166, p.1Jack Talbot
And there was the rain again.
For the eighth time in the past ten minutes, I check the contents of my bag. It lies tightly closed in a neat pile at my feet. As I reach down, I notice the drivers eyes flicker in the right rear window of the taxi. I freeze, quickly straightening up. I was acting too nervous- too suspicious.
I feel the taxi slow, as it turns in to the side of the busy street. As I step out onto the hard pavement, I notice the pale man throwing me a cautious glare. I reach back into the taxi and carefully slip the bag around my back.
I wonder if he’ll ever realise what he helped me to do.
I carelessly throw a few pounds over to him before slamming the freezing door shut. I heave my umbrella over my head and click it open, creating a wide, black barrier between my thick body and the cold, hard rain.
I hated this place. I hated the whole country. All four of us did.
As usual, London was swarming with grey business men hurrying toward their dull office jobs. While I’d usually be joining them, today I was finally going to achieve something- something life changing. Something that would change this cruel, ignorant world.
It was only a matter of time.
I pick up my pace, more fiercely pushing my way through the thick, solemn atmosphere. The rain was like gun fire, ripping apart the pavement beneath me.
As I march past several huddled groups of faceless people and tall buildings, I finally see my destination looming from the distance. Like a beast hunting its prey, I quietly ready myself. ‘King's Cross Station.’ I scan the sign and suppress a smile.
I carelessly toss away my umbrella onto the pavement and hurry under cover. The sound of rain seemed to follow me, continually pelting the ceiling above. A few quick words to a clueless station clerk, and I have the white ticket in my hand. I guess it would seem pretty ridiculous that someone like me would bother with a ticket, but old habits die hard.
I hurry down a slow escalator and step onto the grey, stone pavement of the platform. The others are probably in their position already. I shake the crystal rain from my shirt and roll my neck.
We had agreed on four locations- three trains and a bus. The sweet, powerful taste of revenge lingered in my mouth. What a beautiful texture it was.
I slump down into a cold, metal bench, awaiting the train to arrive. My bag laid upright next to me. There were several adults and families dotted around the station- completely oblivious to the pain and suffering in the outside world.
I feel the time ticking by, second by second. Every few moments, I whip out my cracked watch, uncovering it from the long sleeves of my black jacket. The hands finally show eight thirty.
Any second now.
I feel my legs shaking uncontrollably. I could feel a mixture of sweat and rain starting to leak through my black, cotton sweat shirt. It was accurate to say that I was nervous.
The whistle of the train finally erupts through the opening of the tunnel.
I nervously get to my feet and tense every muscle in my body. I secure the contents of my bag pack with a tug of the shoulder straps, and continue looking dead on. I probably looked suspicious, but that hardly mattered to me now.
I had been completely avoiding eye contact since I left my small, crappy apartment this morning. I wasn’t completely sure why. Was it shame? Perhaps sorrow? Thoughts of abandoning the plot creep into my head. All I really had to do was walk back out the station and throw the bag somewhere. I knew there was no way in hell anything could be traced back to me, seeing as my accomplices would all be dead in a matter of minutes. Plus, I hadn’t ever killed anyone before….and I didn’t really consider myself a violent person. Did these people really deserve to….
I shake my head and force my eyes shut. What was I thinking? How dare I feel sympathy toward these animals? They were vermin- vermin only I could destroy.
The train’s cars whiz past me one by one- leaving it completely to chance which one would feel my reckoning. It was almost like something off of a late night game show.
The pale train finally comes to a steady, slow stop. A compartment labelled Car 166 stands tall in front of me. Like a soldier standing before an enemy tank, I accept my fate. As people start to line up behind me, my reflection in the car’s window fizzles into view. My dead, brown eyes stare back at me- revealing no emotion or thought. My black combat pants and sweat shirt managed to stay quite dry despite the weather.
As the train’s red doors slide open, several men, woman and children shove past me to board it. One by one, they push me further and further away from the doors. My legs finally give in as I fall.
A wave of anger and disgust collapses over me as my hands crash into contact with the hard floor.
Dammit, these animals have no respect for anything.
I force myself up, carefully tugging my bag around my back. No apology, no recognition. I didn’t expect much more.
A clean, crisp voice erupts as I step through the door.
I grit my teeth as I watch the doors close. I stand against the yellow pole closest to the door, and try to relax the muscles lining my face. A stench of rain and mould fills the air. As the train jolts forward, I quickly straighten up and securely grab the pole beside me. People were around me on all sides- not a single seat was left empty. I finally have a reason to smile.
As the train gushes through the station and into the clear, the sound of rain pelting metal and glass fill the otherwise silent scene. A swift look at my watch shows that its twenty to eight. I feel in my pockets for my wallet as I stare carefully at the ground. The black slab of leather securely held a photo of my wife- smiling carelessly on our wedding day. There was no reason Samantha had to know about this. She would never understand.
