Subterranean Tales: Ohm

by admin on March 28, 2012

Subterranean Tales


 He fancies himself as a gentleman of sorts, partaking in some of the finer things in life. He shops for his suits at Brooks Brothers and Nordstrom’s, paying particular attention to the cut and hemming. His jackets must be precisely one half inch shorter than what other men consider a normal length. His cufflinks and sleeves must always be showing as to bring more attention to the jacket itself. This in his opinion leaves the option to accessorize the color of the shirt, more than the actual jacket. Let’s say you have a pair of Dockers khakis and a navy blue blazer. A white button down would go nicely, the obvious choice, but why not offset it with a blaring shade of bright yellow? Then to capitalize on that concept, a matching handkerchief would offset that outfit perfectly; bringing together the entire ensemble that would not “normally” be fashionably acceptable. His shirts, always buttoned down, always, dry-cleaned, always 100% cotton (Egyptian being his favorite) hang in his closet like soldiers awaiting orders from their commander; starched and upright, they are always at his beck and call, ready to serve their master as loyally as possible. Their one mission: to make him look as regal as possible. They hang from wooden hangers in the darkness of his closet, silent in their stance, dedicated to their reason for being created, unyielding in their loyalty to him.

He dines weekly at restaurants that cater to his eccentric yet specific taste, trying up to three different ones a week. His preferences vary from Thai, Chinese, Italian to American or your high end steakhouse. He dines alone or with a lady friend of his who he happens to fancy at the moment. He enjoys his wine, particularly cabernet sauvignon from the Rutherford region of Napa Valley; the rich, tannic, blackberry and cherry characteristics of the varietal pleasing his finicky pallet. Nickel and Nickel, Quintessa, Caymus, Jordan and Chateau Montelena are just a few heavy-hitting vineyards he admires, spending upwards of a hundred dollars or more per bottle; a drop in the bucket for a man of his financial means. The man enjoyed his cuisine and spirits as a mother cherished her own children.

After years of fighting to find his place in the work field, he had finally succeeded, finding his niche along with the other professionals that occupied his office. At first thought of as stand-offish and not sociable, he found himself the butt of many a rumor, speculating that he was a pervert or a recluse. That blew over after three months of diligent work and by helping others with their workloads or deadlines when needed or before they even asked for it. This had caught the attention of the managers and the higher-ups through word of mouth from his peers and actual observation on their part which subsequently led to a raise in salary and an acceptance by all in his workplace. He had even broken down and attended a co-worker’s birthday party at a small pub not far from their office which surprised everyone, even himself. His career was flourishing and after finding stability among everyone there, somewhat enjoyable.

This doesn’t explain his action.

In today’s climate of high unemployment, job closings, Wall Street drama, the ninety-nine and one percenters and various other troubling concerns for the average citizen, he was not affected by them whatsoever. He was living a charmed and privileged life, complete with all the perks that accompany it. There are people who would kill to be in his position in life; taking everything that he had and living life comfortably, but not him. He wasn’t satisfied with life and what it had thrown his way, and although he had many materialistic belongings to his name and a sizeable chunk of change in the bank (for one hell of a rainy day judging by all the zeros behind the first number, two), it wasn’t enough. He felt hollow and alone, his financial status and all that it could buy never providing any real satisfaction. This had been the scenario for the last five years of his life; him going to work, him smiling and nodding his head to those around him, him keeping up the appearance of a man whose shit was together while inside, The Hollow consumed him; leaving him a shell of a man.

Getting up this morning, there was nothing particularly different. There was no different buzzing from his alarm clock that went off Monday through Friday at 7:00 a.m.; it was the same air raid, too high in the decibel department for his ears, beyond annoying one that he had the displeasure of waking up to for the last year of his life, ever since he bought it on sale from a Radio Shack somewhere in the city. With its neon green display and extra-large numbers coupled with its horn of an alarm, he was never late. Damn the snooze button; the last thing he wanted to hear twice in one morning was that noise, so his ass was up and about without fail for those five days out of the week. Nothing different there.

