An Exit is Found in the Nick of Time!

Posted: June 20, 2012 in Online Reality Game
The Captain’s military tone cut through the babble of panicky voices in the rear carriage quickly enough. By now the side doors that would normally have been used to disembark from the carriage on to the platform at a station had been forced open and there were several available exits to the tracks. It was a tight squeeze to move along the side of the carriage, but manageable. Within a few minutes all of the passengers were off the train and moving along the tunnel, back in the direction they had come. The track was filthy and difficult to walk on, but the idea of another train coming this way any moment was enough to encourage even the most querulous of pedestrians, though many complained of turned ankles on the rough stone base, and the ladies’ clothes would be stained beyond repair by the time they reached a station.
About a hundred yards or so back up the track they came to a wider section. The train conductor was waiting there for them.
“This here’s a junction section,” he explained. “And we’ve got a siding line what comes in here.” He pointed to a tunnel that curved off to the right. “There’s a sub-station just a short distance down this side line and I’ve sent the other passengers ahead to get off the tracks there. It’s not much used. It services the Bank of England, but there’s a security guard there and an exit to the street. It will get us off the tracks before the next train comes through! Quickly, please!”
Siding Junction

Siding Junction

To punctuate his comments a whoosh of air gushed down the tunnel and the magnified echo of a train leaving the Moorgate station could be heard. He waved them quickly down the side line and hung his lantern in the tunnel where the next train was expected any minute with the glowing red lens pointed so that the driver would see it.

“The driver will see that and hopefully slow down enough,” the conductor explained, “but this is going to be a very dangerous place right soon. Please hurry along to the sub-station, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve got to put a call in to the Bank station to hold all the north bound trains as well.” The uniformed man hurried along ahead of them again, catching up to a handful of passengers already making their way along the siding line. Now that imminent danger of being run down by an oncoming train had been averted, complaints were coming out loudly from many of the soot-stained travelers.
The Siding Tunnel

The Siding Tunnel

*******************************************************
Lady Barchester:

I’ll be sure to grab my umbrella before dropping down to the tracks below. I’ll follow the conductor’s directions and quickly make my way to the junction.

I’ll check to see that everyone has made it off the carriage including the gentlemen in the front of the car.

*****************************************************

Madalena frowned slightly as the man who was attemtping to assist her from the train abruptly gave up and made his way to the other end of the carriage, where several people seemed to be staring open mouthed at what had happened.

The press of people was too great for her to wish to venture into the crowd, and she hovered uncertainly in the middle of the carriage for a while, half trying to overhear what the people at the front of the carriage were saying until the officer’s barked orders finally restored some measure of efficient disembarkation and she was able to make her way to the sooty tracks.

Making her way into the side tunnel as the conductor bids her, she will try to find one of the people who had been peering into the carriage beyond.

“Scuzi… what did you see there? What has happened?”

*******************************************************

Having also followed the conductor’s directions, James, feeling as relieved as the rest of the crowd, trots up to Madalena.

“My apologies, I simply, er… had to lend assistance elsewhere! And you seem like a very capable woman, quite able to handle whatever circumstance throws at her, eh?”

Madalena smiled slightly, briefly unsure if looking ‘capable’ was a compliment, or indeed even true, but decided to take it as such. “Well, we are all victims of circumstance, sir, and must make of it what we can.”

James brushes some more soot from his lapels.

“And let me tell you, we are lucky to be alive – the entire forward train was simply gone! Swallowed up into some vast space, like something out of that Mr., um… Verne’s books.”

Madalena was dumbfounded at the news. “Gone? But… how is that possible? An underground chamber? A tunnel collapse?” But something about that terrible void felt unnatural, the work of dark forces.

“Quite exciting, in retrospect, don’t you agree, miss…?”

Madalena wasn’t quite sure whether to correct him or not. Under the circumstances, formalities seemed rather redundant, but she couldn’t in all conscience leave the poor man thinking that she was not married.

“Contessa… Madalena della Rovere,” she replied, with a slightly embarrassed grimace.

********************************************************

Michael breathes a sigh of relief (and immediately starts to cough up the dust and dirt he has inhaled and tries to keep pace with the military looking doctor.

“That kind of explosion. Or massive earth tremor….we don’t really know what other incidents have occurred. Perhaps this train is but one.” He is normally rather intimidated by men like these but the sheer strangeness of the last few minutes puts his normal caution aside.

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