(It's been quite a while since I've done a serial short story, so I thought I'd try my hand at a thriller. We'll see how it goes. Also, as a quick update on the podcasting front, I am nailing down some equipment issues, and shoulld be ready to forge ahead soon. I'll be contacting the brave volunteers shortly! Any others?)
by Jason Evans
Modern Day Philadelphia
Tuesday, 5:57 P.M.
The rumble of a departing train shook the platform and pulled swirling air down the tunnel. A man, designated MT1023, sat staring at his hands. The thump of the wheels traveled the metal legs of the bench and quivered in the corners of his newspaper.
A mother with hair falling from barrettes settled next to him on the bench. Her pretty face was flushed, but she managed to smile at her little boy. She arranged her shopping bags around her feet while the child hopped. MT1023 scowled.
The child looked young. Maybe four. He seemed sweet, with shining blue eyes and curly blond hair. He looked up at MT1023's peat-colored skin and wiry black hair. His mother showed no open signs, but her leg hovered at the edge of the bench. Not an inch closer to MT1023 than necessary.
Sad. Very sad.
MT1023's eyes flicked to the child. Disgust shivered in his face, as if he lusted to obliterate everything the child represented.
The train snaked around a bend, and the air settled. In four more minutes, MT1023 would be departing. He looked up. His eyes darted around. As if he sensed he were being watched.
Tuesday, 6:48 P.M.
A yellow car coasted down the road, then slowed. It turned into a driveway flanked by barberry bushes. Brake lights splashed on the driveway as the automatic garage door rose. MT1023 pulled his car into the shadows. The backing lights flicked, then the door started down.
Rectangular light from the kitchen window stretched deep into the backyard. In the view of a pair of binoculars, MT1023 appeared in the doorway. His wife smiled, but continued her march around the kitchen. A steaming plate was set at his chair, and he sat. He did not smile. He forked the food without raising his head.
Later, electric blue flickered on the curtains. His wife tuned the television to the usual programs, while his internet connection skipped among Middle Eastern servers. Rivers of graceful script pulsed back and forth like a heartbeat. Then, the lights flicked off and reemerged upstairs. For a time, the internet connection remained.
Wednesday, 3:12 A.M.
The houses were silent. A few spotlights chipped away the night, but no one was awake to see.
Feet scratched across the shingles. MT1023's window fogged with a billow of breath. The strides on the roof stopped. A sound grated against the glass.
A car eased up the road and backed into the driveway. Four figures swept into MT1023's cut window and surrounded his lonely bed. Still outside, the fifth signalled the car and watched.
MT1023's eyes shot open. They cut the scream before he could inhale. With blinding white pain, his arms were twisted behind his back. The force of it rolled him. Loop after loop of duct tape squeezed him. The fist in his hair let go, and he smacked into the pillow.
A blow socked into his kidneys. He convulsed.
As his back arched and muscles shook, the zipper of a body bag sizzled in the quiet. They picked him up and slid him in. Before resealing it, a syringe emptied into MT1023's neck.
The bag struggled as it was lowered to the trunk of the waiting car. By the time the lid latched and the car crept off, the motion drained away.