Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 185

Evie flicked Claire an impatient look. ‘We live in the Real. The Morphs come from the Beneath. They want to find a way through Underland to get to the Real. We stop them.’ ‘We?’ Evie looked over Claire’s shoulder. Her eyes narrowed and her lips tightened. Claire turned to see what Evie was looking at. The shape further down the train was getting closer and growing uncomfortably larger. To Claire, it looked wider than the aisle between the seats, and she was sure she could hear a ripping noise as it moved. ‘Later,’ said Evie. They were standing at the most forward door and Evie turned away to look out the window. Something bright flashed past, and Claire saw her start to mouth a count down from five as her hand reached up to the emergency signal. Claire started to shout an outraged ‘Don’t’. Pulling the emergency cord for a prank would get them in big trouble, and she didn’t want to add a fine to the grief she was already going to collect from her parents for being out so late. As she finished drawing the breath into her lungs, she realised that the normal rules had probably been suspended. She reached out and grabbed hold of a pole just as Evie pulled hard on the bright red chain. The emergency brakes slammed on, and Claire could see the walls of the tunnel light up as sparks scattered from the screeching wheels. The train shuddered to a halt with only half the first car poking into the station. While it was still rocking on its springs, Evie threw the emergency exit lever and pulled the doors apart. ‘Move it,’ she called back as she leapt from the train. Claire cast a glance back at the rapidly approaching outline and leapt out after Evie. They ran through an archway that was directly in front and into a hallway where two wooden escalators rumbled up and away to the right. Dim globes of light atop poles between the stairs provided the only illumination. Evie tried to push Claire onto the one going up. Claire pushed PAGE 184 back. She didn’t trust the escalators, and couldn’t see what was at the top. Besides, Evie appeared to know what was going on and Claire wasn’t happy about walking away from that small reassurance. ‘Go on,’ said Evie. ‘I’ll be up as soon as I make sure it saw me.’ ‘What?’ Claire thought the whole idea was to get away from the nasty shape chasing after them. ‘I have to get it out into the open,’ Evie replied. ‘Then I can deal with it.’ Claire stumbled as she stepped backwards on to the escalator and steadied herself by grabbing the handrail. Evie flicked an impatient hand at her until she turned and ran up the moving stairs. At the top she stepped to the side and turned back to watch. Evie was side-stepping away from the bottom of the escalators, craning her neck to see as much of the platform as she could. Sounds of metal tearing echoed up from the platform, then a crash. Evie fired her weapon then ran for the escalators. Too close behind her, a monster burst into the hallway. The creature was about seven feet tall and blocky, with scaly skin that looked grey in the weak light. It stood on two legs, with heavily muscled arms that looked strong enough to rip a laptop in half the hard way. The head was like a crocodile - only the snout wasn’t so long - and intelligent black eyes made it looked like a cliché bad guy from an anime. The Morph waddled, rather than ran, but it was fast and Evie was barely able to keep in front of it. As she reached the bottom of the escalators, Evie spun around and brought up the toy gun