A sense of complete wrongness engulfs her as she steps out of the train. She can feel the panic being drawn onto her face. That guy over there...who is he...why is he looking this way? She cannot back up, too many others leaving the train. That one over there...the one walking towards us...have we seen her before? Panic. Panic.
She finds herself running nowhere before her logic kicks in. Find a train, any train, and get on it fast. Preferable one that is leaving now, so she can claim that she were afraid to miss it, that is why she was running. Just hurry, and don't look back. Only people being followed look behind them. Besides looking doesn't make them stop following you. Passes two close trains with long lines. Cannot afford to wait in a line. This one here will work, just hope its not almost to the end. Quickly get behind the person currently talking with the girl checking IDs, and dig one out. A quick glance to check her name this time, and hand it to the girl. Smile, reply to the question, note the train number, and then get on. Safe.
The general emptiness of this train is not a good sign. Either she is at the near beginning, or near end of this line. She hopes for the beginning. Too tense to stay on this car, she walks through two before even starting to find a seat. The passage through the mostly empty cars doesn't help her relax. Through the window she thinks she sees that guy. Not good that he is over here now, not good at all. Her hand would hurt from being clenched so tight if she could relax enough to notice it.
The train starts to move. And she realizes that she needs to figure out where she is going. According to her now defunct plan, she should have waited for a half an hour in the station for the train she wanted going south. A glance outside shows she is going west. A good sign, there is only two or three stops east before an ocean. Picking the emptiest spot in this car she digs out the train guide. Still panicky enough to spill a fair amount of her bag on to the floor. She starts to swear but stops when she hears a child's voice.
She looks at the other passengers in this car as she repacks. There is an older man off to one side and a mother with a child ahead, otherwise this car is empty. The child speaks in a tongue she doesn't recognize, and the old man tries to make himself comfortable enough to sleep. She relaxes a little more. Safe for now. She scans the guide book, looking for the train she just got on.
It takes a while to find it, but she does. This is an express. If she had been in the train station during the rush hours, this train would have been packed. But the one that runs during the noon hours is much emptier. She wonders why they even bother running one at this time. As she also notices that her tension has not totally left her. She will need to move a lot for a while. There will be very little or no sleep for the next couple of days.
She wants to find trains that are leaving almost when she arrives for the next couple of hops. She needs to spend as little time in the stations as possible. While there is some excitement when she realizes she hasn't ridden this train before, it evaporates when she finds why in the guide. There are three stops ahead of her. There are no other trains at the final stop, and few at the other two. A bit of page flipping gives her two final choices, either wait three hours in the near station, or hope the train at the other is running a fraction late enough for her to run to it.
She tenses as her body reads itself to be flooded with adrenaline. It will be a hard run on the edge of hope. She doesn't like the idea of hoping for a fractional delay, but she cannot get herself to accept the three hours of wait. Ignoring the fact that if she misses this tiny window, she will be stuck at the station for almost seven hours.
She digs out a granola bar and eats it. Some how trying to justify that the extra energy will make her go faster when she needs it. The trains slows, and stops at the first stop. A few people get off into a nearly empty station. A few suits stand in a group a few meters from the stopped train. As her eyes pass over them, a tiny measure of the adrenaline is leaked out. She clenches a death grip on her bag as she watches from the window; the suits watch people leave. They do not get on. She tries to force herself to relax. She tries to no avail.
As the train pulls out, she thinks she sees the back of that lady from before.
The next twenty minutes are hell. She thinks the train is moving too slow. She knows the train is too slow. The other train is not going to be late enough. No, it is early. Worse, it is not even running today. There will be many large men there to grab her as she exits. The old man is watching her. She isn't going to make it.
She isn't going to make it.
They are going to catch her.
The train stops.
The doors have hardly opened halfway and she is meters from the train. Moving at a speed that only the chemical fuel of fear can provide, she runs. She can hear them behind her. They are all back there chasing. She wants to scream. She thinks she screams but cannot hear her own voice. A short set of stairs is taken in one leap, and she corners to see a train with doors closing. She drops the last of what she has into her legs and closes her eyes and prays.
The solid metal wall of a train car stops her and she falls to the floor.
With a flicker of her eyes, she looks into the smiling face of some middle aged man. She wants to resist but there is nothing left in her. He asks for her id, not that it matters much now, but he needs to check it anyways. A bit of hope creeps into her brain. She perks up enough to see that she is actually in fact inside the train. She hit the inside wall of the car as she leaped in the closing doors. A minor edge of joyful hysteria colors her voice as she realizes that she made it.
As she is digging out an ID, the man comments that he has never seen anyone before make the exchange from these two trains in this station. She smiles and hands him her ID, looking out the windows of the train into an empty station.