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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Spray

The People Mover

"You thought it would be different, didn't you?"

Without raising her head she glanced around, startled at the sudden voice, and unsure if she had clearly understood - as for a moment ago she was surely alone. Her eyes land on what used to be a pair of shiny black loafers, the kind that hasn't been considered modern since her younger days in Queens.

"I'm sorry?"

She asked without looking up to meet his eyes. She could tell by matching the worn leather bag, baggy suit pants and loafers to the voice that he was much older.

"Apologies, I asked if you'd mind if I were to sit with you - seems there isn't another soul in sight here tonight."

Glancing around the empty station, she popped out an earbud, still avoiding raising her head too much.

"Sure, I don't mind."

She let her guard down as she watched him slowly shuffle around, positioning himself in front of the seat one down from her, which she took as a gesture of respect to the obvious situation. Late night, tall thin girl, train station. Certainly the amount of time it took the man to sit, accompanied by plenty of groans and deep huffs was proof enough that if needed, she could indeed outrun him, or hell beat the old fucker to a pulp even. If needed.

As he got settled, she played with the earbud in her hand, acknowledging that this was indeed likely headed to an unwanted conversation, yet being respectful by allowing him time to get settled to make sure before plugging back in.

"Is this yours?"

Forced to turn his way, she let her hair fall across her cheek as they made eye contact for the first time. Indeed an aged, freckled old man, with sad eyes and a kind, pursed lips kind of smile. In his hand - her printed ticket which she had tossed to the seats next to her when she sat ten minutes ago.

"It was partially on my seat - figured it had to be."

"Oh, yes. Thank you."

Handing her the ticket, he sat back and stared forward.


Not picking up on the intention to finish his thought, and a bit deterred by the knowledge of her name she cut in rudely.


"My apologies, with my age I tend to speak in slow cadence - I was going to say - Lily, that's a lovely name, I noticed on your ticket there."

"Ah yes, sorry, thank you, it was my grandmothers name."

Pulling the case for the earbuds out of her pocket she pulled the other out of her right ear, placing them inside. A conversation it would be, she thought.

"I'm Reverend Stephen Little. Thank you again for allowing me to sit with you, it's not often there are others here this late, so used to being a solo traveler."

Glancing at her watch, the events of the day catching up to her she finally realized how late it really was - 2 AM. All at once she realized too the exhaustion weighted in her head and shoulders.

"It was not my intention to be here tonight with you, but here we are. I'm Lily Pottick."

"Pleasure to meet you Lily Pottick."

At this point aware that the next half an hour til the people mover arrived would be reserved for conversation with this man - she decided to feign interest, for interests sake.

"You are here this late often?"

Slightly shifting in her seat to face him, hair still covering a good portion of facial features she noticed he was still in fact smiling through pursed lips, looking out past the station towards the lights.

"Why yes indeed! Every Monday through Friday. I work in a fairly well trafficked area of Brooklyn. The Sanctuary really doesn't settle down til about the same time the bars do, so I find myself a man of confession for the last 6 hours of the day."

"Sounds tiresome. You do that five days a week? Seems like if you are taking confessions from bar traffic the weekends would be the best time for... business to boom"

The man chuckled.

"Well you see, the people who need confession most aren't the ones typically hitting the bar only Fridays and Saturdays."

"Good point".

They sat in silence for a moment both of them now relaxed, feeling the presence of eachother less and less uncomfortable.

"Well, I shared my why with you... but it seems we don't know why the other member occupying this bench is here this late."


"Pardon my presumption, but as I approached you seemed... in distress, but in a lost sense, as though this may not have been an item on tonights original itinerary, no, you knew you'd be here, just are unsure where to go now. Though forgive me, I am not one to pre-judge anyone."

Not flinching at this eerily accurate statement she replied with ease.

"I don't exactly have a good reason, no. All that's certain though - this ticket, is definitely one way"

"A harrowing escape perhaps?"

She glanced at him letting more of her face show as she pushed her hair behind her ear with her thumb.

"Well, perhaps not that exciting. But yes, harrowing as ever."

"Well I may be off my bar confessional clock, but if there was anything you needed to get off your..."

"I'm not uh, not religious - Reverend."

"Of course, most of the confessions I get are not from anyone remotely religious, no worries my dear. I'm no preacher here, just a void to speak into that won't speak back."


Silence for a few minutes, she glanced around again, unsure that she wanted to go down this path. Glancing again at her watch, still 20 minutes. Damn.

"I don't really feel the need to go into it all, guess I'm just all confessioned out for today, sorry."

"Apologies I didn't mean to pry I.."

"Oh no, not you at all I just, don't think I need a void. Thank you though. Very kind to offer".

She straightened up to stretch her neck and back, looking down the tracks.

"Don't think you need another void"

She had to again think for a second, did he really just say that? She whipped her head back towards him.

"I'm sorry?"

He glanced over at her, as if puzzled by her tone."

"I said, it could be nice to get a second voice. On the situation."

They stared at eachother for a moment before either one spoke.

"Fuck it."

The man straightened up a bit, shifting his knees to face her direction, bending in anticipation as a child would during reading circle.

She couldn't help but let out a laugh.

"What is it?"

"Oh, nothing. Apologies. I - just you seem so invested."

"Active listening is my forte dear."

Slightly embarrassed she threw an arm on the back of the bench and crossed her legs, facing him as well. Thinking of what to say first she paused, and then...

"I work in a... politically disputed industry."

"You'll find no judgment here."

He waved his hand as if to coax onward, ignoring her hesitation.

"I... I work in the modeling industry."

He nodded, no change to his demeanor.

