Tag Archives: subway

121. The withdrawal symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms were there for everyone to see. The shivering of her hands. The twitching of her eye. The subtle shoulder jerk that occurred every few seconds. The trembling other people in the subway train desperately tried not to notice but to be frank, it was hard to look away.

Keisha had gone cold turkey not by choice but by chance. She had stepped onto the almost empty carriage and taken a seat next to a pumped-up black guy. It didn’t take him long to start hitting on her. From everything the guy did and said an inconvenient truth transpired: she was an easy target. She pleaded with him to stop hitting on her. But he didn’t stop. He went on for several more minutes until he saw she couldn’t take it anymore and got off the carriage.

On any other day Keisha would now be taking her drug of choice. The one she had needed to survive for the past 20 years. This time she didn’t take it. She couldn’t take. Not anymore. She just stood up and walked to the end of the train, where she sat down on the floor, her back resting against the cold metal, as gasping commuters noticed her struggle but walked past her in a big curve.

The cold turkey didn’t last as long as she’d thought. Soon the withdrawal symptoms ended. They would not return. Keisha’s bruised and battered body, bleeding internally, kicked the habit. No more oxygen. A permanent farewell to the drug called life.

 

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Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

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97. Themba took the moletrain

 

Themba took the moletrain because he was too scared to teleport. Most of Cape Town was.

They had all seen the first public demonstration on Watchtube gone horribly wrong. Watched Miss Kruitvoet be turned from a nubile young lady into a gooey pool of malformed DNA in a matter of nanoseconds. The kinks had been mostly ironed out of teleportation machines since– and incidents were far and few between – but still most people preferred the moletrain.

At some level you had to wonder why. The trains had been state of the art in 2043 but now looked as though they could fall apart any time. A lot of them did as a matter of fact. These days travel by moletrain was 108.7 times as hazardous as teleportation. It was also 1,000 Rand cheaper.

So far Themba had dodged every possible bullet. No power cuts. No fires. No head-on collisions. But today his luck ran out. A bolt popped, a track swayed and the carriage was flipped to its side amid ominous fire sparks.

Themba grabbed a bar and pulled his body as close to it as he could. Corpses of fellow passengers bumped painfully into him but Themba didn’t let go. He just closed his eyes and prayed. And he promised himself that if he came out of this alive, he might give teleportation a try.

That was exactly the kind of reasoning The Beam-Up Company, patent holder of teleportation machines, was hoping for when they bought a 75 percent stake in the biggest moletrain operator in South-Africa as a silent shareholder, cutting the maintenance budget in half every year since.

 

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Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

Available at the Createspace Store, at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or any other Amazon store in your territory.  E-book is also available.

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