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[personal profile] wonder_city
Did you think I'd leave you hanging like that? Of course not!

Tom’s first coherent thought was, That must be what a sock in the dryer feels like. Their carriage, she realized when she pulled her head out from under a blue velvet cushion and someone’s leg, was upside-down.

A pleasant woman’s voice was repeating over and over, “Please remain in the carriage until emergency services arrive. We regret any inconvenience. Please remain in your seats to avoid unpleasantness. Again, we regret the inconvenience.”

Christopher said, from too close nearby, “How the hell do they expect us to remain in our seats?”

Their guide was wedged up against a bent brass lamp in the central part of the roof (which had a narrow little clerestory not designed to hold human-shaped beings). He groaned dismally.

The Dean was already attempting to pull open the door, which appeared to be stuck.

The pleasant voice droned on: “...the inconvenience. Please remain in the carriage until emergency services arrive...”

Christopher said, wonderingly, “The electricity’s still on.”

Tom said, pushing up to a sitting position, “Does this system use a live rail?”

The Dean said nothing, just broke an arm off one of the lamps and pried at the door with it.

Their guide said, “It’s a mag-lev. I have no idea what you mean by a live rail, and I’m not sure that I want to know.” He started to pry himself out of his undignified position. “We got most of the way, I think, but...” Then he trailed off, a vaguely horrified look on his sallow face.

Tom said, “What?”

He said, “Listen.”

A faint thrum echoed through the railway car.

Christopher said, in the voice of one expecting very bad news, “What’s that?”

The saturnine man said, “That’s a train. On the track behind us.”

Tom said, through rising panic, “Could it be emergency services?” She pulled herself up the wall until she found footing, then reached down and hauled Christopher to his feet by the front of his shirt.

The pleasant woman’s voice said, “Please remain in your seats and everything will be taken care of.”

The Dean said, still working on the door, “If so, they’re going awfully fast.”

Christopher said, “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.” He stared in the direction of the oncoming train as if he could see it.

The saturnine man said, “It’s times like this I wish my programming allowed me to swear.”

The pleasant voice said, “Remain in your seats and everything will be taken care of. We regret the inconvenience. Guests without proper ticketing are subject to sanctions up to and including fines, fees, expulsion, legal action, reprogramming, death, and dismemberment. Please remain in your seats. We regret the inconvenience.”

Tom hurled herself across the car towards the door to lend her fingers to the Dean’s slowly opening door. Christopher whimpered, “Oh, sweet skateboarding Christ,” and scrambled in that direction as well. The saturnine man wrenched his leg free of the brass lamp which had pinned it to the floor-once-ceiling and crawled on hands and knees to the door.

The distant hum was growing louder at an alarming rate.

The sliding door slowly yielded to the pressure of four sets of hands. The incessant voice continued to tell them to remain in their seats, “And everything will be taken care of. We regret the inconvenience.”

The hum rose to a tooth-throbbing roar just as the four of them tumbled out of the door and into a dark, dank corridor that smelled like subways everywhere. As luck would have it, there was a side passage directly in front of them and the Dean shoved them all down it.

Behind them, a brightly lit -- yet empty, Tom was able to glimpse through the blurred windows -- train slammed into their disabled train at what may have been a couple hundred miles per hour. The two of them shrieked down the corridor in a twisted mass of silver and gold metal.

“Yes,” said their guide while they all stared after the spark-showering, screaming trains for a couple of seconds. “I can definitely see the appeal of swearing now.”

Date: 2012-09-26 04:43 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
An in the nick of time escape! You've got me eagerly looking forward to the next installment of this each time.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2012-09-26 08:53 pm (UTC)
contrarywise: The Headington Shark at dusk (Shark)
From: [personal profile] contrarywise
Oh, I love a narrow escape followed by spectacular wreckage, don't you? :D

Date: 2012-10-23 11:03 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
It is up there in my list of things to enjoy in stories such as these. I do so love malevolent programs.

“I can definitely see the appeal of swearing now.” was priceless, too. <3


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