Justin Rutherford: At the Behest of Their Death

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Have you ever heard the legend of the man in the middle? There's a woman, and she boards an almost empty carriage of a train in the middle of the night. There's only four other people on the train. There are three men at the front; the man in the middle is dead, but she doesn't know that yet. The fourth man at the back warns her that the man is dead. The tale was as old as the murderous stories of a cannibalistic family living in the Lakefield woods. Nobody ever found out what happened next. Until now.

Justin and Hunter shot their heads around to look at the men in front, only to find the two that were alive looking right back at them. In a second, Justin and Hunter stood, panic and fear fuelling their bodies. The man who warned them also stood, keeping himself out of sight.

The two killers rose like snakes with their sinister and hungry eyes on their prey. The dead man in the middle slumped forward, much to the annoyance of the man by the window. He pulled him back so that he could pass. The taller of the two pulled out a knife and wiped the blood off with his jacket. Both men were bald; their oversized arms weighed them down. They wore plain, black clothes that made it hard to tell where their shirts ended and their trousers began.

'Now we promised our boss only one casualty tonight,' the man with the knife hissed, walking menacingly towards them. The other man repeated his movements. 'But she doesn't have to know.'

With that, the weapon-less man raised his arm and pressed the emergency stop button. Suddenly, the train jerked, and while the two murderers remained erected, Justin, Hunter and the man who warned them fell harshly. Sparks ignited the darkened tunnel. The tracks burned as train slowed to a noisy halt.

The lights inside the train switched off. The two standing men looked at each other with brief mystification. The man with the knife loomed over the fallen victims. 'Now, we didn't make the lights go off, but it does give this moment a nice touch, don't you think?'

The two men laughed. Justin struggled to get on his knees after smashing his head off of one of the poles. A warm line of blood dripped from a bruised cut on his forehead. It was too dark to see properly. Justin could hear Hunter stirring on the floor beside him. Instinctively, Justin found Hunter's arm and helped him up. As his eyes got more accustomed to the dark, he could see the man who warned them lie lifelessly on the floor, a pool of blood confirming his death.

Justin mourned for him silently while the two men grabbed Justin and Hunter. Bruises that Justin didn't know about craved for his attention.

'Now we'll try and make this hurt as much as possible,' the man spat.

Justin and Hunter scrunched their eyes in anticipation, but a smash from the front of the train consumed everyone's attention. The men lowered their fists and let go of Justin and Hunter. The smash from the front of the train, like the lights turning off, was unplanned according to the stunned facial expressions of the two brutes.

'What the hell was that?!' one of the men demanded to know, backing away cautiously. Justin and Hunter also backed away from them, though it hurt to move. Justin bit his lip so no cries could escape. They grabbed each other's hands tightly, vowing silently to not let go of one another. A shadow moved swiftly along the windows of the train, moving closer to the entrance – and only exit – to the carriage. Everyone stood, frozen, noting its movements, listening to the sound of scraping from something sharp against the train.

Then the doors opened and something entered. Something completely shrouded in darkness. Only a slight outline of this thing was visible. It wasn't too big, but it definitely wasn't small either. It looked naked, hunched.

The two men also witnessed the creature that entered the carriage, and screamed when the creature came too close for comfort. Its talon-like hands found their trembling bodies and shredded them with ease. Hearing their cries of pain, Hunter took no time to pull Justin with him to the carriage door. They jumped out and landed on the frail railway track just as a shower of blood curtained the entire carriage.

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