Operator 41 and The Drunkard

Last updated: April 7th 2023

The drunkard staggered onto the last subway car. Reeking of booze, lacking in guilt. Clothed in rags of his former occupation, a broken relic of the life he had lost. He slumped into a seat and pulled out a bottle, muttering under his breath.

Operator 41 watched the doors from his booth. Thoughts consumed by the darkness he felt lurking in the world. He always knew there was a battle being fought, one that most people were unaware of. But lately it had been feeling more real.

The train lurched forward, rattling through the lightless labyrinth beneath the city. The drunkard took another swig from the bottle, barely registering the operator's presence. Scanning the advertisements on the wall, looking for a good one. He had lost his job, but not his thirst for little boys and girls.

Operator 41 had one of those moments. Those moments where the brutal artificiality of everything comes to the foreground. The flickering fluorescent lights. The deafening roar of the train. Familiar late night shift background, now a dissonant symphony of despair. A swarm of ants marched across his nerves when he saw it, vaguely reflected in the dim glass. The drunkard's stare, fixed on him.

"Who are you?" the drunkard slurred, every word infected with venom. Craters on a face where eyes should have been.

Ignoring him, Operator 41 focused back on the controls.

"I know what you are," the drunkard spat.

(continued here: "Operator 41 and The Drunkard, Pt. 2")