches. She made her way to the front of the crowd to lean over the edge of the platform, looking down the dark tunnel to see if the train was coming, oh she wished it was so she could get this over with. She was not looking forward to her day and the meeting with her boss that he had said was so important, although he wouldn't say why. Sure, he wasn't a normal boss, but he still had the power to tell her what to do, and to fire her, if it came down to that. She hoped the train would come soon.

And there, in the darkness, was the light of an oncoming train.

The buzz on the crowded platform rose in a wave as the waiting people realized their way out was coming. They surged towards the edge of the platform, as if that would get them on the train first, even though the train was still speeding towards them, the rumble roaring louder.

Birdie's heart beat faster as the first blast of air hit her, the crowd had pressed her so close to the edge. And then there was the train, the silver wall, speeding past her, just inches from her face. It screeched to a halt and she had to lean back against the wall of people to keep them from pushing her into the side of the train before she could reach a door.

And then, there was someone in front of her. A wide and tall figure, draped in a dark coat. His presence pressed her back from the sharpness of the train, the bright lights inside the car, the shadowy between places.

He turned around to face her. She felt of jolt of shock as she saw his eyes, a piercing green under the old fashioned brim of a fedora.

Then he hissed, "come with me if you want to live."


Rowena said...

So sorry I am late. I should have posted something last night, knowing that all the people on the other side of the pond would be waiting.

Here she is. Birdie Singer. In New York City, on the Subway, in Danger. What danger?

You tell me.

JES said...

Nicely done, and a great start rich in possibility!

It does make me laugh in one respect; the previous (UK-begun) story begins like a scene out of a latter-day Wuthering Heights or something, whereas here we're clearly more in Jerry Bruckheimer territory. :)

Kate Lord Brown said...

Ooh - I like. Maybe this is the way forward, bounce the story beginnings back and forward across the pond as we have a pretty equal US/Euro divide? Bravo Rowena!

Son of Incogneato said...

Aha! The game is afoot.
I burst out laughing on the tram this evening when I read 'It figured that on the day her alarm malfunctioned, so would the cat.'
Fantastic. Great name, to.

This looks very promising Rowena . .

Rowena said...

Thanks guys. Just so you know, there was reality here... my late start, due to fussing with a new coffeemaker (thus no coffee),and my uncle waking up late for work, upon which I heard "why didn't you wake me up, you stupid cat?" Damn cats, always malfunctioning.

I chose opposites on purpose. Female vs the male of the last one. City vs the rural village, day vs night, crowds vs the silence of the snow. American setting vs English.

However, I didn't notice until later that they both start at a train platform.


Kate Lord Brown said...

Oh trains, platforms, great metaphors - journeys all, excellent beginnings (and - ha! - burning (train?) lines??)

Going to sleep on New York .. x