Before reading this part you can catch up on part one here: https://ashleymanning.com/2022/12/23/magic-in-london-whistling/
Chuck stared at the woman who was at the bottom of the stairs, not really sure how to respond to her last question. He thought the best thing to do would be to leave and just go back to the coach station, but there was something nagging him inside, telling him that he shouldn’t leave the child alone with her.
“So are you just going to stand there?” she said.
Chuck shifted, and a chill in the air hit his face.
“Are you his mother?” he asked.
“What? No, I’m his teacher.”
“It’s a bit late to be teaching someone isn’t it?”
“Very funny. Are you one of us?”
“One of what?”
“How can you see me?” she said and started walking up the stairs towards him. “You shouldn’t be able to see me at all. There’s practically no energy coming off you, so it’s not like you’re one of us. You’re just a normie aren’t you?”
She walked around him, going up and down the stairs on either side of him. He moved his head around to keep her in his eye line the best he could. Inside the building the security people were watching him, mocking him as if he were a drunkard who had stumbled up the steps and didn’t know what to do to get back down.
“Look, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’ve got a coach to catch. So I’m just going to leave and get on it. I don’t want any trouble.”
“What trouble am I giving you?” she said stopping in front of him two steps below him. “I’m just curious as to who you are?”
“I’m nobody. Just let me leave.”
“No one is stopping you nobody. Certainly not me.”
Chuck hesitated but took a step down the stairs towards the street. His legs were completely mushy and he thought for a moment that he was going to fall down the stairs. If he took it one step at a time, then he would be able to go and find someone. This must be some kind of human trafficking thing, he thought. As he took another step down, the child behind him started screaming even louder, his wails echoing throughout the street. Why wasn’t anyone else doing anything about this, he thought.
“Hold up,” the woman said. “I said hold up. He seems to scream more the further away you get. What have you done to him?”
Chuck froze on the stairs and slowly turned his head around. She was standing in the same place, hands on her hips, and looking at him.
“I haven’t done anything,” Chuck said feebly. “I just heard him crying and wanted to make sure he was okay, that’s all. If you’re his teacher, I’ll be on my way.”
“You know,” she said, taking a step towards him. “I don’t really know why you can see me, but I have a feeling you’re going to be important. I don’t think I should let you leave.”
The blood drained out of Chuck’s body and a striking chill took its place.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Chuck said. “I just want to go home.”
She stood there, shifting her weight from side to side while staring at him, straight into his eyes.
“Oh go then. I don’t really care enough to investigate this any further. Quickly now, before I change my mind.”
Chuck turned and practically fell onto the street, feeling woozy as he turned and started walking towards the coach station. He wanted to move faster, but his body wouldn’t let him. It was like moving in slow-motion. Inside he was pleading with his feet to take him there faster, to join another group of people so he wasn’t so alone, but there was no one around and his feet just wouldn’t move the way he wanted them to.
The boy at the top of the stairs was screaming louder and louder. And then he just stopped.
“Now you’ve done it you little brat,” the woman said.
Chuck stopped in his tracks and turned around to face the woman and boy, not quite sure what he was about to see. The boy had dropped his teddy bear at his feet and was just standing there with a blank expression on his face. The woman was frozen on the steps, her face a blend of anger and confusion. She turned and caught Chuck’s eye.
“You really don’t want to be here, whoever you are. It’s about to get very messy.”
A shadow started to form over the building they were all stood in front of, the lights from the windows started to dim and fade. Everything grew darker. Chuck imagined this is what death felt like, the slow and steady disappearance of light from everything around you. A giant roar stopped his thoughts and echoed throughout the street.
“Leave,” the woman said to Chuck before taking out a long knife that was hidden in a pocked on her trousers. “I won’t warn you again.”
Chuck was completely frozen in place, as a giant shadow creature descended form the sky, like a giant spider made from darkness, crawling down the buildings above, legs spread over different buildings. It’s eyes were luminescent purple and it was heading straight down to them, bearing its fangs as it grew closer and closer. When one leg was in range, just above the door to the building, the woman jumped up and sliced at it with the knife, sending out a rippling wave of energy through the beast. It roared in pain and retreated up the building slightly.
“Stop it now,” the woman shouted at the child. “Stop it.”
The child just stared upwards towards the shadow spider, his face completely empty.
“If you don’t stop this, I’ll rip your arms off.”
Chuck didn’t know what to do, stand there and watch or just turn around and run. Fear was spreading further through his body with each quickening beat of his heart.
The woman picked up the child under her free arm and started running across the street, the creature coming down quickly again.
“Don’t just stand there, run you fool,” she shouted back at Chuck.
Instinctively he followed her, the creature right behind. It blended through anything in its way, not leaving a mark.
“What is that thing?” Chuck shouted while running trying to catch up to the others.
“Why did you run this way? The coach station’s the other way.”
“I don’t know, I just followed you.”
“Okay, well keep up. You’re in its sights now, follow me.”
The woman ran across the street and down the road, with Chuck close behind. She turned a corner and made her way to the Victoria underground station, the shadow creature close behind. It was moving over the people, through lampposts and cars, climbing and jumping and scratching its way closer and closer to them. They made their way down the stairs. As Chuck fumbled about for his card to get through the barrier, the woman jumped straight over.
“Just jump, you idiot.”
Chuck dropped his wallet and in a blind panic pulled himself over the barrier, not really noticing that not a single person saw. They ran down the escalators, through corridors and onto an almost empty platform.
“Okay, if we can get through there we’re safe for now.”
“Get through where?”
Chuck looked around for a train coming but couldn’t see any. The sign said it was still two minutes out. Behind them he could hear the roar of the monster, homing in on them.
“I know this will look crazy, but just follow me. I’m Fiona by the way.”
“I’m Charles, but everyone calls me Chuck.”
“What? Why? It doesn’t matter now, just follow me.”
Fiona jumped down onto the tracks, still carrying the boy in her arms. She moved down into the tunnel, leaving Chuck on the platform alone.
“What are you doing? You’re going to get yourself killed. Come back,” Chuck shouted.
“What did I say? Just follow me.”
No one else on the platform even seemed to notice that she’d jumped onto the tracks and the growling was getting closer. He looked over his shoulder and saw the shadow entering the platform.
“Why am I here?” he said to no one. “I really don’t want to do this.”
Not wanting to get caught by the shadow spider, Chuck jumped onto the tracks and ran into the dark tunnels, following Fiona.
To be continued…
Thanks for reading! Part Three is available here: https://ashleymanning.com/2023/01/06/magic-in-london-whistling-part-three/
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