It was the last train, and Matt sat in that weird stance, half way between playing on his phone and blissful sleep. He wasn’t alone, and for once the rats weren’t the only company in the Bronx.
“Hey man, leave the lady alone.”
Matt looked up from another prompt to hand over cash in exchange for cheating his way through life to see a slab of a man squaring off against your typical clerk-dude. Behind the latter, a young woman was visibly shaking.
“We were just talking. Little chit chat. Why don’t you go back over there?”
“I said, leave her alone.”
Slab began flexing muscles in the way only a guy who didn’t know how to fight could. The clerk, for all his worth, didn’t back down. Maybe a sense of chivalry was guiding him; some old-fangled notion to defend the helpless. Matt had seen the type, many times. Normally it took a split lip before they realised the futility. This guy looked like he might even take it to level two, a broken rib.
“Please,” the woman said.
“See, she’s fine. Happy,” Slab said.
“I’m warning you,”; Clerk.
Oh boy, wrong move. Matt put his phone away as Slab grabbed Clerk by the scruff of his neck. Off-duty and tired and pissed off. But he was a cop first.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to move away.”
Matt stood, hands on his hip, just above his service pistol. Not on it. On it would provoke. He didn’t want to provoke. Slab just glared at him dumbly. Fight or flight.
The 5 chose that time to rattle into the station. Or Matt’s ears thought it was the train. The sound grew, the rails rattling until his teeth began to chatter at the same frequency. Clerk dropped to his knees and his protectee bent to help him.
The train light grew blinding, hot, until the dirty old tiles were stripped back to their former glory. Matt switched his hands from ears to eyes and back again.
And it stopped. And silence reigned.
Slab staggered away, limping towards the stairs without so much as a thank-you-and-fuck-off. Something had happened to Clerk, because his minder brought up hands streaked with blood. Ruptured eardrums maybe, he’d seen it before when some idiot fired off a weapon in a room.
Matt came up on one knee and looked down at the tracks. They were glowing, like two orange lines travelling off into the distance. Already they were cooling, from white to orange to blue and finally nothingness.
And where they were hottest lay a crumpled form. Matt dropped to the dirt, watching the humming third rail and carefully used a foot to gauge the bag of rags.
“Do you mean to defile me?”
“Let me see your hands,” Matt said, hand firmly planted on his pistol now.
“You have no dominion over me.”
The voice was brutal. Like an opera singer who had decided all of a sudden to smoke sixty a day while gargling battery acid. Mellifluous meets jarring.
“Sir, I’m gonna need you to place your hands on the…”
The pile of rags rose and Matt found himself face to face with wrath itself. The guy was seven foot, easy, and while he had once been the proud owner of a body that would crush that of Slab’s, it was now so torn and bloodied it was distressing to look at. One eye was missing, only a gaping wound where it had once been. Whatever had done that had continued on, down towards the jaw bone.
But none of that compared to the wings. They unfurled from beneath his rags, holes and ragged flesh scraping on the concrete of the tunnel as he flexed them appreciatively.
“This place,” Wings said, looking around at the tracks. “It is repulsive.”
“You’re not so good yourself,” Matt said.
Wings looked at him and glowered with one eye. He picked up a simple metal band from the ground, wrapping it around his wrist.
“I’m going to need you to come with me to the station,” Matt said, “for questioning.”
“Your world is about to crumble, and you care for petty laws. No wonder the scales have collapsed.”
“I don’t care, you’re coming with me pal.”
Matt drew his cuffs but Wings was faster. Matt was on his back, face inches from the still-hot rails, before he knew it.
“Your kind has broken the scales.”
“I heard you the first time,” Matt said.
“Then maybe now you understand.”
“Scales. Broken. Got it.”
“Do not play coy with me. The good,” Wings lifted his left hand, “and the bad,” his right, “they provide balance. But you people, you have shifted the fulcrum. You have thrown the whole system into chaos.
“You have collapsed the scales and it is my duty to right them.”
Prompt originally posted by Unknown on reddit and received 21 upvotes.