Eli had never felt this weak before but he was not about to give up. Calm down everyone, he thought. A tall man punched him hard on the jaw just to get him to let go of his leather jacket. A striking pain shot to his temple. The train moved unsteadily on the rails and possibly headed for a crash unless the passengers could calm down and realise it's a harmless situation.
Panic. Everyone was panicking…
Eli could not move from where he had fallen, squashed between two seats. He felt something thick roll slowly down his cheek. He knew it was blood before he touched it and glanced at his hand to confirm it. He had a bit of difficulty breathing as the memories of the morning filtered through his mind crystal-clear and sharp…
Just this morning, he remembered how flushed Sarah's smooth, brown skin was from the heat of the water as he stepped into the shower with her. She chuckled and wiggled in his arms as he soaped her body and leaned in to devour her lips with his. This was usually his best time of the day.
As they both dressed up for work, Sarah turned to him while putting on her earrings. "Sweety. What will your day be like? Can we do lunch? I can bring over some grilled spicy wings and juice."
Eli smiled at his wife in the mirror as he knotted his tie. He watched her wiggled her curvy waist and hip slowly into a light coloured snake-print designer skirt and tucked in her black blouse. "I wish I could but, remember Patrick's meeting?"
"Oh yes. That's today?" She seemed a bit disappointed.
"Yea. Heading to the train station now and I should be in Landstown in an hour and hopefully wrap things up at the construction site this evening."
Eli moved slowly towards Sarah with open arms as she melted into his embrace. The chemistry between them was just so strong. He buried his head in her hair, sniffed in her fruity perfume and bit her earlobe. She chuckled. "I hope to ride the last train back. Be ready for when I return?" He asked.
"Yes," she whispered and held him tighter. "Always my love. Be careful and say hi to Patrick and Helen for me."
Eli kissed Sarah goodbye and took a cab to the train station.
The voice from the speaker announced the last call for Landstown just as few passengers rushed into the train. Eli pushed forward to step in when he bumped into a tall, bald man about six foot three with a briefcase who was going to get into the train at the same time as him.
His bald head was shiny like he rubbed some hair oil on it. Baldy, Eli thought. Baldy looked strong, probably in the military with an air of authority around him. Eli stepped back and waved his hand for Baldy to go in. Baldy acknowledged the gesture with a nod and stepped into the train. Eli followed immediately as the door shut and the train moved.
Eli found an empty seat, pulled the strap of his laptop bag from over his head, opened it and placed his laptop on his knees. He powered it up, put on his earbuds to drown out the noise and began working on the schematics of Patrick's shopping mall.
"Oh my God! Look! He has gas in there! He means to kill us!! Aaaaaaaargh!!" A middle-aged woman gave a high pitch scream, pointing at Baldy. Then the panic and commotion started. Eli took off his earbuds. All the passengers looked towards the direction the woman pointed. Baldy too was in shock as gas fizzled out of his briefcase, saturating into the atmosphere. Someone started coughing, another covered his nose with a handkerchief.
"What the hell man?"
"What is this? You want to kill us?"
"He wants to drug us!!"
People scrambled and fell on each other as they tried to get out of the passenger section onto the next. Like three men were in a fight with Baldy, trying to wrestle the briefcase from him.
Due to his little knowledge of gases, Eli realised the gas was harmless - compressed air actually. Then he heard Baldy trying to explain to the men wrestling with him. "It's - shit - listen! It's canned air. Stop this!" Eli knew he was right. He put aside his laptop and tried to pry the men from Baldy. One turned and punched him… and it became a full-blown fight.
In the commotion, Eli could see people hurt, some trying to run for their lives. Baldy drove the three men apart with his fists and raised his voice so the whole train could hear him.
IT'S A HARMLESS GAS!
Sudden silence for a few seconds then the panic began. Eli had no idea how they would get out of this situation.