Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ANNIE CONFRONTS A HELLISH ENEMY DEEP WITHIN THE CONCOURSE AFTER DARK

There's a maze-like warren of shops beneath the surface of Center City Philadelphia. I believe Kevin Bacon's father helped create it. The venerable Sir Edmund was our City Planner for many years. It facilitates lunch hour jaunts on rainy days, or sweltering summer broilers. A plethora of jumped up fast food vendors hawks savory, but greasy, wares to  ambitious young strivers and their not quite so hopeful stenographers (is that term still in vogue?). Umbrella and breath mint kiosks do very well too, I am told.


But the five thirty exodus brings mystery to this labyrinth. Metal gratings rattle down to bite into the floor. Lights blink out. The people leave and shadows come to play. Though all is not quiet. And eyes still glitter deep within the gloom. Some belong to rodents and some to vermin far more sinister than that.


Annie knows these midnight passageways. The homeless know them too. Not the breed found down below forgotten subway tunnels. This tribe is far more confrontational. And shattered glass is the weapon of choice. An army of janitorial super heroes swarms in before dawn to wash away the blood. All manner of flotsam and jetsam collide in this place. The enemy knows it too. It's where he hones his skill. It's where the dogs are trained. It's Annie's favorite playground. 


Imagine you're a drunken, street pirate stumbling down a long,narrow, white tiled 'worm hole'. Tiny, caged bulbs shed a weak gray wash over the sour surroundings. Not every passage has shops. Some are merely ant trails, meant to facilitate the comings and goings of entry level ants. And they echo. Oh, how they echo. Each footfall resonates with a hoof-like beat, as fear drips down through the cracks.


Sometimes Annie flies here. She floats along with a demon's grace, perhaps three or four feet above the floor. Her body tilts forward. Her eyes stare out and she grins..... how she grins....... A figurehead straight from hell. Many an unwary soul fall victim to that grin. They stop. They freeze. They turn. They run. But she gets them. She gets them every time. And how odd that her little body can drain an adult of so much blood. But what did you expect? This is The Vampire Wonderland. 


Though in this instance you are not a drunken street pirate. This time you're the enemy. And this time you have dogs.


He sees her, as she rounds the corner, a tiny figure, hovering unnaturally perhaps three hundred feet up ahead. Two of the beasts (large mastiffs) begin to growl, but he gestures and they stop. Then the enemy bows. He smiles. But the six or seven year old night thing never stops. She draws closer and closer and closer...... until the hounds begin to cry.....


Ah.... Philadelphia after dark..... what stories the cobbles tell.....


Come join us next time and listen......


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