Chapter 5

Written by: Anna Zhigareva
Art sat in stunned silence as the express sped on past warehouses and huge factory pipes, heading away from the city, through the small brick neighbourhoods of London’s less glamorous outskirts, and out into the darkening country-side. As the daylight faded, the views outside the windows faded into twilight and then complete darkness.
 
As Art stared out the window, images fleetingly moved across his vision, brick towns quickly replaced by progressively dimming rural landscapes, but the only image that stayed constant in his mind was the photograph Clarke had sent. Art had deleted it as soon as he received it, as if the electronic message could somehow grow monstrous hands and drag him into the depths of the foreboding Bible verse, but the image had stayed engrained in his mind, unwilling to leave.
 
I’m ill. I’m imagining things. As panicked thoughts raced through Art’s head, he realised with an intensifying fear that his reassurances were as far from the truth as his idea of what was going on. Paul is dead. Had died. Or been killed. At this rate, there was not a theory that Art could dismiss.
 
As the train rattled on past Art’s home station, he continued to stare out the window blindly. He thought back to Charlotte’s tarot cards. Would Clarke really hurt her? Art flinched and shuffled uncomfortably in his seat, his stiff muscles groaning in pain.
 
Art’s phone suddenly beeped, startling him almost out of his seat. His clammy hand gripping the black device, he tried to focus his tired eyes on the bright screen. Another message from Clarke.
 
Meet me at the ruined petrol station just South of the station.
 
“What in the Devil…?” Art began but a sudden flash of white out the window made him look up. As the train slowed down, Art forced his eyes to focus on the little white sign they had just passed. It read Roverhampton. Time to get off. Involuntarily, Art felt a shudder run all the way down his body, making his toes tingle with apprehension as he got up slowly to make his way to the end of the carriage.
 
It was dark outside. The train had almost emptied by the final station, and now the few remaining men in workmen’s clothes began making their way home. As Art headed South through the gate, a haze started to envelope the station. The phone in his hand showed one bar of cell reception. 
 
His fingers shaking from the cold mist that swirled all around him, Art typed a text to Charlotte: I’m in Roverhampton. Call this number in an hour. If I don’t pick up, call the police.
 
What if Clarke already had Charlotte? Would she have predicted his arrival…?
 
A stomp of a foot suddenly stopped Art in his tracks. The phone flashed a sign saying no service. The text hadn’t been sent. Art had reached the abandoned petrol station. In the dark a figure lingered by one of the broken pumps. 
 
Waiting. For him.

Comments

And so the tension continues to build. This is a great chapter that is totally believable. I was on that train!
Oh, wow! This is one very creepy, hair-raising story and i absolutely love it. Well done to every chapter writer for making it an unputtadownable serial. Eeks!!! I'm next. Fingers crossed!
Fantastic Anna. :)
Oh my goodness, what a great play on our imaginations this chapter is. It is totally believable and very creepy. Anna you have told this really well, leading us to the petrol station by the hand and hearts in throats. It has terrific pace ....almost that of the train which is clever and the imagery with the white sign appearing to foreshadow something significant then turning into a sign...now out in the dark...no cell connection and a bounced message. Wow! Not even a lifeline to Charlotte... This is a terrific serial!
This is such a great piece of work because Anna, like all the other writers, is hooked on the plot. When we love and get enthusiastic over a good plot, our juices flow and normally we wish we could write more than 500 words. This piece flows and I wouldn't mind betting the first draft took Anna no more than an hour or two. Lovely writing, Anna. Terrific imagery, both physical and imaginary.
What a brilliant chapter, Anna! The little details really add to the tension. One bar of cell reception...