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Delayed

     Marcus sat alone on an empty train platform. Every single train had been delayed due to a casualty on the line, and the dark had slowly been encroaching on him for the last hour. Marcus shivered in the late evening air. Perched on a lone bench in a pool of unhealthy yellow light he watched as the shadows grew longer and larger and his train became later, and later. 

     Everything seemed too loud and too big; shouting for his nervous attention. The few insects zooming toward the light above him, bouncing off the glass with tiny bop…bop…bops. A weed pushing itself through a crack on the painted yellow line. A car door slamming in the street outside. An abandoned Coca Cola can on the tracks.

 

     “Evening.” Marcus jumped. A man in a crisp, pin striped suit and bowler hat was suddenly sitting next to him. A deep crimson scarf was tied neatly around his neck.

     “Oh, um, good evening,” Marcus replied before hastily dropping his gaze.

     “It’s cold,” said the man, his voice very flat. Marcus gave him a sort of smiling grimace of agreement.

     “Yes,” the man went on “I’m usually not out at this time. But…”

     “Yeah,” Marcus forced a laugh looking very determinedly in the opposite direction. Where was that train? They sat in silence for a while, Marcus trying to look busy with the clasp of his briefcase, then searching his pockets for an imaginary something.

     “I am so sorry, you know.” The man’s voice hissed slightly as he spoke, head tilted, pale yellow eyes slightly too wide.

 

     “What?” He stared at the man; the man stared back with those strangely thin pupils, that slightly too shiny skin. Marcus jumped to his feet. “I have to…” he didn’t bother to finish his sentence as he hurried away. He pulled his jacket closer around him nearly stumbling as made for the set of stairs leading to the street above. Pain cut into Marcus' shoulder and he yelped. The man’s hand was gripping his shoulder, five long nails piercing through Marcus’ shirt pinning him in place.

“I'm so sorry, dear minister.” The man grinned baring needle like teeth. “But you are in a unique position. A position we need.” Marcus filled his lungs with a scream that never had a chance to hit air. 

     Marcus went to work the next day. Same suit, same tie, and, as he insisted to his colleagues, the same pale-yellow eyes he had always had.

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