“Arrived at Coldessi Boulevard,” the recorded woman announced.

The six passengers stepped off the train and onto the concrete platform. They walked up the painted white line then up a ramp, following the exit signs on the tile pillars and walls.

Around a bend, they came to a set of stainless-steel doors – the bank of elevators that would carry them up to street level. Rianne raced forward to press the elevators’ call button. Nothing happened. “Huh? Something’s wrong with the elevator.”

“Yeah. None of the lights are on,” Mia observed. Not around the call buttons, the up and down arrows, or the panels indicating which floor the elevator is currently on.

“Are they even working?” David wondered.

Cara pinched the bridge of her nose. “Yup. Our luck has run out.”

“How do we get out of here?” Sakari asked.

“Well, there’s one other way,” Bern admitted.

He and Cara led the others further down the passage to a narrow doorway marked “Emergency Exit.” Beyond it was a narrow metal staircase that spiraled up into the shadows.

Cara noticed the iron grate in front of it. Normally, it’d be neatly folded up while the station was open, but now it was shoved haphazardly aside. “Looks like someone else had the same idea,” she said to herself.

“We gotta climb that?” Mia asked.

“It looks awfully dark,” Rianne noted.

Cara sighed, stepped forward, and started climbing the stairs. “Let’s get moving.”

The others followed her lead. Their path was lit only by the stairwell’s intermittent emergency lights that glowed dimly blue.

“How many are there?” Sakari asked the group.

Bern said, “Don’t ask. Just climb.”

Ten minutes later, the group stumbled out of the subway station, panting. David leaned on Sakari, his arm around his companion’s shoulders. Mia carried Bern’s skateboard. Bern carried Rianne on his back.

Their eyes slowly adjusted to the creamy light washing over the empty boulevard. Fashionable brick-front shops, restaurants, and hotels stood dark, silent, and still along both sides of Old Town’s main thoroughfare.

Sakari asked, “So, which way to the park?”

David and Cara groaned as they sat down on the concrete sidewalk. Rianne let out a mournful cry of “No!”

“Just chill, alright?” Bern asked. He put his sister down before lying on the sidewalk himself.

Mia implored Sakari, “Please. Let us rest a bit. And catch our breath.”

Sakari reluctantly sat down beside David. Mia caught Bern’s eye and rolled the skateboard back to him. He thanked her with a lazy wave.

©2021 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.