The walk to the subway station was uneventful as well. After leaving his apartment building, he made the usual two and a half blocks walk down his street to the elevated subway stop, the entire trek taking all of ten minutes from door to station. He deftly dodged the homeless man who reeked of old socks and even older piss and booze with an easy leap over the down-trodden man’s legs which were blocking the walkway that led down into the subway station. Following the swelling mass of other commuters down onto the subway platform, the immediate and unwelcomed stench of trash, urine and body odor overwhelm his senses, causing his eyes to tear up and a clearing of his throat became necessary before he continued on. Once on the platform, he stood in the back of the morning commute pack, watching all the hordes of people rubbernecking towards the sound of the coming train, eagerness in their eyes. He too heard the train’s approach, felt the rumblings in the soles of his shoes that steadily crept of his spine, finally finding a home in his fingertips. In the time it took for him to look down to see if his hands were actually shaking or not, the train’s lights broke through the tunnel at the far end of the station, its powerful engines marching right behind them. The crowd moved back slightly and this is when he decided to make his move.

There was no hesitation in his thoughts. There was no fear or indecisiveness in his movements. No, the time for that was over some time ago. He knew from the moment he woke up until this precise time what was needed to be done. The train is a good twenty seconds from where he is standing, but he’ll only need ten of those. Looking straight ahead at the people in front of him, he takes one hand, using it to gently nudge folks aside, all the while “excuse me” and “pardon me” leave his mouth just as they turn and give him disapproving looks. Only one person is in front of him now, an elderly lady who doesn’t move at first. She only looks back at him with disgust but finally after a particularly nasty sneer moves to the side allowing him to get to the platform edge. He breathes in deeply, takes one last look around the station and is greeted with the crowd staring directly back at him, not understanding what such a finely dressed fellow was doing so close to the platform’s edge, especially with a train approaching so close to where he was. Disregarding the concerned and confused looks of strangers, he steps down, determined to reach his destination, the electrified third rail. A few onlookers yell out to him to get back onto the platform, but it is too late. He is too far gone within The Hollow; too far gone with his own suicidal tendencies.

He is down on his knees a second later and with both hands he grabs the rusted- over rail. Once contact is made, he is instantly paralyzed, his limbs not responding to his mental commands. For a split second he can still hear the crowd above and behind him but that is quickly drowned out by a steady humming, starting out low and almost inaudible, and then rapidly rising to a siren’s pitch. His eardrums expand then explode, sending his blood dripping out both canals, running down each cheek freely. He can feel their warmth and if he could still hear, he would be able to make out the splattering sound they made as they hit the wooden tracks below. His teeth clenched down into his tongue, severing it halfway through its length. The front portion of it fell to the tracks and lay in the small puddle of crimson colored blood created by his still bleeding ears. It twitched violently once or twice then lay completely still as if the air had somehow been let out of it. Although he cannot move his limbs, his eyes (at least his right eye) move up to the platform all of four feet above him. He can see the crowd now with stark horror plastered on their faces, motioning for him to get off the tracks. The elderly woman is staring at him as well, her mouth hung open in shock, spittle forming in the corners of her mouth, too shaken to do anything else.

That’s when his eyes go, bursting with a brilliant ruby spray of membranes, muscles, and nerves, leaving his sockets semi-hollow and oozing with useless vessels and shredded tissue. His hair straightens then sizzles then smokes before the scalp itself peels back a half inch from his head. All his organs rupture and gush within and he is totally unrecognizable on the outside at this point; all that is left is a form of what used to be a human, bent down on all fours, convulsing sickly fast. A loud crack is heard as his spine snaps from moving out of alignment, his back caving into a grotesque “U” shape, as if some invisible horseman straddled him during his final moments here on Earth, riding him out into Death’s doorway. In the last moments before the train hits him doing better than thirty miles an hour and smashing his mostly liquefied body along its steel reinforced grate, The Hollow leaves him, claiming yet another victim to depression.

Its work is never done.




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