Jane sat on the EL train waiting patiently for her stop to arrive. She’d set her iPhone to her favorite Pandora station and was just there, in the moment of herself. She happened to look over to her left and across the train aisle was a young man, giving her the eye. Normally Jane didn’t like getting ogled but this young man was pretty attractive. She caught herself wishing that he would come over and talk to her.
She imagined them together on a beach in Mexico. Maybe three years into their relationship. They were basking the glow of the sex they just had in the hotel room and the hot Mexican sun. She thought that would be pretty romantic. She had a feeling this young man was probably all about the romantic getaway. She looked up from the next song playing on her iPhone and the young man had moved closer to her. He was squarely checking her out. Jane flipped her blonde hair off her shoulder in a flirty way. A way that normally gets a guys attention but women deny doing because that would make them seem weak somehow.
She looked at the man again and was impressed by his rather chiseled features and yet boyish charm. He stood up and walked toward her and sat next to her. Jane felt a wave of mild panic and exuberance come over her as this hot piece of man meat sat next to her. She turned to face him and smiled.
“Hi, I’m Cecil”, he said.
Jane was about to introduce herself in a confident and firm sort of, “I’m not going to screw you on the first date, but maybe I will”, sort of way when she got the full Cecil picture. His mouth was full of blood. His teeth were rotting and bleeding quite badly.
“Oh, your teeth? Are you okay? They’re bleeding”, said Jane instead of introducing herself.
“I know”, said Cecil, “We can’t all be perfect now can we”.
Jane shifted in her seat and looked away. There was a smell now, a rotting, festering odor rising from Cecil.
“I saw you checking me out and I was checking you out”, continued Cecil.
“That’s nice”, said Jane.
“I was hoping you and I could maybe get to know each other”, said Cecil as he put his arm around the metal handle of the train seat behind Jane. She could feel the coldness of his arm near her neck.
Jane pushed herself against the train car side wall and the window to get away from Cecil’s reach. She wondered why she ever even left the house sometimes. She always winded up meeting some weirdo somewhere, why should this train ride be any different.
“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight”, asked Cecil.
Jane looked down and then reminded herself to be a confident, strong woman of the 2000’s.
“Please don’t talk to me anymore. I’m not interested. I’m sorry if you got the wrong idea”, said Jane.
“It’s too late baby. Where we’re going, it’s too late”, said Cecil.
Jane tried to get up but the train car floor came to life. It looked like chocolate milk with curdled cottage cheese and its tendrils wrapped around Jane’s ankles. It pulled her backwards into her seat as Cecil leaned in for a kiss.
Jane struggled and her iPhone dropped into the murky brownness of the EL car floor and it vanished. She tried to scream but Cecil clamped his smelly rotten hand over her mouth. No one else on the train car seemed to notice what was happening. She felt her breath leaving her and she tried to remain calm. She was a strong, confident woman of the 2000’s after all.
“Please Jane. Stop. It’s time for us to be together”, whispered Cecil in Jane’s ear.
She turned her head toward him and he smiled, blood drenched teeth now wiggling with what looked like maggots. Jane shut her eyes and moaned like a child denied a balloon. The sobs were panicked and heavy, as if crying through a wet blanket.
“Next stop is Belmont”, said Cecil, “that’s where we get off”.
Jane popped awake as if lightening has struck her. Don’t Fear the Reaper was playing on her iPhone in her ears. The train car was still except for the ruffle of newspapers. There was no Cecil or chocolate tendrils. It was just a dream. Just a dream. She nodded off on the train, that's all. Jane sighed with relief.
The PA system announced the next stop. Jane looked up curiously. Usually it’s Logan Square but Jane was pretty sure the announcement said Hell. Next stop Hell. Doors open to the right at Hell.