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Authors: Danielle Vega

Survive the Night (13 page)

BOOK: Survive the Night
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“No!” I grab Aya's shoulders and shake. She doesn't move. Whatever thing crept inside her has gone, and now her eyes are vacant. I pull her from the water, surprised by how easy it is to move her. She feels light—too light.

Horrified, I look down at her torso.

Her legs haven't sunk below the water. I was wrong. I jerk away from her and stumble backward, feeling like I might be sick.

Her body ends just below her ribs and her stomach and legs and everything else is
. Broken bits of bone jut out from the bloody stump of her torso. Intestines float on the surface of the water, surrounded by a darkening pool of blood.


stone walls and still water. My friends call out but I can't make out what they're saying. Static fills my head, blocking my brain with a steady stream of white noise. This can't be happening. It's another hallucination.

But Aya stares up at me, her eyes clouded and bloodshot and
. Her blue-tinted skin is close enough to touch.

The phone in my hand flickers off, leaving me in the dark with Aya's ruined body. Fear races over my skin.

“Casey?” Woody shouts. My friends splash toward me. I think, dimly, that I should move. Run, maybe. Or at least turn Woody's phone on so I can see if Aya's body has floated away.

But I can't move. A tangle of emotions hits me all at once. I want to grab Aya by the shoulders and shake her until she wakes up. But then I think of the wild, hateful thing I saw behind her eyes, and I feel the stinging cut she left on my cheek. It makes me want to put as much distance between myself and her body as possible.

I stumble backward, grabbing for the wall to keep myself from slipping. I feel claustrophobic, like the tunnels are shrinking around me. There's nowhere to run. We're trapped down here, trapped with this thing that's killing us off one by one. I see the ragged stump of Aya's body, burned on the insides of my eyelids.

Bright red blood. Skin shredded like paper. Intestines floating on the murky water. She'd been ripped in half. Something
tore her body in half

No person could've done that.

I squeeze my eyes shut, but she's waiting behind my closed lids. I see those icy blue pupils and flinch, remembering how she scratched me. Aya wouldn't have done that. It was like something else was controlling her. Like she was possessed.

Sam grabs my shoulders and spins me around. He finds my hand and tugs the phone from my fingers. A bright light shines in my face. I cringe backward, blinking.

“Casey?” Sam shakes me. I hear the terror in his voice. “Casey, what was it? What did you see?”

I try to speak, but I can't think of what to say. I think of the neon blue eyeliner winging away from Aya's brown eyes, and a sob bubbles up from my throat. Something ripped her body apart, and we can't outrun it or hide from it. Aya's final words echo through my head:
We're gonna die

“We're gonna die,” I whisper, out loud. I watch Sam's eyes widen, mirroring the horror I feel.

“We're gonna die!” I scream. My whole body trembles. Legs. Arms. Everything. Sam's fingers tighten around my shoulders, but I can't stop screaming. I need to warn them. I need to make them understand. “We're gonna die! We're gonna

“There's something over there,” Shana says. Sam tosses Woody the phone, and he aims the light over algae-covered bricks and black water. Sam puts a hand on my shoulder and pulls me to his chest. I bite back a scream and breathe deep. He cups the back of my head with one hand, smoothing down my hair. My hysteria cools to a low, flickering panic. I sink into him, watching Woody and Shana over his shoulder.

I know they've found Aya's body when Woody's back goes rigid. He levels his light at something bobbing in the water and releases a strangled, desperate gasp.

“Holy shit,” he hisses. He jerks the light away, but not before illuminating Aya's mutilated corpse. A fresh sob tears through me. Sam tightens his grip on my shoulders to keep me from collapsing.

“Oh, God.” Sam pulls me to his chest, hugging me so tightly that it feels like my ribs might splinter. “Oh, God,” he says again, his voice shaking. He buries his face in my shoulder. I feel his ragged breath against my neck.

Shana tries to move around Woody. He twists, blocking Aya's body from her view.

“Don't,” he warns, his voice barely a whisper. “You don't want to see her.”

