More Underground

This place was bigger than she had ever imagined. Karen had pictured a cave, narrow and dripping. There would probably be stalagmites. Or stalactites, she was never sure about which was which. This was an enormous cavern, with a ceiling so arched and high that she couldn’t see the angles of stone amongst the shadows. The left side of the area – the wide expanse of concrete, surrounded by walls that leaned over them all – dropped abruptly. That must be where they’d come from, along the dead track.


Abandoned subway station

Abandoned subway station (Photo credit: Geir Halvorsen)


She walked further, timidly, pulling Andrew by the hand. He followed more slowly, his steps lagging behind her. He was gaping at the ceiling, and the walls, and the group of people sitting before them. They were all lounged about what seemed to be a very old television, clustered in front of it. There was a reporter on the screen, interrupted by flickers and static as she told them earnestly of the newest political developments – “There has, however, been some controversy over the recent reelection of the Senator, especially given the scandals he faced at the end of his last term. Over to you, Ron.” The people were beginning to get up now, to mumble to one another, and one person leaned to shut the television off. It shuddered to a black screen as though relieved to give up the burden of CNN.


Karen was a bit surprised. A group of people who lived beneath the surface of the city was hanging on the words of the world above; she had assumed they would shun news of the world. It was a much more attractive prospect, and seeing the reporter made it feel like everything up there was inescapable. That wasn’t why they had come. She yanked on Andrew’s hand, and he squeezed hers.


She stopped to smile at him. He was looking at her, his face solemn in the low light of the station. She looked back for a long moment, and for a bit they stood there together, silent, in the cavern underneath the world.



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