TUBE, Draft 2, Chapter 7, Scene 6 (Excerpt)
Her eyes fell on the line of imprints, identical to the ones she saw in the dream. It was no dream.
“Lyuba!” Frantic, she sprinted after her, ignoring the cries, the pain. Blood roared in her ears.
“Get away from there! Get down! Now!!!”
Her voice broke. Her quilted booties slipped on a patch of ice and she fell, snow bunging her eyes, plugging her nose, penetrating her skin with frosty needles.
There was a hiss of steam to her left. A jet of curling mist. The engine hummed, then roared like a predator, spinning faster, faster, eager to make its lethal move. A whistle cut through the din, another, and the blat of the horn, and the screech, the mechanical grating of metal on metal. It pierced Olesya’s eardrums, drove stakes through her skull.
She scrambled up.
“Lyuba!” Her voice drowned in the noise. “Lyuba!!!”
Lyuba didn’t hear her, standing stock still, the hand with the camera slack—she wasn’t taking pictures after all—the other hand on the TUBE logo.
The machine jolted.
Lyuba turned to the cry. Her eyes widened in recognition.
“It spoke to me, Olesya...you were right...it—”
The train struck her.
The pashmina scarf soared, a gossamer mesh. Lyuba’s arms flew up—two stretched curves, two sides of an oval, fifth position—an expression of mild surprise on her face, disbelief, confusion, then she spun and toppled like a stem razed by a scythe, revolving once, landing with her temple on the beveled nut that crowned the fastening bolt, the bolt that got loose over the years of incessant vibration.
There was a faint rip, too quiet to be heard.
The engine juddered, screeched to a stop. The bottom rim of the pilot—grimy, caked with hardened scum, snow, scallops of icicles—hung inches away from Lyuba’s straddled legs like an upper jaw frozen mid-bite.
Seconds later Olesya kneeled next to her. She lifted the veil, gazed into the glossy eyes. Green, they were chromium green, with specks of gold, like her surname. Zoloto. Lyuba Zoloto. She never noticed. How was it that she never noticed?