Thanks A Lot, Kathryn

The metro creaks along its rickety tracks, the fluorescent lights flickering to expose the handful of passengers seated in its garish seats. Fourteen stops, I count mentally. Fourteen stops till I’m back at home.

I have only myself to blame for my current situation, of course. When Kathryn suggested we go for a 02:00 am screening of an obscure Japanese movie at the cinema downtown, I should’ve known better than to say yes. But she’s Kathryn and I’m desperate so I jumped at the chance to spend a little extra time with her which is what eventually lead to me now being mostly alone in a gaudy metro.

Tired to the bone and more than a little creeped out by all the deserted stations we were passing by, I heave a relieved sigh when I hear the distant chugging of a train nearing ours.

Desperate for some sign of human life [apart from the three sleeping forms that constituted all of my fellow passengers], I crane my neck to get a better look at the other train.

Surprisingly, it seems like the vehicle is packed with people. Even more surprisingly, out of the seemingly 100,00 faces that whizz past me in a blur, one of them stands out as clear as day.

The strange thing is, I couldn’t describe the face even if my life depended on it. I can’t say if its eyes were brown or if the skin was pale, but I can somehow tell that it’s been imprinted into my mind, somewhat permanently.

Brushing it off as an oddity, I settle back down in my seat just as the neighbouring train clatters away. My mind already working on erasing what just happened, I’m a little perplexed when I hear the hoot of another train set to cross paths with mine.

Now, I don’t have a PhD in metro schedules, but it seemed a little off that there were two trains hurtling along the same line in such quick succession. I peer out of my window to get a closer look and immediately feel a jolt run up my spin as I realise that this one is identical to the one before; it’s brimming with life forms and the same peculiar face is glaring right at me. Except…

Except it feels like the face is closer than before. My brain already turning this into a Paranormal Activity sequel, I decide that I’m just tired and firmly close my eyes. At any rate, I’m only twelve stops away from home now and then it’s bye-bye-insidious-hallucinations for good.

I’m just about to plunge into a first-rate nap when I feel my skin turn cold for no apparent reason. My heartbeat starting to accelerate, I open my eyes…

…Only to find the face, seated at the far end of my train booth. An inexplicable fear starts to creep up my throat because it hits me; the face is going to keep coming closer…

And closer…

And closer…

Until…

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