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"Momma, momma!" the boy cried, his voice wailing, "Momma!!!"

I handed the boy to an older man and pulled myself over the seat, kneeling beside the woman. She was bleeding... a lot. "It's gonna be okay," I told her gently, looking her over. I took her hand and laid my fingers on her pulse point. She was definitely weakening.

"Is he okay?" she asked, her voice in a whisper.

"He's okay," I answered, nodding, "I saved him... Now I gotta save you, too." I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and looked at it. No reception. I stood up, looking to the other people. "Do ANY of you have reception here right now?" I asked frantically. There was a shuffle as they looked at their phones and one by one mumbled the resulting "no". I turned to the woman. "What's your name?"


"I'm gonna move you, Gloria," I told her. "I'm gonna be careful, but you tell me if anything hurts, okay?" Gloria nodded.

"Then what?" came an agitated voice, "We’re stuck here, kid."

"I gotta get her out of here," I replied, looking about the train car, "There's no time to waste."

The passengers looked at one another frantically. "Where? How?" they all questioned nervously.

I looked at the side of the car that was now acting as the ceiling. The doors had been opened, though I don't know why considering the platform had ended about three train cars back. I pointed to the door. "Can someone give us a hand up through that? I can carry Gloria to the platform and the ERs can start helping her while the rest of the emergency team comes back to get you guys out of here," I suggested.

"We'll all die before you return!" cried a hysterical woman.

I looked at her numbers. She had quite a few years left. "No one here's gonna die," I answered, "Nobody's even close to it, other than Gloria here," I answered.

My voice must've carried enough authority that nobody dared to question me. The woman calmed and other people all quieted. "I'll help you up," volunteered a guy who was probably in his mid-to-late thirties.

"It's going to be okay," I told Gloria, "I'm going to get you out of here."

"Thank you," she whispered, "Thank you."

I hoisted her up gently and held her in my arms as balanced myself standing on the side of the seats. The guy who'd offered to help formed a ten finger step and strained with all his strength to raise me and Gloria both up towards the doors. I laid Gloria down on the outside of the train car and struggled to pull myself up beside her. "Thanks," I called down to the guy. He nodded and waved. I turned to Gloria, "We're gonna get out of here now..." I told her.. then I noticed she was crying, really hard, and shaking. "What's the matter?" I asked, concerned. I kneeled beside her and looked into her eyes.

"I'm cold," she told me, her teeth chattering, "I'm so cold..."

I looked around the tunnel. It was really freezing cold in there. I, too, was cold, but instead of being selfish I pulled my sweatshirt off over my head and wrapped it around Gloria like a makeshift blanket. When I lifted her up into my arms, I hugged her closer and gently rubbed her skin, trying to warm her better. Carefully, I inched towards the direction of the platform, watching every step I took to make sure I didn't slide off the side of the train. The metal was shining, reflecting the underground lights, and slippery. Only the hind two cars had been tipped over, then there were three still upright before the wreckage that was the site of impact that'd destroyed completely the first three cars. That whole end of the tunnel was hazy with smoke that was pouring out of the wreck. I calculated my route, deciding that if I walked carefully on top of the two tipped cars, then got down and walked through the two upright ones, I could probably step onto the platform from the furthest upright car.

But could I do it in time?


I could faintly hear sirens blaring and people talking in rushed voices, The excitement and panic of an emergency sounded like a dull roaring hum at the end of the tunnel. I carefully carried Gloria along, ducking from the overhead lamps, which were swinging right at my head it seemed. "Are we... almost... there?" she asked in a weakened voice.

"Yes, almost," I lied, even though in reality I had no clue.

We reached the end of the tipped cars and I paused, trying to figure out what to do next. I set her down and examined the edge. "If I put you right on the edge and climbed down," I asked her, "Do you think you could push yourself off, as long as I catch you?" She looked frightened and shook her head. "Could you hold onto me while I climb down there then?" I suggested.

She closed her eyes, gathering strength. "I could try," she whispered at last, and that was the most I could ask of her.