The muscles in Shana's back tighten. “Get out of my way, Woody,” she says, her voice cold. Woody swallows, then moves aside.

Shana freezes. She's facing away from me, so I don't see her expression, but it's like the life drains from her body. Her knees buckle and her shoulders drop. She falls to her knees, grimy water sloshing around her hips.

“Shana!” Woody grabs her by the arms and drags her back to her feet.

“Damn it!” Shana screams. She beats at his chest with her fists, but Woody doesn't let go. “Damn it, Aya. What did you do?”

“It wasn't her fault,” I say, but my voice is quiet. Shana's face crumples, and she sinks into Woody's arms.

“What could have done this?” she whispers, but Woody just shakes his head.

“I don't know,” he says. The crescent-shaped claw flashes into my head, its serrated edge crusted with blood.

I jerk away from Sam. “We have to go.”

Sam's hand freezes on the back of my head. “What?”

“We have to run.” My voice sounds ragged. I imagine that giant claw ripping into my stomach, shredding my skin. “We have to go.
.” I splash across the tunnel. My heart thuds in my chest. I think of the ripples spreading over the surface of the water, the rats suddenly racing into the darkness.

A human being couldn't have done that to Aya's body. It was vicious.


Horror grips my chest. “Something's here,” I yell. “

I grab Shana's hand and drag her down the tunnel with me. She stumbles, and I yank on her arm, pulling her up again. Sam and Woody tear after us. Their panting breath echoes off the walls, and water splashes around our legs.

The water rises higher, sloshing up past my knees, and then my thighs. I force my legs forward. Blood pounds at my temples.

The light from Woody's cell phone bounces over the walls, illuminating graffiti and mold. But this isn't normal graffiti. There are no words scrawled across the bricks, no messages or gang signs.

There are just symbols. Strange, alien symbols. I stare up at them, and my horror sharpens. Pain slices through my leg. One of my shoes slips from my feet. I hesitate.

Shana tightens her fingers around my hand. “Hurry!” she hisses. I kick off the other shoe and lurch forward, my knee throbbing. Water sprays my chest and neck and seeps through my shirt.

The tunnel veers to the left. Woody charges ahead of us—then skids to a stop. He spins around, swearing. Water sloshes at his hips.

“What was that?” he hisses.

“Don't stop!” Shana drops my hand and pushes the hair back from her forehead. I collapse against the wall next to her, struggling to catch my breath. Sam doubles over, panting.

“We have to keep going,” I say.

Woody clutches his cell phone in front of him. The light makes eerie shadows across his pale skin and wide eyes. His wet T-shirt clings to his chest.

“I heard something.” He raises a trembling finger and points down the tunnel. “Over there.”

We all turn. A perfect sea of oily black stretches behind us. Woody aims the light down the tunnel. Our shadows loom long over the dark water. The sound of our ragged breathing bounces off the walls.

“There's nothing there,” Shana says.

The light in Woody's hand flickers off. Darkness rushes in around us. Shana inhales sharply, and Sam swears under his breath.

“Shit!” Woody shouts. “My phone! Something grabbed my phone! Did you fucking see that?”

“What are you talking about?” Shana backs into me, groping for my hand.

“Something grabbed my fucking phone,” he insists. “It reached into my hand and took it.”

“There's no one here,” Sam says. But he doesn't sound so sure.

Something flickers under the water. I frown, taking a step closer. Seconds creep past, and I feel my friends growing nervous around me. Shana clears her throat. Woody swears.

“Quiet,” I murmur. I hold my breath, waiting.

“Casey . . .” Sam starts. “Maybe we should . . .”

Woody's phone screen flashes back on, just for a second, when it hits the bottom of the tunnel. It illuminates something round and thick. I squint. The surface is mottled and gray. It looks like an old tire.

The tire twitches, then unfurls. Veins ripple along its rubbery flesh. Curled spikes line the gray scales, each as long as a kitchen knife.

I stumble backward, my heart beating in my ears. It's a

The tentacle moves beneath the water like an eel, and I realize I can't see where it's coming from or where it ends.

