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Stories From The Trunk: Dancing On Trains

July 1, 2012

As Promised, I will post stories that I feel are going to the trunk here.
Below is “Dancing On Trains,” a short piece I wrote not long after a ridiculous happening on the L Train.

The tunnel was hot and muggy like it always was.

The dead air of the subterranean world where masses of people traveled everyday clung to him like an extra layer of clothing. Slowly, he tugged at his tie and unbuttoned the small button that kept his lapels neat and close. All in an attempt to ward away that extra layer of damp air that was clinging to him.

Nothing would help though, the stations were always full of that same heavy warm air.

While the world had yet to reach the endless summer that some scientists still warned of, the days his grandparents talked about when the subway could sometimes be a massive network of drafty chilled stations, were long gone.

Even now, in January, the heat was hanging on him.

It was late, the clock that always floated in the peripheries of his vision blinked red to warn him that he was awake outside of his normal rhythm. He huffed, gently adjusting his internal alarm system so he could sleep in tomorrow. The message traveled from his neurons to his neural network, and finally to the small electronic implants throughout his body. Sometimes, he wondered if there was any difference between himself and his implants.

He laughed, and shook his head. Such a silly thought, to differentiate between a man and his implants.

Tonight had been worth the lack of sleep, he had gone to one of the old cinemas that was still kept alive in Les. Simple digital projection on a wall, run off an old closet server they kept in a little room behind the theater. It had been a retrospective on the classic comedies of Adam Sandler, one of his favorite comedians from the turn of the century. He smiled at the fleeting memory of one of the scenes.

Still, being down in the tunnels made him miss the industrial dehumidifiers of the theater. Even now, a light film of sweat was forming on his brow as he stood there waiting.

As he wiped the sweat away with his sleeve, he closed his eyes and brought up his novel list and music library. With a few thoughts, a piece of Baroque music was playing lightly in the back of his head, and the novel was in his hand.

He smiled as his eyes were instantly drawn to where he had last left off in the book. It didn’t take long for him to become engrossed in it, the minutes slowly ticking away as he was waiting for his train. As he scrolled down to the next page, the words were replaced with a warning that his train was about to arrive. He blinked away the warning, and returned to the prose while leaving a reminder in his net to adjust his public transit warnings. There was no reason to have a warning this late at night, the train would come when it came.

The train pulled up.

It was an older and bulkier model, with the previous few decades color scheme of soft blues, greens, and grays. As he stepped aboard he frowned, missing the current colors of light golds and soft amber.

The train at least wasn’t packed, at least not as packed as it would be on the mornings. There were still no seats available, and he found himself rubbing shoulders with a couple on his left. With a sigh he faced the door and grabbed a hold of one of the over head railings.

Of course, an older train like this didn’t have a forearm latch, so he’d actually have to hold on with his hand. These older trains were supposed to have been phased out by now, or at least that’s what the transit czar had announced three years ago but some budget issues had come up or at least that’s what they said. Who knew if it was true though.

There was always a lack of investors, he knew that. The sponsor of his morning commute had changed more times than he could count. At this late hour, no one was sponsoring the trains, not even a local late night restaurant or something. All that played across the old screens above the seats were safety messages from the cops and the standard news crawl.

With a sigh, he stopped holding his book instead letting it float in the air before him. It was always hard to balance in the trains without a forearm latch, and holding the book was just an unnecessary indulgence. Even though he didn’t need to, he preferred to hold the book in his hand, it just felt right. He smiled, reflecting on the old Sandler movies that he had seen, and the way he would hold his books. Maybe he was a little too old fashioned sometimes.

Whatever, it was in the spirit of the evening, he thought.

He realized that the train still hadn’t left the station as a few beads of sweat slowly made their way down his back. For a moment he thought of pulling up a transit report, but it was probably just the dispatch office or the like. It didn’t quite matter at this hour but the air was beginning to get muggy within the train car. He didn’t want to get too warm, his clothes would start to stick.

As he turned back to his book, he noticed a couple smiling in front of him, and looking over his shoulder. They quietly exchanged whispers, lost to the music he had playing in the background of his mind. His curiosity piqued though, he turned his head over his shoulder to see what they were watching.

It was a gaggle of sparks.

They were all young, and each of them was dancing like they were in a trance. No rhythm to their movements, just slow trance like bending of their bodies and limbs, with the occasional jerking twitch as one of their implants sent a pulse through their muscles. Their bodies occasionally writhed together, not quite dancing, just mashing skin against skin. Not that they would feel it, he knew, they were lost in other sensations and feelings.

They were all cosmetically modded. Several had neon veins flashing below their skin, pulsing without beat or time, and a few were secreting glitter that glinted in the light. Their clothes were built for the warmth and dampness of the world; mesh, fishnets, and light synthetic fabrics. Only their genitals were covered and even then, he could see patches of pubic hair and organs as their bodies twitched.

One of the girls’ arched her back, and he noticed that her breasts were entirely uncovered. Her breasts glistened with golden glitter, each twitch making them twist and turn, while her nipples pulsed with acidic blue light. She wore a pair of fishnet shorts, sandals, and kept her hair short, the color matching her nipples. As he watched her move, he began to wonder what it was like.

Seated on one of the train’s benches, was the pod that all their nets were slaved to. The pod was a surprisingly thick man, compared to the almost sickly thin sparks that writhed around him. The pod’s hands moved through the air, lightly manipulating the sensations and music that flowed unseen in the air around all of his spark followers. The thick man was modded though nowhere near as heavily as any of the sparks slaved to his program.

As the train began to move, he could feel the pulse of the open network that floated in the air just next to him. On the other side of the throng, he watched as one or two people joined the open network, beginning to sway and jerk with the rest of the silent dance party. He turned his eyes back to the couple whose gaze had tipped him off to the presence of the sparks, and they too slowly joined the network, joining the rolling sea of flesh that was beginning to expand throughout the car.

One of the jerking sparks bumped into him, smearing a rainbow of glitter across his sleeves, the flecks of sparkling material sticking through the medium of sweat they all shared. His eyes were once again drawn to the girl with the acid blue hair as she danced along to the music.

Supposedly when you slaved yourself to a pod like the one on this train, they replaced everything. Sight, sound, smell, everything that your net could simulate he provided. It was release from the world around you, for however long you needed.

He watched them, dancing to music only they could hear. The only noise escaping them was the shuffling of their feet along the floor and the occasional thwack of flesh as they bumped into each other. The couple, dressed plainly like he was, intertwined into each other, not quite grinding into each other but occasionally their hips or arms would twitch in some sort of puppet perversion of making love.

The network was just named Party, with a string of numbers behind it.

This had been a great night already, and he already was planning to sleep in.

He could feel the muscles twitching beneath his skin, anticipating the dance. His own music had died away long ago as he watched the party rage on in the confines of the train.

Her neon nipples stood erect in the chill of the moving train car, her body once more arcing in pleasure as the sights and sounds of the pod pulsed through her.

Bodies smacked.

Music roared.

Colors changed.

Then the doors opened.

It was his stop.

The dance party moved on.

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