At its warm touch, I grip it tightly. I tug it out of my pockets and whip it open with my one free hand. Just as I had remembered, the photo of her was there. I carefully pull it out, revealing a photo of my kids behind it. All three of them were there- looking happily toward the camera as they climbed shoddy play equipment at a local park. I almost smile.
I stuff both photos into my trouser pockets, and toss the wallet into an empty space on the floor.
For the first time in hours, I accidentally make eye contact with someone. It was a child- no older than twelve years old. He wore a white and blue school uniform, with a small pile of text books held under his arm. Underneath his mop of black hair, I could see his eyes firmly placed a few centimetres above my right shoulder.
I quickly secure the bag with a pull of the straps, and realise that its back zip had loosened, revealing a few centimetres of its contents. My heart was racing.
Without a second thought, I quickly stuff it back behind the material, and pull the zip shut. I look back up toward the kid.
I feel my dark skin instantly drench in sweat. I scan the compartment- pushing through people and searching every single inch of Car 166 I can manage, but I can’t see him. I swear under my breath, and feel the passengers’ eyes drilling into me.
‘Can I help you, sir?’
The sound of the loud voice makes me jump- cutting the silent atmosphere in two. I turn toward the noise and quickly shake my head. I could see the man, slightly overweight and casually dressed, staring at me through thin glasses. He wore an emotionless, dead face.
We maintain eye contact for a few moments, until he finally shrugs and continues typing away at the bulky laptop sitting in his lap.
I continue to stand there- completely frozen- staring at the man. I had never felt so scared in my life.
After a few long seconds, I whimper and try to retain focus. Slowly scanning the compartment, I feel the face
I wipe the thick sweat from my forehead and attempt to straighten up, stopping my whole body from shaking like a madman. The few black hairs lining my neck stand on end. Hopefully the eyes of these people would soon revert back to the white, blinding glow of their mobile phones and laptops. I look down at my watch, and breathe a heavy breath. It had already gone past ten to nine. I was a few seconds late, but that didn’t really matter to me.
I force my eyes shut.
I breathe in, and breathe out.
The air was like ice, removing all moisture from my mouth. I could feel my heart beat increase dramatically- pounding against my rib cage as though it was trying to escape. Blood rushes to my head and my vision goes hazy.
I try to ignore any thoughts of regret as I stretch my eyes back open.
Everything was happening so fast, but there was no time for hesitation.
I quickly whip off my bag pack and throw it towards the floor. I pull out the small knife hidden within my deep trouser pockets and shout at the people around me to get down. I had been planning to make some kind of speech to these disgusting human beings, but I feel my lips trembling.
‘All of you- every last one of you…’
I try to retain a straight, emotionless face as I rip across the zip, exposing the handmade organic peroxide explosives hidden inside. My mutterings begin to echo throughout the compartment. I wipe my eyes and stand up, gripping the thick plastic container, coated in grey duct tape, securely within my hands.
‘…will feel the pain and suffering the women and children in my country go through every day. YOU, AND YOUR SINFUL, TWISTED COUNTRY are directly responsible for this.’
My lips lock shut, shaking too violently to speak another word. I breath a heavy breathe and go to the activate explosive. Before forcing down its small, plastic switch, I scan my audience- watery tears and fat flesh, desperately hiding their pink faces. Cowards.
I roll my neck with a smile and shout a few insults before finally forcing down my thumb to activate the device.
The sound of the explosion roars- whipping away the cries and screams of the animals around me. The compartment walls and roof burst apart.
The sound of death echoes in my ears. The once grey, dull atmosphere was now painted red.
With a scream and a whimper, I feel my body rip in two.
Suddenly, the defeating nightmare snaps to silence.
Devastation fills the dark, horrific scene.
The falling walls of the tunnel are drenched in warm, thick blood. Harsh, cold winds gush through the tunnels openings. Fresh corpses and scraps of metal lay around what’s left of my torn, destroyed body. Families and policemen stand nearby, their hope slowly fading.
The sharp train tracks and shrapnel dig into my ripped, bloody flesh. I couldn’t hear anything- I couldn’t see anything. I was not but the last flicker in a light bulb. The last bullet in a revolver- slowly being fired.
I did this all for my God- to inflict revenge upon those who had disrespected and murdered his people. I would be rewarded eternal bliss for what I had achieved for him. He- all powerful and all knowing- would welcome me into his kingdom.
He was the one true God.
But where was he?
Realisation hits me like a bullet.
As I feel what was left of myself die, I shamefully accept that I am going nowhere.
All of this- all I had done- meant nothing. The pain I had caused- the life I had stolen.
Right on cue, the dark sky tears open. It’s thick, black clouds start to erupt.
There is no heaven, there is no hell.
No bright light.
And there was the rain again.
166 by Jack Talbot / History & Fiction / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on20 votes