The Confluence Part 10

August 5th, 2011 by Wordsman

Still in Action Mode, Peter’s first reaction was to pull.  He pulled hard, hard enough to remind his fevered brain that bones can break, shoulders can be dislocated, and that maybe charging ahead without analyzing the situation wasn’t the best way to get ahead in the long run.  After all, if he had somehow managed to get wedged between a pillar and a garbage can, all the pulling in the world wasn’t going to help.  But when he turned his head, he saw that what was holding him in place was nothing more than a human hand . . . a human hand employing a full-force Greco-Vulcan Death Grip that would have put an industrial vice to shame.

Now in Analysis Mode—but still suffering from lack of sleep and feeling dizzy from jumping down all those stairs—his brain immediately leapt to the conclusion that he was being mugged.  He had thought that this was something that typically happened at night, but then again, what did he know?  Having grown up in the suburbs, he didn’t know much about being mugged, other than that it was “something that happened to other people” and that it was “undesirable.”

He might have been able to accept a morning mugging, but, as his eyes adjusted to the lighting, the identity of the mugger was nothing short of dumbfounding.  She looked like she could use the money, but was this little old lady really capable of such a crime?  Was that really cold determination he saw in her crinkled eyes and her thin mouth, or was it simply a trick of the unpleasant subway station lights?  And how in the hell was she strong enough to have him trapped like that?

The Old Woman of Simon Park Station had not expected this turn of events much more than Peter had.  The morning rush was entering a lull; the last train that could get people downtown by eight o’clock had already departed, and it would be at least fifteen minutes before the nine o’clock crowd started to pour in.  She had been all prepared to settle down for a brief rest when she saw the young man come dashing in, all by himself.  When he started to slow down right next to where she was sitting, she just reacted instinctively.

“Don’t you think . . .”

She stopped.  She had started to ask the question automatically, just as she had approached the man automatically when he passed her pillar.  But what was the point?  No one ever listened.  He was just another guy in a suit, rushing to catch a train.  She had seen tens of thousands of them in the time she had spent in Simon Park Station.  She had really believed that eventually someone would come along, someone who would listen to her little speech, someone who would help.  But the law of averages had failed her.  This strategy wasn’t going to cut it.

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One Response

  1. Shirley Says:

    Ah! So we’re coming back to the mysterious old lady. I didn’t see how you would get to the original story. I should have had more faith in you.

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