I turned and she wrapped her arms around my neck tightly, holding onto her own elbows for support. I leaned down and slipped my foot over the ledge, and slowly lowered myself over the side. She hissed in my ear in pain and I winced as I dangled over the side, my arms stretched from holding the weight of us both, and tried to guess how long of a drop I had to make until my feet hit the metal of the bridge between the two cars. It couldn't be too far. I dropped, and my ankle twisted sharply on the rail. "Fuck," I called as the pain shot up my shin and into my thigh. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I had to keep going, regardless, I told myself, even though what I really wanted to do was curl up and begin crying right there on the subway rails. My eyes filled with tears as I stood and began walking, my arms wrapping around my back to hug Gloria to me. I shuffled and limped as I walked, taking sharp inhales from the pain each time the ball of my left foot met with the floor of the train car.

The car was empty, and my steps echoed about the room as I walked. It was dark, too, only the faint lights from the tunnel illuminated the car. Everything else was pitch dark. Food was left where it had been being eaten, and personal belongings - bags and brief cases - were left abandoned by their owners on the seats. It was like something out of a weird sci-fi movie, like I Am Legend or something. I was the last human being in the train.

When I reached the end of the second car, I could see the platform faintly through a screen of smoke, running even with the furthest door of the third upright car. I breathed a sigh of relief, "We're almost there," I told Gloria, "Almost there..."

I rushed to the door of the third cab to find that it'd been an illusion that the doors were even with the platform. It was actually a good ten feet off, and the next car was smoking, crumpled like a paper model, and far too twisted to attempt walking through. I stood at the door, and looked at the platform, my ankle throbbing dully. I cleared my throat, "Hello?!" I called, "Hello! Somebody! Please!!" I looked in a window reflection for Gloria's number.


"Somebody!!" I yelled again with vigor, seeing time was running out. They'd need time to actually fix whatever was wrong too. Just getting her to the paramedics before her time was out wasn't enough. But nobody was responding. There were fire hoses spraying the engines, trying to drown the smoke and people shouting and talking and panic going on behind them. I cupped my mouth with my hands, "Help us!!!" I yelled. But still no response of any kind came. I looked down at the tracks below me, a couple feet under the train's door, and I slowly lowered myself down until I was sitting, then slid out of the train car and onto the rail, delicately walking along, trying not to scrape my hand on the wall or on the train. If the train moved, Gloria and I would both be flattened.

I inched along like that until we reached the platform, where I called for help again. "Somebody!"

A fireman in a blue t-shirt and the rubber pants they wear noticed me. "What the hell?" he mumbled, coming closer, "We have more survivors," he shouted, reaching for Gloria. When he pulled her up from my back, I hoisted myself up onto the platform, breathing heavily. Paramedics arrived to Gloria, pushing me aside.

"Where's my son, my son," she sobbed.

"He's coming," I told her, "In just a minute we'll get him out, too. Don't worry." I looked at her numbers. "You're gonna be okay... we made it."

The fireman came to my side, "Are there any others?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied, "About fifteen others, including a ten year old boy... her son. They're in the last car of the train," I told him how I'd managed to get out, and the condition of the other cars I'd traveled through. Then I paused. "Did... did everyone else... make it out okay?"

"As far as we can tell," he answered, "There's over one thousand people who escaped from this train wreck, all up in the street." He paused a moment, studying me.

"A thousand?" I asked, my eyes widening.

"More like 1,500 is our estimate right now," he replied. Then, "Hey... wait a minute... aren't you..." He scratched his chin, "That one kid from the Backstreet Boys?"

I nodded, "Yeah... Nick Carter."

He pointed, "There's another one over there. He was looking for you, panicking pretty bad.. We put him in the ticket booth so he wouldn't get mobbed."

"Thanks," I hurried away as the fireman gathered his troops to go in after the other people in the rear cab, and went to collect Brian. As I was walking I caught a glimpse of my time over my head for the first time since I'd started this rescue, nearly a half an hour before...


I'd gained quite a bit of time, actually.