"I'm not exactly proud of the work, it leaves me feeling... valueless. Like I neither give, nor take anything of value from the work I do."

He nodded, waiting.

"I've been doing it for years. But now, now something is different."

Silence, moving her clothing to avert her vulnerability to this strange man.

"For example - have you... have you ever been on one side of something, seen it one way for so long, and until something happens drastically opposite to you, you are unable to see any other way?"

She looked him dead in the eyes, which were backing with a shimmer the slight smirk on the old mans face.

"I think I follow... To make sure we are on the same page, and this is just and example from a past confession - A man commits a murder - to him, it feels like a win. The man he murdered had killed a good friend of his. Basking in this glow over the next few years he commits a few more murders, justifying the actions through the guise that it was wrongdoing being avenged. Eventually, his action spawned reprecussion. A man enters his home, shoots him twice in the chest. As he dies, his children in the next room, his scope expands, and he prays and prays for a second chance. To make things right. The things he loves most quickly moving further away until he dies."

She stares at him, curiosity across her face.

"Something like that?"

"I have never killed anyone."

"That's not what I said, that was just an example."

"Okay, then yes, that, but an extreme example."

He rocked back a bit.

"Please, continue then."

"Well you summed it up nicely, I am now on the flip side of all that... 'murder'."

She waited for comment. And got none.

"Well, that's basically it."

"Do you mind if I ask you something, Ms. Pottick?"

"Ask away."

She glances at the watch again, 10 minutes.

"Do you feel... shame? Guilt? Or perhaps the opposite? A want for more, but first perhaps a clean slate? Is this... industry, what you are really passionate about?"

She thought for a moment, surprised at the way that she allowed the conversation to roll on without protest. Maybe this was a good thing. Talk it through.

"I feel shame, certainly, however I love what I do, the modeling, the other girls... I can't see myself doing anything else. I just think I need to... do it differently, and do it somewhere new. I'm a mentor to most of the girls, which brings me to believe I am good at what I do as well."

"Yes, yes you are."

She heard it for sure this time, the off-colored comment, yet oddly enough she didn't seem to see his lips move. Perhaps from the shock of the comment.

"Okay, I know I heard that correctly, what do you mean?"

He grinned.

"It's just a presumption. I was purely agreeing, you showed authenticity in what you said, I could tell."

"Okay. Well any advice, reverend?"

"Well based on what little you've told me, I can presume that you are indeed on the right track. But what was it that happened to... to bring you here?"

"I really don't want to say, apologies."


"I can't help unless you're vulnerable."

"It's vulnerability that put me here."




"I was... taken advantage of. By my co-worker of nine years."


"And it feels. Fucking awful. And I don't mean in terms of the business, I was fucking raped."



Head in hands she softly cried. Pouring her tears out onto the cigarette littered concrete below. The people mover now heard in the distance. Just a bit now.

"There, there."

She felt the hand on her shoulder and through her fingers saw those baggy old man pants in front of her. She choked down her sobs, wondering how he got to her so quickly with his slow stature.

"Did you know that most confess with omission?"

She glanced up, the reverend suddenly taller now.


"Yes, you seem to have omitted some very pertinent information there, child."

This was the first time she felt fear towards this man. In reaction she stood up in front of him, craning her neck upwards, spreading out as big as she could.

"And what might that be? Please step back from me!"

Shoving him in the chest, confident it would send him not quite into the tracks, she stopped cold when he didn't budge. In fact his chest felt of cinder block.

"Get AWA-"

His hand snapped to her neck, gripping her so she could breathe, but not speak.

"Lily Pottick, your omission of the facts this evening is a perfect explanation to my being here this evening. The happening of us being the only two on this platform during a typically well-trafficked time."

She squirmed, throwing her hands atop his. He whipped her around, her back now to the tracks. Jerking her head she could see the lights of the people mover coming quickly to the station.

"You see, of your profession you spoke the truth. Your modeling career proceeds you, and yes, indeed you were assaulted by your closest friend. Yet you fail to share the bit about where you were on the other side of that. For nine long years. Didn't you?"

She was wretching now, eyes moving quickly from him back to the lights closer and closer. The man began taking steps towards the track, lifting her by the neck off the ground. With every step he took, she suddenly began to feel his hands... shifting? No. Growing. Yes, it felt as if every bone holding her neck up was breaking and expanding. As his hands grew, so did the man. Clothes, ripping slowly off his expanding biceps, chest and shoulders. Revealing black, charred skin.

"You come here, running to what? Take the vulnerability you felt as you were wronged and use it as a lesson as to what not to do again? To go start anew? For nine long years your 'modeling career', a front for one of the most disgusting continuous prostitution rings in the city."

As he spoke his face, like a hologram, flickered in and out, stretching and contorting. She stared in horror as she clawed at the clawed hands around her neck. The face in front of her was now a changing channel of many faces. All of the girls she and her partner had held over the past nine years. The faces morphed and screamed as they flicked from one to the next. Hundreds of faces. she knew them all, every one.

"I'm... Sorry."

She choked out two words, just to watch the flickering faces laugh back at her words as though she had spat a one lined joke.

"You're apologies are worthless, girl. As are you. For I am the murderer in my story, just as much you the ravisher of yours. You seek whats next, well you did in fact come unknowingly to this future."

With that, he reached the platforms edge, and held the girl close to the carousel of faces.

"The point, filthy girl, is that we are two predators this night. Both are full of pure evil. Disgusting. Yet in the end, in this city, there can only be one predator. The one that gets the rest."

Her outstretched arm was a feeble attempt as the people mover smashed through the station, braking only after it had done its job.

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