Bakerloo Line Train by Tim Reed

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John wants to turn his life around, and that starts with a marriage proposal to his girlfriend. All that's standing between him and this act is a simple journey on the London Underground. Except that this journey will be anything but simple.

Strange old ladies, apathetic passengers, a nervous Asian man and a deepening sense of unease are all obstacles to overcome, but will John gain redemption and an easy passage? Or, will this train ride lead to somewhere darker, dimmer and altogether horrifying?

A short work of horror from our Spectres line.


John Rowe usually hated the Underground, but today the added ingredient of “nerves” made the impending journey a fearsome concoction. He was twenty-eight, in a mediocre job, and overweight, but he was also lucky enough to have Melody—his quiet and attractive girlfriend. And yes, today he was going to propose.

The engagement ring weighed heavily in his coat pocket, a promise of a new future —and a new start—away from his past mistakes. He shivered, blotting out that terrible subject, and steeled himself for the forty-minute Underground ride on the Bakerloo Line. He hoped it would be a mere inconvenience, a soon-forgotten prelude to greater things, but a subconscious insect crawled around his mind, instilling just that little bit of unease.

Why should he be afraid? The journey was the same as always—dank, rushed, full of pushing commuters and screaming trains. Melody’s acceptance of marriage would be his reward; she was oblivious to his past, loving him without questioning.

John HATED questions.

Grimacing, he jumped off the escalator, mirroring a little girl on the one adjacent. She stared wide-eyed at him, started to laugh, but then John winked at her and her smile slipped.

“Alison, come on!”

Her hassled mother heaved her away into the throng, displaying the contagious impatience that John loathed about London. A flash of blue dress and the girl was gone, swallowed by the self-contained throngs milling about, as if lost.

Sighing, John veered northbound, up the steps and onto the crowded platform.

This was usually where any remaining patience disintegrated, as bustling became jostling, where conversation became uproar, and where—as John non-too-fondly remembered—drunks took it upon themselves to harass, singing tuneless songs with glassy stares for those in earshot. John expected it all, but for once a train already stood there, hissing impatiently, doors opening and closing like gaping jaws. For John it was a touch of gold dust—like the tube was knowingly waiting JUST for him, impatiently strumming its steel fingers on the blackened tracks.

“This is a Bakerloo Line train…to Queen’s Park.”

Queen’s Park was John’s destination and hopefully the start of a second, more worthwhile, life. Really? Did he believe that? Something inside him laughed; the subconscious insect clicked its jaws, but John desperately tried to smother it with optimism.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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