The Talons of the Si Fan An Online Adventure by Mystery Max
People Places Plots
Moorgate Underground Station

The City and South London Underground Railway line swings across London from Euston and St. Pancras station through King's Cross, Angel, Old Street, Moorgate and Bank before plunging under the River Thames near London Bridge on its way to the working class neighborhoods of Kennington and Clapham. It is a busy line, especially at this time of the day and the platforms are crowded with business men in their dark coats and bowler hats, ladies in colorful skirts hurrying to reach the shops before they close, or meet friends for tea, and plain working folk on their way home for an evening's well deserved rest. The term Rush Hour has not yet been coined, but the streets above are packed with horse drawn vehicles and traveling beneath the city, though it brings one in contact with fellows from all walks of life, is much preferable to struggling through the teeming throngs above ground.

At Moorgate station, the tube train wheezes to a halt, disgorging one set of passengers and taking on another. The driver looks out of his cabin window for the all clear signals from the porters stationed in each carriage and when he sees the flags wave, he eases the large brass lever up to the first notch in the control yoke to set the train carriages lurching forward in a jerking, slowly accelerating motion.

"Bank! Bank station is next," call the porters in each carriage. Passengers wishing to alight at the heart of the ancient city of London, hard by the Bank of England begin searching around them for their briefcases of packages even as the train reaches it full speed of twenty five miles an hour, thundering along the narrow tunnel deep beneath the city streets, rocking from side to side as the wheels run from one section of steel rail to the next.

Underground Train Carriage

Suddenly, a few minutes before the train is due to reach the station, the driver slams on the brakes. The wheels squeal and scrape on the rails as they try to slow the lumbering behemoth. Inside the carriages, those who had been standing are hurled to the ground. Even those who had remained in their seats are shaken about by the swift deceleration, and gentlemen apologize profusely to ladies whose skirts they have inadvertently become entangled in.

The porter is confused and tries to calm his charges as the train shudders to a full halt. but he has no coherent explanation to offer. "Must be a red signal flag up on the line," is the best he can offer. "Maybe another train is stranded in the tunnel. Just be calm, ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure everything is under control."

From the front part of the train comes a loud crumping sound. A second later a wave of intense heat blasts through the rearmost carriage. An instant later the heat is followed by a searing blast of cold and a wind blows wildly from the rear of the train forward, sweeping dust and debris along the tunnel and around the train.

From the next forward carriage the riders in the last carriage can hear screaming and sobbing that raises suddenly in volume and then cuts off abruptly.