Like how the elevator slid open for him at work, the trolley doors slurp shut behind him. The platform, holding floral skirts, and once-polished shoes now dirtied by the the grime of the station, becomes acrylic on canvas; twisting and shifting, turning and molding into one hazy, splatter painting through the trains wide windows. Dave nods and purses his lips, acknowledging the woman with the stroller in front of him as he walks away from the doors and to the empty seat by the vent. Key-inscribed graffiti tags are marked between Dave’s seat and the one next to him.
“Next stop Copley,” smiles the woman’s voice over head.
An older man with scruff on his chin and watery green eyes steps onto the train smelling of sweat and pee. The plastic bags he holds have made his fingers white. Following behind, men in scrubs with glasses and Patagonia sweaters file on board.
Dave shifts his gaze from the men entering the train to the window in front of him, folding his left hand over his right. He pulls up his pin-striped jacket sleeve to see his watch. 6:20. To his right, on the empty seat, Dave observes a small creature.
“Object? Tool?” he thinks.
Dave looks to the front of the trolley where the conductor steers and toward the back of the train. He even looks out the window behind him, as if someone would be watching him from the dark alley where the car is stalled momentarily. Dave’s glance lands back at the creature. His brows cross. He looks straight forward and moves his head and eyes around as if he had splashed cold water on his face, unsure of what the thing next to him is, though somewhat amused.
Dave watches his reflection for a while being cut by the pipes underground and looks back at the seat to his right. Two eyes stare back; dark. And a small tattoo of a crescent moon on its forehead. Dave fixed his focus into those dark eyes. He gave in, he couldn’t resist, he’d played it cool long enough in those 15 minutes.
“Your skin,” he whispers, rolling his tongue slowly against his thin framed lips, “it shines. No wonder you don’t need shiny accessories.”
Dave notices the creature has no jewelry. It wears a plastic raincoat with white seams; the transparency of the jacket shows off the white dress underneath, outlining her curves. The creature is modest, yet there is something about it that Dave can’t keep his eyes off of
Dave has a feeling in his chest that it knows a lot.
“I like a little competition. You’re coy, it’s extremely becoming.” He searches for answers between her eyes, which don’t even seem to blink. Dave rubs his forefinger against the side of his thumb.
“Entering Boylston,” smiles the woman overhead.
The screech of the train mimics the pace of Dave’s heartbeat; it’s quickening. His lips curl into a smile, his eyes still don’t leave her gaze. The doors to Boylston swoosh open.
“You’re coming with me,” Dave says under his breath as he gets up. Dave feels as though he is an Olympic figure skater, gliding off the train. The creature’s hand feels like silk in his. It is euphoric. And he knows he’ll have trouble letting go.
“My prize,” he thinks. And just that she is. Dave steps in a haze above ground. Street cars honk and toddlers run to their parent’s arms noticing only another business man with a white iPhone in hand.