The phone blinks off again, leaving us in darkness.


the first thing I touch. It's Sam's arm. He stiffens below my fingers. “Run! Run! Run!” I scream.

My friends don't have to be told twice—we all saw that thing unfurl below the water. There's no time to get our bearings or argue about which direction to go. We run deeper into the tunnels, trying to get as far from the tentacle as possible.

Woody stumbles into my back, and I hear Shana panting. Sam twists his arm around so he can grab my hand. He's faster than me. He pulls ahead, but he doesn't let go of my fingers.

There's movement below the water, and something slithers past my leg. I release a desperate shriek and run faster. Cold splashes around my knees, slowing me down. My legs used to be lean and muscular, but it's been too long since I played soccer. I grit my teeth and force my legs through the water.

Pain shoots up my bad knee. I breathe through it, trying to ignore the nausea that fills my stomach every time I put pressure on my leg. I will my body to move faster.
. I'm stronger than this, I tell myself. I used to run
without stopping. Now I'm out of breath after minutes, and my heart feels like it's trying to hammer through my chest.

This isn't just my injury. This is the drugs. I feel how they've changed my body, made me slow and weak, and I hate myself. I feel the oxy in my pocket and the shame makes me run faster. Every time my knee burns with pain, it's a reminder that I deserve this. I did this to myself.

I hear my friends breathing in the darkness around me. Water sloshes against the tunnel walls, and the sound echoes behind us. We're slowing down. I want to shout at them to move faster—we can't stop now—but my own breathing's too heavy. I can't even speak.

Something brushes against my ankle underwater.

I scream, my voice shrill and horrified. Something rustles in the darkness.

“Casey!” Sam hisses. He fumbles for my hand, his palm slick with sweat.

.” I push Sam and he stumbles a few feet, water splashing around his waist. I can't stop picturing that tentacle twisting below us. I imagine it winding around our ankles, pulling us under the surface. “We
to keep moving!”

Sam hesitates. “We need a plan, Case. We don't even know where we're running.”

“He's right. We're going to get lost if we keep going like this,” Woody says, panting. His long blond hair lies flat against his head, and his shoulders are rigid. “I think we left it back there, anyway.”

“There could be more than one,” Shana says. She's trembling so badly that her voice quivers. “And we don't know how big it is. That tentacle . . .”

Shana swallows, not bothering to finish her sentence. “It could be anywhere,” she says, instead.

“What the hell
it?” Woody swears, and kicks the water, sending a spray across the tunnel. It hits my cheek, making me flinch. “Where did it come from?”

No one answers. No one knows what it is.

“There's something else,” I say. I touch my fingers to the scratch Aya left on my cheek, remembering the thing I saw behind her eyes before she died. Lawrence's eyes had looked like that when I stumbled into him in the tunnel. And then, seconds later, I found Julie's body.

“I think it can do things,” I say. I blink, and my eyes start to adjust to the darkness. I can just make out the lines of the subway walls, and the shadowy shapes of Shana and Woody. “I think—”

Something moves in the darkness above them. My breathing sounds raspy in the tunnel. Hollow. It could be my imagination, I tell myself. The shadows playing tricks on me. But the shape looks fluid and muscular, like an elephant's trunk, or a snake dropping from a tree.

,” I hiss. I grab Sam's arm and tug right before something crashes into the water where he was standing.

Shana screams. We all tumble into one another, half swimming, half running through the tunnel. The water sloshes up past my waist now. The walls curve to the side and we follow their path around and down another passageway. I don't know how fast that thing can move, but I tell myself that it's slow, that we're leaving it behind.

Still, Shana's words echo through my head.
There could be more than one. And we don't know how big it is . . .

The air down this tunnel feels stagnant, somehow. Stuffier than before. I grope through the space before me, and my fingers brush against cold, moldy bricks.

“No,” I say, sliding my hands over the wall. My heartbeat quickens, and I take a deep breath, trying not to panic. Sam, Shana, and Woody crowd around me, searching the wall for an opening.

There isn't one. We've reached a dead end.

