Contributor: Brian Armour

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`In the brevity, was there capacity for colour, detail, familiarity, understanding or warmth in the progress, the structure, the bones - the necessities of function that need remain?’ considered Dr Eric Siedbet walking down the empty underground platform. He surveyed the grime besmirched cavern-like walls against which his steps echoed.
Screaming, twisted metal heralded the contorted misshapen first carriage filling the tunnel entry propelled by derailed carriages behind. Freed of the restrictions of the tunnel, a carriage leapt, side onto the platform and jammed against the wall wiped it clean, of advertising, furniture, signage, some grime, some soot and Eric Siedbet.
On the opposite platform, Jason saw events unfolding and dived for cover inside a stairway as metal and glass exploded into the space. He covered his head while the deafening steel and concrete argument continued, until gravity with an eternal groan, replaced momentum. The reverberating cries of the injured wove their way through smoke and broken, upended carriages to fill his ears. Though the ground beneath him ceased shaking, he had not. Broken glass fell from his back as he stood, knees buckling. Across from the opening was the top of a carriage, roof torn open, squashed beneath another carriage broken in two and compressed into the ceiling of the underground station. Jason climbed onto the wreckage to aid the injured wondering what the man on the other platform meant. He was sure he heard his thoughts. Kicking away the remaining glass of a window, he wondered about that too.
Jason lowered himself down through the opening into the carriage. He placed a foot carefully alongside an inert body under the frame of a seat torn loose, stomach down on a sea of smashed glass. To his right a twisted avalanche of metal fittings, seats, bodies, newspaper, bags and personal possessions formed a wall of compressed confusion and irretrievable misery. He turned away, the moans and cries of survivors coming from his left.
He knelt down beside a man in a suit whose leg was bent back so the heel of his shoe was behind his ear. From under his contorted body spread a growing puddle of blood.
"Hey there, mate.” He put his hand on the man’s shoulder. The man grabbed it. Jason felt him trying to contain waves of indescribable pain. “It’ll be okay. Hang on. The medico’s will be here soon.”
Leaving the man he looked down the interior of the mangled carriage. Midst a tangle of seats, he saw a woman lying by the windows rolling her head back and forth in pain. The entire right side of her face appeared ripped off, but there was so much blood he could not be sure. He wrenched away a pile of debris to get to her.
“It’s okay, you’re alive. It’s over now. Help will be here soon.” Pulling off his shirt, he wadded it up and held it against the side of her face.
“Wha . . . ap . . . n?”

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Brian lives south of Sydney, Australia and is preparing another novel and a book of short stories for publication.
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