“Am I waiting in the right place to reach my destination?” Angelina asks herself for the gazillionth time.
“Of course it’s the right place, you idiot!” she responds, slapping herself mentally again. “Don’t be so spineless. You already know the freaking map inside out. It’s just that the place is unfamiliar, so you have a feeling of being lost. It will pass. You’ll get used to it in no time.”
For a split second that thought scares her.
Angelina tries to distract herself from obsessing by meticulously observing details. She investigates the gray, high ceilings and scans the disgustingly dirty tracks. Finally, she notices the impersonal fonts in the signs.
This city does not invite familiarity. Even the spaciousness of the station is dimmed by the crowding and dinginess.
She’s heard somewhere that New York City is safer than many other cities in the country, but she can’t believe it. This grimy subway station with its dim, dull lights reminds her of a set from one of Dickens’s more gruesome stories.
“There could be a serial murderer standing right behind you, Angelina,” the Scary Script Writer starts. “He’s quietly waiting for the train to enter the station so he can push you into the tracks.”
Angelina does not welcome this morbid part of her imagination. Not today. Not in this gloomy setting. Not when she is already scared.
“Not a serial murderer,” she counters, “A thief is more likely.”
She looks around for the least likely candidate.
“How about that weird old lady?” Angelina plots.
The lady in question is so tall that her head stands above the crowd. She wears an extravagant velvet purple head wrap that makes her stand out even more.
“She could be the head of a pick-pocketing gang,” Angelina smiles. The thought is ridiculously funny.
The tactic works, as she knew it would. The Scary Script Writer despises humor. She is pissed off and leaves Angelina’s imagination alone.
The lights in the station suddenly flash and go off. They go on and off three times, each time stealing not only the light, but all the noises —even the silhouettes of the people around her— as if the entire world was going off.
Huge wings flutter so close that she feels their soft, feathery touch sliding along her spine. Angelina shivers, instinctively wrapping her hands around her body.
A massive shadow flies through the wall at the other side of the track. Two pairs of long, iridescent net-like wings protrude from a human-looking shape, slowly circling the gray stone wall.
“The thief is already inside.”
The whisper penetrates each of her pores. She is being submerged into a thick liquid. Kaleidoscopic streams flow in a silvery fluid that slowly engulfs her body.
The city noises have stopped. The world has stopped. Silence wraps around her as the thick flow covers her mouth, then her ears. Angelina hears the rustling of wings again. This time it comes from inside her.
“Not possible. Not happening,” Angelina forces her brain to think as she blinks vigorously.
The lights in the station are back to their dim dull stare, which Angelina now finds wonderful. The shadow is gone. Everything is back to normal.
Angelina realizes that her hands are wrapped tight around her bag and she is sweating profusely.
“Relax, Angelina,” she tells herself. “You’re just a little nervous, with so many changes going on: a new city, a new job. It’s a lot to take in. Just relax.”
Her left hand lets go off the bag and she relaxes the grip of her right hand.
“That’s much better,” she observes, trying to tease herself into relaxing. “The way you were holding the bag was almost an invitation to the thief.”
“I wish I could write novels as fast as my Scary Script Writer comes up with these frightening scenarios,” Angelina smiles, still trying to cheer herself up.
“But what use would that be?” She immediately considers, her smile turning into a grimace. “The publishers would reject them just as fast.”
She’s done it again. Her heart is now heavy. Why can’t she let go of her idiotic dreams of being a novelist? She might as well dream of being an astronaut!
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