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Julianne Snow – Not All Jacks are Created Equal
Disaster – Super Volcano
Location – Commuter Train
Helpful Item – Bottle of Jack Daniels
Disability – Naked
Not All Jacks Are Created Equal…
Why won’t this idiot get off of me? As I pushed him forcefully back, I felt the cool rush of air enter the space between our bodies. Like I actually cared if he was done or not!
I have to admit I was extremely exasperated by this point. Surely this asshat had felt the jolt like I had? I know my butt was the one on the edge of the sink, but how could he have not? It shook the entire train or at least I assumed it had given that all the cars were connected.
I need this fucker to get off of me so I can get dressed and figure out what is going on. I hope we didn’t hit another careless pedestrian… That was when he hit me. While I was shocked by the violence, I wasn’t truly surprised by it either. I didn’t know this jerk apart from the small moments we’d shared across the aisle from each other for the past six months. His name was Jack, he was gorgeous and I was single; sometimes things happen.
And it had happened today on our ride home. How I got myself into these situations was always beyond me, but I have to live up to the fact that I attract trouble.
The knock of his fist dazed me long enough for him to gather my clothes and duck out of the tiny bathroom we had shared for the short moments of our tryst.
Fuck! My clothes! What the fuck was I going to do now with nothing to wear?
At least the idiot hadn’t taken my purse or tote bag. That was something to be thankful for, right? Pulling out the bottle of Jack I’d purchased before getting on the train that evening, I took a long swill and as it burned down the back of my throat, it reminded me that life had the knack for kicking me in the face when I least expected it.
How the fuck am I going to get off this train unnoticed now? I was talking to myself, swallowing more of the amber alcohol than I probably should have given the circumstances. But then, what the fuck did I care? Some asshole had just punched me in the face and stolen my clothes. And I had been wearing my favourite dress too! A vintage Diane von Furstenberg I’d found for a steal in a charity shop a few years ago.
I took another long swallow and returned the cap to the bottle before sliding it back into my bag. It was time to face the rest of the train in all of my naked glory. Hopefully someone would be nice enough to offer me their jacket…
Who the fuck am I kidding? No one is going to offer me anything. I was talking to myself again but the action of it helped calm me down a bit. At least I still have my shoes…
I started to laugh heartily. Here I was, standing naked in a tiny bathroom on my way home thinking life was looking up because I still had my shoes. At least I hadn’t lost my sense of humour – yet.
The train rocked with another jolt and through the door I heard panic begin to spread. It was an odd mix of raised voices and shouts of disbelief. What the hell was going on out there?
Gathering my wits about me, I opened the door to the bathroom, grateful that it swung inward and peeked around its edge. I could see people trying to run down the small passageway in both directions, having to slow down just enough to let each other pass. Their faces betrayed a growing sense of panic and it frightened me. Had something really terrible happened?
My brain ran through all kinds of scenarios, but I quickly discarded most of them as completely stupid. Whatever it was couldn’t be so bad; we were still moving.
The force of the full stop threw me forward into the sink’s metal edge with enough force to leave a welt. The door swung free and slapped me on the ass, propelling me further against the sink and plastering my face against the grimy mirror.
I heard the screaming clearly now without the sound of the wheels on the rails in the background. Did I just hear what I think I heard?
I pried myself away from my own reflection and grabbed my purse and bag. Holding each of them in the best semblance of modesty I could attain, I cautiously inched out into the passageway.
Fairly soon my attempts at modesty were forgotten as I fought to hold onto my belongings amidst the rush of people. The doors to the cars had opened and people were fleeing the sanctity of the train in increasing numbers.
Not knowing what was going on and not trusting my ears since the idea of a volcano was pure lunacy, I fought the throngs of panicked people to an empty bank of seats. I wanted to sit down for a moment and shuffle through the information being thrust at me from all directions. It crossed my mind I should exit the train as well, but the cool temperature of the fall evening kept me inside – at least for the moment.
As I sat there, collecting my thoughts and watching the people run in the direction we had been travelling from, I couldn’t help but wonder why. What had spooked them all so much?
I heard a rumble in the background, but assumed it was a natural occurrence – something I hadn’t heard over the din of the train in the 6 years I had been riding it during my commute.
Then it hit me—maybe the train was on fire! That would explain the jolts I’d experienced while in the bathroom and even the noise I heard now. There must have been an explosion in one of the forward cars and here I lingered in the false sanctity of the train like an idiot.
Feeling the panic grow in my stomach, I made for the exit, believing I only had moments to escape. There were still people fleeing from the forward cars of the train, but none of them spared my nakedness a second glance.
As I stepped down from the car, thinking the drop was awfully far given the fact the train was not at a station with a platform, I stole a look toward the front of the train. The sight stopped me cold.
Those screams of panic and disbelief I had heard were not wrong. A volcano was erupting in close proximity to the train. The sight was astounding.
In an instant, I felt the heat of the event against my skin. I witnessed the flakes of ash as they floated to the ground. It was a mother-fucking volcano and it was erupting only a few miles from where I stood.
My nakedness now felt like a serious disadvantage – how would I protect my delicate skin from the heat and the ash that fell? What about burning embers? I couldn’t even think as more people ran by me, one of them crashing into me, propelling me backward against the bottom step I had just hopped down from.
I heard the crack as much as I felt it. Pain radiated up my back and into my brain while numbness permeated through my legs. I looked down and saw the odd angle created by my left leg as I slid to the ground in a heap. The resulting pop shook my body for the briefest of moments.
Fuck! It was the only word that fit the circumstances. I couldn’t feel my legs and my back hurt more than my last Brazilian wax.
No one noticed me on the ground in their haste to flee and I didn’t shout my insistence they see me either. I was going to die in that spot, dressed in the suit God had given me and there was nothing I could do.
Except drink of course. Opening the tote I had gingerly protected in the fall, I withdrew the cool bottle of Jack Daniels. Unscrewing the cap, I raised the bottle to my lips and let the fire spread through my stomach.
With a massive expulsion of ash and smoke, the volcano burped flames skyward. Rivers of red began to stream down the sides of the mountain, flowing freely and consuming whatever they touched.
The screams of those bolting dulled as they concentrating on escape and I was left in the relative quiet of the natural disaster. The lava flowed faster than I could have imagined and within short minutes it had reached the front of the train.
Molten rock met the metal in a fight to the death, the train easily losing the battle, shifting slightly in its tracks. With no means of escape, or the time to finish the bottle, I drank as much as I could before hot tears welled in my eyes.
The first kiss of scorching lava sent knives of pain along my nerves but they soon burned away as my skin succumbed. I remember feeling the pain and wishing my body would just give out, but it wasn’t going to be that easy. I watched in slow motion as the molten rock covered my body, eating away my flesh and melting my bones. Knowing I only had time for one last sip, I took it as the meat of my forearm seared, then separated from the bone. The weight of the bottle proved too much and it dragged my arm into the sea of death surrounding me. In that moment, it was over. My death wasn’t much more than the melting away of skin and bones until nothing remained.
Had anyone mentioned death on a volcano’s terms would help me in the afterlife, I would have laughed at them. But to be honest, burning alive has made dealing with the heat and humidity of Hell slightly easier to tolerate…
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