I stand motionless behind the flimsy curtain and try to ignore the sounds of carnage on the other side.
God knows what it is or where it came from. Well, it looks like it came from the cargo hold at the front of the train – but before that? Fuck knows!
My fellow passengers on the Sydney to Buenos Aires Bullet Train are trying to force themselves through a doorway wide enough to accommodate two people at a time, away from the advancing mass of teeth and claws. This is not going well and fighting has started. No doubt similar scenes are starting to break out in the subsequent carriages as the panic spreads like a wave throughout the train.
Two men that appeared to be some sort of Government operatives have stood their ground and have opened fire on the creature. They might as well have been throwing confetti at it. I can’t see this of course, but given that one of their heads has just rolled past my feet I think it’s a fair assumption to make.
And then there is me. While the carriage is in chaos, I slowly step behind a privacy curtain into one of the video call booths and wait for the creature to pass. It seems like a safer bet to be behind whatever that is, than in front of it along with dozens of potential ready meals screaming, fighting and otherwise drawing attention to themselves.
The girl grips the back of my leg and looks up at me with tear brimmed eyes. She is around 8 years old and was already in the cubicle when I arrived. I pray that she is not about to burst into tears. I place a single finger in front on my lips and hope that it gets the message across. Shhhhhh!
The sounds of slaughter seem further away now. The creature, having finished off those in this carriage has headed into the next in search of more victims. I pull back the curtain, and immediately wish that I hadn’t.
The plastic sterility of the train carriage has been transformed into a vision of hell. Blood dripping from the walls and ceiling, and flayed strips of flesh dangling from light fittings and overhead luggage compartments. The floor is invisible under a carpet of entrails and severed limbs.
I begin to move from the compartment when I feel an insistent tugging on my trouser leg. It’s the child, looking up at me, her bottom lip quivering. Cursing to myself, I gather her up in my arms and tell her to close her eyes before picking my way through the abattoir, towards the front of the train.
The following carriages are not any better than ours. I don’t stop to count body parts, but they all seem to be sufficiently small that there is no chance of me finding any other survivors. I have to traverse three more carriages, carefully closing the doors behind me, before I come to the cargo hold. I am vaguely aware of the fact that I can’t hear any more screaming.
The door to the first cargo compartment has been torn clean off. It lies in the aisle – a buckled metal sheet over a foot thick and I have to be careful not to loose my footing on the wet sticky surface as I climb over it.
The cargo hold is an improvement from the carriages, only in so much that there are only two eviscerated corpses in evidence here, both in what look like remains of Military uniforms. There are scorch marks on the wall from weapon discharges, and in the corner of the room stands a large crate.
One side of the crate has been shattered from within. Transparent ooze drips from the shards of wood and glass and somewhere inside a small red light is blinking. I assume that this is where the creature came from.
The train shakes and the muffled sounds of impact come from behind us. It seems like our new friend is objecting to the closed doors, and that means it is coming back this way.
The options are limited. Getting off the train was not one of them. In the middle of Antarctica we would last minutes before freezing solid. Staying on the train however, with the monster heading back towards us is also not an attractive option.
There is another door at the back of the cargo compartment – so far undamaged and intact with a scanner on the wall next to it. I put the child down on the floor and pick up one of the severed hands, pushing it against the scanner. A light goes green and the door slides open. Bingo!
The train shudders again and there is a sound of tearing metal as another door is torn from its hinges. We are running out of time. I turn to a computer console in the second compartment and use the hand of the unfortunate guard to gain access.
“Disengaging passenger modules in twenty seconds” a computerised voice informs me.
There is only one intact door left between the creature and us. Twenty seconds is just not going to be enough time. It will be on us in ten. As if to reinforce this, the train is rocked once more as it hurls itself at the last remaining door. I need to slow it down somehow.
I gently push the young girl back into the first cargo compartment.
“Pardre?” she whimpers as I close the cargo bay door.
I smile at her and make the sign of the cross through the plexiglass.
“Passenger compartments disengaged” the computer informs me. As I watch, the carriages begin to fall behind. The girls eyes are still on me until a large shadow falls over her. At this point I turn away.
As I say in my sermons…The Lord helps those who help themselves.