Sunday, March 10, 2013


You've heard us talk about the 'tunnels,' a realm far beneath the deepest subway lines. The thing is, they're really there... and they have been for one hundred years.  No one knew how big this 'car' thing would be. Maybe rich gentlemen would have them. They always buy such indulgences. But what business did the rougher classes have with such things? They can't even speak correctly. How are they to be expected to operate such intricate machinery? Look how they treat their horse-flesh...(Do they still keep horse-flesh?)

Philadelphia has many such places, originally intended for trains, yet now used for other things, like hiding dead bodies, or housing shambling tribes of poor, homeless demented. Imagine being born into the darkness, as some of them  are. Scurrying through passageways meant for trains. They live on mushrooms, oozing up through wet dirt and layers of pigeon droppings. Some have become quite adept at rat catching. I love to hear them squeal. 

Now they come in two castes, the tunnel dwellers, the mole people, I mean. And the demarcation is very simple. There are the 'cleans' and the 'dirties.' 
The 'cleans' congregate near old, never used restrooms, collecting water from leaky, rusty pipes. Their mushrooms come from carefully tended gardens. And the leaky pipes furnish enough rusty fluid for washing and laundry, giving both skin and fabric a certain orangy glow. An elite, comprised of the more presentable specimens, squeeze up toward the surface, for begging, procuring certain supplies and light pick-pocketing. 

Their nails aren't as long as the dirties, nor are their eyes as large, since they do see sunlight on occasion. Aura and Sylvia, Tomas' former sex friends were definitely of the cleaner sort, though they do enjoy a char-grilled, rat-on-a-stick from time to time.

I tell you this because the ghoul hunts down there. Not always, but tonight he does, picking off young ones of the filthier sort. He produces a certain, forlorn, lingering whistle. It pierces the darkness and the children hear it. Clever ones pull back. But the idiots among them move in closer, the better to explore. And he devours them. Do they scream? Not much, 'cause he cracks open the voice box right away.

Imagine being a child. You hear a ghostly trill and  don't want to approach, but you do. Childish voices implore you to reconsider. But you know better, so you inch forward along the rusted remains of virgin subway tracks. Finally your friends depart, leaving you all alone in the velvety, inky darkness.

Then a finger, long, cold and thin, reaches out to touch your neck with a scabby, waxy claw. To late to run back to the never-used platform. You're in the 'narrows' now. And the ghostly tube swallows you, as sure as a giant's esophagus. But first you feel the teeth. And then you feel the pain, as the expert torturer quickly strips the flesh from off your trembling bones. 

Annie was there. She 'saw' it. The little vampirina often takes risks.

But the ghoul felt her presence too...

And then she heard the laughter.... thick and low and  foul...

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