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Go Back (The Short Story Prequel to the novel, Underlife)

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GO BACK

 

The Short Story Prequel to ‘Underlife’

 

eBook Edition

Copyright

©

2012 Marissa Farrar

 

Warwick House Press

 

Edited by Wade-Staten Services

 

Cover art by Neil Jackson of Cow and Pig Designs

 

License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of these authors.

 

 

Publisher

s Note

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 


 

 

Go Back

 

Thomas Young flashed his Oyster

travel card at the sensor on the turnstile. The rubber flaps of the gate swung open, allowing him through. Ahead, a long escalator headed deep beneath ground.

Tom mounted the moving stairs, but, instead of standing still and allowing the motor to do its work, he trotted down them. He used the rubber handrail to keep his balance, ignoring the few people heading up the escalator on the opposite side.

In his other hand, he held the bag containing everything he’d needed for that day’s presentation—his laptop, leaflets, and the obligatory free pens health professionals couldn’t seem to get enough of.

How ironic,

he thought. I’ve just left a room full of doctors and yet I’m the one who has to return to the hospital.

At the bottom, Tom checked the tube map to make sure he was taking the right tunnel to head east. Even after spending almost ten years living in London, he still found himself checking automatically.

If Tom had a meeting in the city, he rarely took the car. It was easier to jump on the tube than sit in traffic for two hours and spend a fortune on fuel and a parking space. Of course, money played a part in Tom’s choice of transport. Ever since his nine-year-old son, David, had become sick, he and his wife, Abigail, had needed to watch every penny.

Abby had cut back her hours in order to look after David. Luckily, the pharmaceutical company Tom worked for as a sales representative paid good money, but they were heavily mortgaged and the huge council tax and utility bills didn’t just disappear because their son was sick. Abby worked part-time in a call-centre but couldn’t do any more hours. She was already wracked with guilt at leaving David’s side in order to work, but those few hundred pounds a month just about kept them going.

The tube seemed strangely deserted that afternoon. Tom turned down the tunnel he needed and, within a minute, stepped onto the platform. A few other people also waited for the train—a couple of older teenage girls and a business man like himself—but Tom ignored them. He glanced up at the arrivals board.

2 mins

.

Tom shuffled from foot to foot, one eye fixed on the arrival board, waiting for it to change. Every minute spent standing on the platform was a minute less spent with David. He knew Abby would be exhausted by now and getting impatient—probably checking the clock as much as him.

He’d hoped he would be finished earlier, but the group of doctors had expected dessert, followed by coffee, milking the pharmaceutical budget for all they were worth. Tom had made small talk while surreptitiously checking his watch and hoping they’d hurry up.

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