“That thing led us here,” Shana says. Her voice quivers. “It was a

I take a step back, wrapping my arms around my chest. The shadows keep transforming into giant, curling tentacles. Everything that brushes against my arm or leg is the monster reaching out to grab me.

I rub my eyes with my palms, trying to shake the nerves away. It isn't here yet. It
be here. I blink into the darkness. My eyes blur as I try to make sense of the shadows. I notice a darker patch of black just a few feet above our heads.

I touch Sam's shoulder. “There,” I say, pointing to the wall. “Do you see it?”

He moves his hand, fumbling along the wall above us. “There's something here!” he shouts. “It feels like a window or a ledge.”

Shana releases a sharp breath.

“Thank God,” she says.

Woody splashes over to the wall next to Sam. “I feel it, too,” he says. Water sloshes around his waist as he rises up on his tiptoes. “There's a concrete ledge just above our heads. It's narrow, though. Maybe a foot deep.”

“What's on the other side?” I ask. Woody shakes his head. The movement is barely a flicker in the darkness.

“We'll have to climb up to see,” he says.

“I'll go first,” Sam says. He crouches down and releases a grunt as he leaps out of the water. His hand slaps against damp concrete. Woody takes his leg and pushes, helping him scramble onto the ledge. I see the shadow of his body straighten above us.

“There's something over here,” Sam says. “It looks like another subway station.”

“Is there a way out?” I ask.

“Can't tell,” Sam says. “Woody, you help the girls climb up, and I'll pull them over.”

Woody blows air through his teeth. “Got it.” He turns to Shana. “Come on. You're up.”

Shana shuffles forward, and Woody helps her up to the wall. Sam grabs her arms and pulls her onto the ledge, groaning. She scrambles up next to him, then peers over the other side.

“Here goes nothing,” she mutters, and jumps. I hear a splash.

“It's deeper over here!” Shana shouts, her voice muffled by the wall. “Hurry!”

“Your turn,” Woody says to me. I wade over to him and he grabs me around the waist.

“Who's going to help you over?” I ask before he can lift me.

“You're underestimating my incredible manliness,” he says. Then he releases a very manly grunt and lifts me out of the water. I brace my bare feet against the wall to steady myself, and Sam's hands clamp around my wrists. He pulls me onto the ledge next to him.

“You okay?” he asks. I nod and pull myself up.

“I'm good.” I leap to the other side, bracing myself for the impact. Water splashes over me. I sink like a rock and push myself off the floor, bobbing back to the surface. Shana's right—it's much deeper on this side. With my head above the water, I have to stretch my legs out all the way to reach the floor. And even then, only my toes skim the thick metal train tracks.

I wipe the water from my eyes and try to examine the space. It's too dark to see much, but the ceiling arches above us, and chipped paint covers the walls. I can just make out a few faded signs on the walls, but it's too dark to read what they say. Once upon a time, this must've been an actual subway station. A platform rises out of the water like an island in the middle of the ocean. I see a staircase twisting up into the darkness. Hope rises inside me.

“It's abandoned, I think,” Shana says. Her head pokes out of the water next to me, her pink hair plastered to her skull. “A ghost station.”

“You think there's a way out?” I ask. She shrugs, her shoulders rising and falling below the surface of the water. All I hear is her ragged, tired breathing.

“Casey,” she says. “I'm—”

Someone splashes into the water next to us, interrupting her. A hand grazes my leg, and I scream, leaping to the side. Woody's head pops through the surface.

“Sam's coming,” he says, spitting a stream of water through his teeth.

I step up to the wall and press my hand against the bricks. I turn my face toward the opening, waiting for Sam. I feel the slightest brush against my pinkie. I freeze.

Fear makes my body numb. I squint into the darkness, trying to separate the shapes from the shadows. But everything is black.

“It can't be here,” I whisper to myself. We climbed a wall. We're in a separate station now. It isn't possible. But I move my hand over the wall, just to be sure.

I feel bricks and mold and dirt. The wall is slimy beneath my fingertips, but the slime doesn't bother me anymore. My breathing returns to normal.

Then my fingers brush against something cool and slick. Every nerve in my body flares.

