Davis scratched at his belly as he slept, absently thinking that gum was stuck there, but it was a clump of clotted blood, a spider bite. The bite became red, spreading across his abdomen. It hurt to scratch. And he was hungry, terribly so, constant and painful, a need he could not satisfy.He put ointment on it, and then the scab was impossible to get off. Davis finally dug it out, and hundreds of things fell out, tiny black dots that grew legs, and scampered away, baby spiders.
He woke up at that, terrified that his stomach was full of baby spiders and then relieved. He picked at the edges of the scab until it finally came off. Nothing fell out, but there was an inside bit that came out and that looked like a dead spider. He looked at it, waiting to wake up again, but he didn’t.
The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Ashe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. She stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.