by Adam Casalino
October 2, 1965
Robert Asher was on hold. Easy listening music, meant to sooth the caller, was playing on the other end. The rumba sounded like it was coming through a crushed cigarette box. Asher was not one for rumba music, or dancing for that matter. He didn’t like waiting on the phone either. Leaning out of the phone booth, he looked up and down the train platform. He checked his watch. Almost out of time. The rumba music played on.
Finally a voice spoke through the phone.
“This is Mr. Hargrave’s office, may I asked who’s calling?”
“My name is Robert Asher,” he said. “I need to talk to Hargrave immediately.”
“What is this in regards to?” the woman asked.
“I’m working for him,” Asher said. “Is he around? It’s urgent.”
“Mr. Hargrave is in a meeting right now, can I take a message?”
“No, not really.”
A ball of fire bloomed out of the wall several yards away. The train station shook with the force of the explosion. Asher picked himself up, hung up the phone, and started walking. Panicked voices came from everywhere. Smoke rapidly filled the station. Asher covered his nose and mouth and searched for a way out. A crowd formed around him, the same idea on their minds.
People pushed each other to get to the exit doors. Grown men laid waste to anyone who got in their way. Nobody touched Asher. A sandy-haired man brushed passed him, knocking down a woman in from of him. Asher stopped to help her up.
“What’s the big idea, jerk!” she yelled at the man. Her eyes met Asher’s and she smiled apologetically. “Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about–”
The ground shuddered. There was a sound like girders being twisted into pretzels. Fire burst from the tracks behind them, tossing a train car into the air. It slid across the platform, plowing through pedestrians. Asher picked up the woman and ran for the doors. He didn’t stop to open them.
Pointing his shoulders forward, he jumped through the glass. He cleared the steps of the station and landed on the sidewalk. Carefully, he let go of the woman, setting her on her feet. They both looked back at what was left of the train station. Fire lapped at the mangled doors; bodies hung from the train car like Christmas lights.
“What the hell is going on?” the woman said.
“You don’t wanna know.”