‘Munich’ By Leah Newmannoi

The usual busy station was eerily desolate. No one was around, except the man two seats down shouting furiously into his phone in Russian. I felt sorry for the person on the other end. I shifted in my seat, uncomfortable as his argument made the air thick with undeniable tension, smothering me. The chair’s metal creaked, protesting the sudden movements after two hours of steady positioning, almost statue-like. The chair probably thought I had died in the time I had been sitting here.  His shadowed, sharp blue eyes snapped in my direction; I could feel them. Like a deer caught in headlights, I froze alarmed. This man had a threatening aura. He didn’t care about my presence clearly and thankfully, he carried on with his shouting match.

After living in this mostly peaceful city for over two years, the bare essentials of the language I’d picked up, with major struggle I must say, had only gotten me the odd swear word and the utterance ‘useless.’ Suddenly, the shouting stopped and the platform enveloped in silence. I glanced at the man who closed his eyes, most probably resting with his self-inflicted headache. In the darkness looming over the tracks, I decided to investigate this strange, obnoxiously loud man.  A person could only faintly make out anything about this man other than his business attire due to the rather large, almost glamourous spotlights above us, providing next to no light in this tunnel.

A dark blue, past navy, more midnight colour looming on black blazer, he wore the same midnight to black crisp, possibly starched, trousers and a bright white shirt that was surely reflective if it ever caught the light of day. Annoyingly, his tie was messily loosened. I guessed that was due to the stress of his earlier argument. It was the same midnight color, but its messy outlook caused a major contrast to this professional manner. His shoes were black mirrors, better than the one I used this morning to apply my mascara and gloss. 

Oh God. I definitely forgot to brush my hair in my hurry. But that’s better than having an absent mark in this imprisoned city.

Sometime later, the man woke from his ‘nap’, glaring in my direction. I was still staring, I guess. Curiosity had gotten the better of me, but as they say, curiosity killed Peter Stan. One last suspicious glare and I turned away, focusing on the same walls I do every day at this time. In all this time, the tunnel was still a mystery. Unfortunately, my curious mood forced me to look around, scrutinising in great detail each aspect of this unknown. 

My feet took me to the tracks. A four feet drop; no way to get out once fallen… or pushed. The thought sent cold shivers down my spine. ‘Crushed by a train.’ That tainted many autopsies, I wrote out. Maybe this is why. My head told me to believe it. It was better than the truth. A city surrounded by lies; people so gullible they would jump. That’s what they say anyway. Even the walls of this tunnel hiding the tracks were in perfect order, well perfect to hold sound in. Walls so thick and sturdy they could withstand the war racing towards us, metal concealing the truths of this place just as the tunnel it formed, the carriages approaching, the dead and the alive.

The tracks were only on one side. Many said this was for protection but the amount of souls roaming these tracks hint they are wrong. I don’t know what to think of this enclosed space I never had; maybe that’s why I never really thought about it. 

With the strange rectangular metal structure hiding all signs, the outside existed; tracks on one side and the chairs resting themselves under those offensive, rather large spotlights, emitting the smallest amounts of light compared to their size. It caused a nasty shadow to suffocate the place, sending a curious other wordly ambience to those inside or hesitating entrance. 

‘Вы не сошли с ума?’ the man uttered in Russian, a sentence repeated many times to me.

‘No, I’m not stupid.’ I shrug him off and join the lost roaming souls in a curious wander, wondering why many suffered the same fate.

‘Ah, a young German in these Russian territories.’ His accent was heavy compared to mine, a more soft hint at my German heritage. 

‘These used to be ours.’ My tone becomes harsh and the tracks become tense.

‘Ah ah ah, little one. You need to be careful or the coroner will be taking your notes sooner than expected.’ He clicked his tongue.

‘I am the coroner.’ I shrug him off and continue taking in my unfamiliar-familiar surroundings. The more I investigate as such, a sudden realization takes ahold of my once confident figure, forcing me to dishevel within myself. If my memory isn’t failing me, this is the day Peter’s curious mind forced him to wander a bit too close to the fire that is the power in this city. He got burnt.

I think back to the day when his body was wheeled into my morgue. His organs spilled from his lacerated stomach, his lungs and ribs became an unrecognizable mush, all bones were crushed; he looked as if his body had been crushed by multiple trains. This was one striking contrast to many other cases I found came in the closer examination. His skull, surprisingly untouched, had two rings or electrical burns on the left above his ear and on the right just by his temple. This struck me as suspicious and I investigated further into his personal and internet activity.

‘Your own world-renowned journalist ventures into the unknown to investigate the once German, now Russian controlled city of Munich and why all of a sudden this small city, once of joy and light, was stolen by the Russians to create the dark city that now resides…’

‘I can see that the citizens I question have reluctance to talk; they hide the truths wrapped up in the lies of this looming darkness commonly known as the ‘Amorals…’

‘If there is one pattern with the actions of the Amorals, it is their ability to take over and ruin all happiness where they tred…’

‘I can see what the “Amorals” are doing and I will take them down for now. I will let them sweat, till next time, Peter Stan.’

The man thought he could get away. He was foolish, just like those that tried before and after him. I will always remember that article: his last. Many wondered what he wanted to expose, including me but none of us ever asked, unless we wanted the same fate as Peter Stan. 

A train stumbled over to the platform just as an old man would, the tracks like his walking stick, pushing him further to its greatest struggle. No matter how modern this city was, the tracks that held the carriages would always suffer the same screeching fate that ricocheted off the thick and sturdy metal walls. In comparison to the darkened platform, the carriages were blinding to any accustomed eyes. Painfully, I flinched away. The piercing squeal the metal wheels wailed as it came to a halt was enough to pause any man or woman, momentarily deafening any to close.

Moments later, I hesitantly looked towards the usual, slightly softer rectangular carriages in the favored material of metal. A starking silver chromium, built to not only withstand the brutality of those within and outside, but to conceal the daily occurrences of ghastly horror in these carriages, tainted in red. 

The doors creaked open, gasping for the oil they only see in their dreams, hoping, praying even one day pity will be taken and their thirst would be quenched. My chucks gingerly took steps into the carriage and the door slammed shut immediately after, as always forgetting the earlier struggle. 

I took my usual seat, staying vigilant. You could never know who – or what – is lurking, even in solidarity in a city of unpredictable horrors. A city of loss. A city of secrets. The city many were forced to call home, never daring to protest against the ‘Amorals.’ Even faith was lost in this city; no power above would let his ‘children’ suffer and if he did, he was someone too psycotic to fathom. Always in fear and cowering from conflicts.

I wished to be strong. But wishes are for those sheltered, those not knowing true fear and they probably never will. I envy those. 

But what can you do?

Featured image by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

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