I hated working the night shift. After a long day on my feet, I trudged through the snow and into the nearest subway station, thankful for the warmth but repulsed by the smell. I went through the motions of swiping my Metro card and moving quickly through the turnstiles to find my place on the empty platform.
I shivered with cold and apprehension as I waited for the train that would take me home to bed. There were usually people here, even in the early hours of the morning, and it felt eerie to be here alone. I could hear the clink of the train in the distance as it flew down the tracks, and I leaned against the support pole in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on my feet.
“Damn these shoes! I knew I should have broken them in first.”
My voice echoed against the dirty tile, and I felt the hairs stand on the back of my neck as I glanced around the subway in hopes of seeing someone-anyone- who could explain why I felt watched.
Just as my anxiety began to swirl within my tired brain, I felt the familiar rumble of a subway train pulling into the station. Finally, I thankfully escaped into the car and relaxed as it carried me home.
I was the only person in the dirty subway car, so I took a moment to slip off my new shoes and rub my throbbing feet, sighing in relief.
The voice startled me, and I looked up into the dark eyes of a young woman. She sat across from me and wore a beautiful white cocktail dress. Her hair and makeup were perfect, and I saw the unmistakable glint of an engagement band on her hand.
“You have no idea,” I sighed as I slipped my shoes back on, wincing as my blisters protested the action. I sighed again and shivered from the sudden cold as I leaned back on the seat and glanced at my companion again.
“Excuse my boldness, but you look beautiful. Did you come from a party?”
“Something like that,” she replied with a sad smile. “Today’s my wedding day.”
“Congratulations!” I exclaimed with as much energy as I could spare. “You must be very happy.”
“I was,” she agreed quietly before turning her dark eyes to mine. “I was on my way home to meet him, but there’s no rush. I’m content to ride the train for as long as I can.”
“I’m just ready to go home and get some sleep,” I replied with a yawn, and she smiled at me.
“You work too hard, Samantha. It isn’t good for you.”
I blinked in surprise.
“How…how did you know my name?”
She didn’t answer, and I tried to remember if I told her. However, my brain was too foggy and tired to focus, so I rubbed my temples in an attempt to regain some function.
“Did I tell you my name? Did you tell me yours? I…I can’t remember.”
“Memory is a fickle thing,” She said quietly with a sly smile, and I realized that she looked very familiar. However, I couldn’t place her, so I leaned forward.
“I’m sorry, who are you?”
She turned to look at the window and remained lost in thought for several minutes before turning back to me.
“It’s almost time to go.”
She glanced above me, and I turned to check the subway map lines. My stop was still several miles away, but she turned to me and smiled as the train pulled into another empty station.
At that moment, the train blew its whistle and forced me to drop my water bottle. It went clattering to the floor, and I bent to pick it up. The action couldn’t have taken more than a few seconds. However, when I looked up again, the woman was gone.
Had she gone to another car? That seemed the most likely since we hadn’t made any stops, but I still felt uneasy. Something was strange about her, and I huddled in closer as I sped along towards my destination.
A few more people had entered the train, but their presence did little to comfort me. I thought about the strange woman who’d ridden with me and tried to figure out why she seemed familiar. However, I was forced to put her out of my mind as I reached my stop and walked the last few miles home.
The next morning, I was browsing the internet and drinking my morning coffee when a news article caught my eye. Startled, I clicked on it, and sucked in a breath as I read the headline:
“The S-Line Bride: Suicide- or Murder?”
The story spoke about a young woman- later identified as Diana – who died on the S line tracks fifteen years ago. No one knew what happened, only that she was wearing a wedding dress and appeared to be running away. Several people offered theories, but the lack of evidence made it almost impossible to determine the truth, so the case went cold.
As the article continued, I felt an uneasy feeling in my gut. I vaguely remembered when this happened because it was big news at the time, but I never paid attention to the details. Now, as I scrolled past a large picture of Diana, I realized why the woman on the train seemed so familiar.
She was the woman from the obituaries.
Somehow, I had met Diana.