Did you ever fall asleep on the last subway or tram?
If you did, you know what happens. At the last station an attendant or in some cases the driver will wake you up and tell you to get out. Then you’re left to figure out how to get home on your own.
At times things can get a bit more unlucky, and people are missed.
In my city, those people will end up in one of the three large depots that the trams are returned to.
These are large maintenance halls with enough room for more than a hundred trams.
During the day these depots are buzzing with employees. There are tram drivers who arrive and start on their daily shift. There is the maintenance staff who do regular check-ups on the tram cars and take care of repairs. And then there’s the office staff who takes care of all sorts of logistics.
At night though, when the last trams for the day arrive, there is only one person left at the depot: me.
I am the lucky bastard who has to go through the trams that arrive at the depot in the evening and during the night.
My job consists of checking them for lost items, cleaning up any serious mess and report damages done to the interior.
Occasionally though, I also have to handle those poor people who are forgotten at the last station. It’s by no means a common thing.
As I said, it’s the driver’s job to send everyone out before the trams are returned to the depots. There are some though who are lazy and can’t be bothered to do the checkups, others are plain assholes.
My reaction to these occurrences is a mixture of pity and anger. Pity for the person who ends up at the depot and anger for the driver who didn’t do his damned job. I am especially pissed because I have to walk whoever ended up here to the end of the premise and send them off.
It’s only mildly annoying if it’s some guy who fell asleep after a long day at work.
The real shit fest starts if it’s a drunk or worse a bum.
I once found a guy in a tram who was so drunk, he couldn’t walk anymore. After trying to lead him out of the depot for half an hour, I gave up and put him to rest in one of the trams. I sent him off in the morning with one of the first lines leaving.
The thing about the bum was entirely different. He was the crazy type. The moment I tried to enter the tram, he woke up and threatened to attack me or stab me. For some time I tried to calm him down. Finally though, when he started a ruckus in the tram car itself, I was forced to call the cops. I ended up staying almost two hours longer than I should have that night.
The truth is, the tram depot can be quite creepy at night. Sure, the whole thing is ablaze with lights, but it doesn’t help. The place is absolutely gigantic, the size of many soccer fields.
Try to imagine yourself in a giant hall, consisting of nothing but a small office area and dozens of tracks, on which trams are parked one after another for hundreds of meters.
At night when I am there alone the whole place is in utter solitude. Even the smallest of sounds not coming from yourself can cause a feeling of dread.
“What if?” is a common thing on my mind. I don’t know what I am terrified of though.
In the end, it’s rare that anyone is trapped in the trams and there is no reason for anyone to break in. I mean you can’t steal a tram or a maintenance bay.
And of course, security cameras are surrounding the premise.
What I’m trying to say is that there is no reason to be anxious. None at all. I guess I just can’t help it at times. I blame my obsession with horror movies for this.
Now here’s the thing, on a typical weekday, there aren’t many trams running at night. From around midnight till five in the morning the stations are only served once every hour, if at all. So there’s not much going on at the depots.
On the weekend you’ve trams coming and going at all time during the night, and you’re almost never alone.
On weekdays though, things are different. The last tram of the day arrives at around one in the morning and that’s about it. I often have a short chat or smoke with the driver before he makes his way home. After that I am pretty much on my own, having to handle lights out and all that.
Last Tuesday was one of those nights. That day though I couldn’t help but feel unsettled. After the driver of the last tram had left, I was again all by myself. I don’t know why or where it came from, but I had this strange feeling that someone was watching me. It was the weirdest of sensations.
I looked around and let my gaze slide over all the trams, but of course, there was no one there. A bit apprehensive I entered the last tram and walked through it.
There was an empty beer bottle here, some McDonald’s packaging over there and someone had forgotten a handbag. Thankfully, there was nothing damaged or broken.
I threw away the trash and took the handbag to our small lost-and-found room.
The moment I returned I saw something. Down the line of trams, I saw a figure inside one of the cars. It looked almost as if someone was sitting inside.
It was a tram further down the line, which meant it must’ve arrived a couple hours ago, in the early evening. How could someone be still inside? Had I forgotten to check the tram? This made no sense.
As I made my way towards it, the figure didn’t move at all, almost as if it was frozen up.
“Must be asleep,” I told myself.
I cursed and started walking down the line of trams. I really didn’t want to deal with someone right now. I stepped past the locked doors of the dark tram cars, only for that crawling sense of dread to come back to me. For a moment I stopped as I felt goosebumps on the back of my neck. I jerked around and looked back at where I’d come from. Nothing.
I breathed a sigh of relief and was about to continue on my way when I saw that the figure ahead was gone.
“What in the…” I whispered to myself.
I hastened my pace and the moment I reached the tram I peered inside. There was no one there. I took out my keys, unlocked the door and entered it.
“Anyone in here? Hello?”
