Victor’s head swung away from his makeshift pillow and slammed down against the armrest as the train fell back onto the tracks. Pain blossomed in his head and bright spots swelled across his eyes like tiny white fireworks. He shut his eyelids but the spots grew brighter. A trickle of blood warmed the back of his neck.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god,” spat Trish senselessly. Her phone fumbled in her hands, thick fingers frantically jabbing at the flat screen. “It’s not going through. It’s not going through.”
The passengers on the train car began to panic. Some made useless attempts to call friends and family. A couple near the front helped an older woman back into her seat. A few others moved luggage out of the way to join the older man that had been heading toward the next car.
“Is this a terrorist attack?” Tanya asked Trish who had given up on her phone.
“I don’t know. I have no idea what just happened. Are we even moving still?”
The windows revealed nothing but darkness.
“Yeah,” said a hoarse voice, “we’re still moving.”
The women looked down at Victor who was still lying across the passenger seats holding his head with bloodied hands.
“Woah, you’re bleeding pretty bad,” said Tanya.
“I know. I hit my head.”
“Somebody’s gotta go up there and get some help back here,” said Trish, her eyes growing with concern as she stared at the young man.
“No,” said Victor loudly, a jolt of fresh pain drawing new colors across his field of vision. “No, there’s something out there. We need to get off this train as soon as possible.”
“We can’t get off the train if it’s still moving,” said Tanya.
A wave of shrill cries washed over the tense train car. Almost synchronously the passengers turned their heads toward the door ahead. The cries died away, leaving only their heavy breathing to mask the silence.
“Look, I can’t just stand here waiting for something to happen,” said the older man in the isle. “I’m going over to see what the hell is going on. If some of you want to tag along, that’s fine by me.”
The man looked around to see if anyone would join him. The couple that had been helping the older woman looked at one another. They got up and stood behind him. In the end, two others also tagged along and the quintet hurried through the junction into the following car.
Tanya and Trish watched the door close behind the determined group. They moved over to help Victor get up.
“We gotta stop the bleeding,” said Tanya.
They fished a white t-shirt out of Victor’s gym bag and used it to apply pressure to the back of his head. The car gently swayed from left to right as it rolled along, making Victor feel like he was swimming. Relentlessly, rain pounded the roof of the train.
A loud bang rang through the cabin. The door to the train car ahead of them seemed to rattle on its hinges. Someone in the car shrieked.
All eyes were glued to the front door. Sounds, like those of a scuffle, wafted back as if they had been ghosts living on that section of track and only now the train passed through them for all to hear once more. The passengers thought of the party of five that had just stepped through those doors in search of answers. The ominous scuffling continued.
The door rattled again. This time its hinges fought hard against the bolts that bound them. Another loud bang echoed through the car. The metal door bent inward toward the frightened passengers.
“Holy…” Trish could not find the words. Fear gripped her skin like a dozen cold, clammy hands.
The door banged and bent again, twisting away from the frame but still held in place by its hinges and handle. A few in the cabin screamed. Someone began to cry.
“We need to get out, now,” said Victor, attempting to raise himself up. The pain in his head was subsiding, but the bleeding persisted.
Tanya looked at him, indecisive. Her friend had not stopped muttering, eyes transfixed on the twisted door.
Another loud bang and the door’s top hinges came off. Darkness peered through from the other side.
“Come on, guys. Let’s go,” said Victor. He tried to sound urgent, but part of him just wanted to cry. He was scared.
Victor grabbed the phone he had been charging and shoved it into his front pocket. He couldn’t think of anything in his bag he needed and left it lying on the seat.
“Let’s go, Trish. Come on,” said Victor.
He tugged Trish’s arm gently and she followed, still gazing towards the twisted metal that bulged as if a vacuum sucked it in. Tanya followed her friend. The trio ran to the other side and opened the door leading into the last train car. As they closed it behind them, they peered back once more just in time to see the metal frame on the other side burst open with a clang. Fighting the urge to turn around and keep running, they watched, curiosity gripping them.
A tall, dark figure, like that of a man’s, approached. It wore no clothing, but none of its features were visible, only darkness. The figure walked slowly, its body turning as if looking around, but it had no eyes and no face, just more darkness. As it moved into the train car the lights in the cabin waned, being drained of their energy. This figure was the night. The night had come to life, and it seemed the Night had come to take it.
(End of Part II of IV)