“No,” I whisper, groping at the wall. It feels like a fire hose. I pray that it's not what I think it is, that I'm being paranoid. But then it flinches, and something sharp scrapes against my palm. A claw.

I recoil in horror. Sam jumps from the ledge, and a shallow wave crashes into me. He surfaces, his breathing ragged.

He glances at the opening and shudders. “I saw something.”

“There's a tentacle,” I say, pointing to the wall. Something heavy and wet slaps against the bricks, cutting me off. I can't even feel the cold water sloshing around my chest.

“The tunnels are infested.” Shana gasps. “We have to get out of the water.”

I force myself to move, and we all swim toward the platform. Sam reaches it first and lifts himself out of the water in one easy motion. I lag behind. A dull ache throbs beneath my kneecap, dragging me down.

A sound like a suction cup unsticking echoes from the wall behind me. Claws click against the bricks. My terror hardens into adrenaline. I grit my teeth, pushing through the pain.

Sam turns, grabbing the nearest arm he can reach—Shana's. He pulls her out of the water, and suddenly she's gasping on the platform next to him.

A splash bounces off the walls. I whip around, peering into the darkness. My breath comes in ragged, terrified gasps.

“Come on,” Sam shouts, motioning for me and Woody. We're still a few feet away from the platform.

“Hurry,” Woody says. He's ahead of me, but he stops to let me catch up. I try to push myself, but my knee throbs, and the water pushes against me.

I lurch toward the platform, gasping. I see something flicker out of the corner of my eye, and I whirl around. The water behind me ripples. Then goes still.

“Casey,” Woody yells. “Come on.”

“Right.” I turn back around and reach for Sam, but my hand slips out of his. I fall backward, crashing into Woody. Water splashes against the far wall.

“Shit,” I mutter. I'm shaking so badly I can hardly stand. Woody pushes me upright again.

“Concentrate,” he says, his voice steady. “Don't be scared.”

I breathe deep and reach for Sam again. This time I get a good, solid grip on his hand. He pulls, but I'm not as tiny as Shana is, and he's not strong enough to deadlift me out of the water. I try to find a foothold on the platform, but my bare feet slip off the side.

I hear another splash in the water—closer this time. I swear under my breath and squeeze Sam's hand. His fingers are wet and his eyes widen as I start to slip away.

“Don't let go,” he says, tightening his grip. I hear something in the water, and my hands start to tremble.

“Come on, Case,” Woody says from behind me. He grabs my leg and pushes me onto the platform.

For a long moment I lie there, gasping for breath. I still feel the greasy water all around me, clinging to my skin like a living thing. Sam grabs for Woody, but he's not strong enough to pull him out of the water on his own, and Woody doesn't have Sam's upper-body strength. He can't pull himself out, either.

“Shit,” Woody groans. The muscles in his arms tighten as he pulls. I push myself to my knees and crawl back to the edge. I'm reaching for Woody's arm when I see it.

The water behind him swells, then forms a crease. I stiffen. Something's there.

I push myself to my feet and grab Woody's arm.

“Hurry,” I say. Woody's arm is wet and hard to keep hold of. The ripple in the water moves closer. I see something white flicker just below the surface. Next to me, Sam flinches.

“Casey,” he murmurs.

“I see it,” I hiss back. The blood drains from Woody's face.

“What?” he asks, his voice shaking. “What do you see?”

“It's nothing.” I readjust my grip and repeat what Woody said to me just seconds ago. “Concentrate . . .”

Woody opens his mouth. “I—”

A tentacle whips out of the water and pierces Woody's back. I hear a heavy, wet sound. Like raw meat hitting a wall. Woody groans, and his mouth forms a perfect circle.

“No!” I scream. Blood oozes over Woody's teeth. In the darkness, it looks black. He tries to exhale, and specks of blood fly at my face and cheeks. It feels warm and tacky on my skin.

I cringe but hold tight to Woody's arm. His hand goes slack in mine. A crunching sound echoes around us. Woody's body starts to quiver. Blood darkens the front of his T-shirt and spreads across his torso.

BOOK: Survive the Night
7.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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