I walked through the thing from front to back but found nothing. I started to get a bit unnerved. I’d been strangely on edge all night, so had I imagined things? I’d seen it so clearly though.
In the end, I shook my head and told myself I was getting tired. I should finish things up for tonight and make my way home.
Once I was back at the front of the depot, I heard something again. At first, I told myself my mind must be playing tricks on me still. The more I listened though, the clearer I heard it.
It sounded like shuffling feet. Suddenly I felt very cold.
I told myself again to just finish things up and ignore whatever was going on here. Somehow though I couldn’t do that. I started to walk past the tracks and had a look down the corridors between the lines of trams. Where was it coming from?
I’d only walked past half of the tracks when I could make out something. It was a person. As I stopped, I saw a tiny, old lady. She was wearing a dress and holding a handbag that was swinging back and forth with each of her steps.
What was she doing here at a time like this? Was she the one I’d seen before? Did she leave the tram and made her way over here?
“Ma’am? Excuse me, is everything alright?” I called out to her.
She didn’t react at all. Instead, I could see that she continued to shuffle into my direction. One step at a time, almost dragging herself forward.
I took a few steps in her direction when I heard her speak.
“Oh my, can you help me out? Would you please come over here?”
I stopped right in my tracks. The voice sounded… wrong, almost like a garbled up recording.
“Would you please come over here?” the voice repeated.
It sounded exactly the same as before. The same weird garbled up vocals, the same drawn out words. I felt a shiver running down my spine, and my arms were covered in goosebumps. Something was wrong here.
As I stood there and looked on, she stared at me and did repeat it a third time. I am not sure if I even saw her mouth move at all.
Then, for a moment the whole depot seemed to turn darker as if all the lights above were dimmed out. There was a sort of lurking shadow behind the old lady.
It was a strange, twisted thing, as gigantic as the lady was small. I saw it move forward and stretch into my direction. It reminded me of a bird of prey. It looked almost as if it was reaching out towards me with ghastly dark wings and talons. I inched back a few steps, and the vision was gone again.
I stood there, shaking and sweaty. I shook my head in confusion. This wasn’t real. It was just in my mind. There couldn’t be something like this.
At that moment I saw something else that made me forget the strange vision from before. There was a sticky, dark liquid all below her and down the corridor. It was as if it was running down from her body. What the hell was that? Was she bleeding?
“Wait, hold on a moment, what is-”
But I broke up when she did repeat the sentence once more.
Without being able to think clearly, I ran back to the office area. What was the matter with her? Was she hurt or something? I picked up the emergency phone to dial for an ambulance or help when something else hit me.
Once I’ve finished the checkup of a tram, it is locked. It’s common procedure. Sure, with enough strength you can probably push the doors open and get out. They’re hydraulic after all. You’d need a whole lot of strength to do that though. Not even I’m able to do it, and I am no lightweight. So how would this old lady be able to get out on her own?
If she’d been in one of the trams and I’d missed her before, she’d still be locked in. If she came into the depot to get help, why was she in the back? There’s no back entrance. The only way in is via the front. I’d have seen her before!
This whole thing didn’t add up.
“Would you please come over here?” I heard her voice again.
It was right outside the office now. I froze up when I heard the shuffling feet and when the office door creaked.
She was repeating the same sentence again and again. With each time it was more distorted than before. There was something else resonating within it. It was almost as if a sinister laugh was underlying in it. Some sort of barely hidden anticipation.
Then the door was pushed open, and I saw it again. The lurking, shadowy, vulture-like shade. It forced itself through the office door into my direction, dimming out all the light in the room.
Before I could even think, my flight-response was triggered. I rushed towards the front door of the office area and got out of there.
I didn’t look back, I didn’t lock up or turn off the lights, nothing. I ran from the place for dear life.
Of course, my boss tore me a new one when I came to work the next day. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I look up? What if something happened?
I didn’t tell him what I’d seen. I mean who’d believe a story like that. Everything was normal, and the place was busy with maintenance staff and drivers as usual.
I finally asked him about the old lady and the trail of blood that I’d seen next to track six.
He told me there was nothing there. No liquid or anything. What was I even talking about?
When I asked him if he’d checked the security footage, he shook his head.
“Didn’t get the time to do that yet,” with that he got up and walked over to his laptop, “hold on.”
He clicked around a few times and then I saw him focus on the screen.
I stood there and watched him. I saw his face go blank and then after a while, all the color vanished from it.
“What is-” I started to ask, but before I could finish, he closed the laptop.
“There’s nothing at all,” he said, the fear audible in his voice.
After that, he told me to go home, have a few days off and come back next week.
I’d hoped that there was nothing and that I’d just imagined the whole thing. As I type this out though, I know that something was there that night.
And even though he said nothing, I know my boss saw it on the tapes as well.
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