Station 4

Nah, I've never seen that guy before.

Seven words casually uttered as a group of friends slips into the stream flowing out of the car. "That guy" is frozen to the spot where he was standing. He's stunned. Confused. Angry. Wounded. Seven words casually uttered about That Guy. But in That Guy's eyes, you see those seven words might as well have been a knife.

Three minutes ago, That Guy and the Utterer of Seven Words were flipping through a comic book; excitedly talking and gesturing at the pages as the superhero defied incredible odds to vanquish a villain. They flipped to the last page and they let out a simultaneous squeal of glee. It made you smile because you often don't see kids that age express that kind of unbridled joy.

Then a group weaved their way through the crowded car to the dynamic duo. Three guys. Two girls. Seven Words saw them and his entire demeanor changed. The childlike joy froze into a practiced cool. That Guy was still looking at the page. Though his friend was still beside him, he was unaware that Seven Words was no longer with him.

Seven Words nodded his head at the guys in the group. He exchanged eyes with one of the girls and then asked what they're up to. They were going to see a movie at the next stop. Does he want to come? By this time, That Guy has heard what's going on. He stammered to say something.

The car squealed as it pulled into the station. The biggest guy at the group glared down at That Guy. Who're you? Everyone lurched as the car came to a stop. Before That Guy could say anything, Seven Words nervously laughed and directed the group toward the sliding doors.

You weren't hanging out with that dork, were you?

Nah, I've never seen that guy before.

Seven words like a stab in the back. The doors close. The car pulls away from the station. And That Guys stands there in frozen shock. Watching the tiles, the blur, and the darkness.

Station 5

Station 3