By Nora Vasconcelos
(You can read the 1st part here)
People screamed on the wagon. Horror was all around. In a second, James was gone.
Gone, but not dead. The dim light that covered his face added confusion to his altered state of mind.
He didn’t feel any particular pain, even when he could see some blood stains colouring different parts of his damaged clothes, which looked more like rags than the original suit that they had composed just a few moments ago.
Am I really alive? He wondered.
Then he saw him. A man approached him.
He got scared. It was then when he knew he was really alive …and helpless.
The man kept observing him as he got closed.
“Who are you?” James managed to ask.
“I am the one who lives in the subway tunnels.” He explained as he kneeled down to treat James’ injuries. His ability was unbelievable.
“Who are you?” James asked again. Not waiting for his answer he say: “you have act as if you were a doctor. How did you end up here?”
The man stood up and started to walk away, leaving James somehow fixed but alone and confused. Then he turned back. “Come,” he said.
Slowly and painfully, James got on his feet. With a limp and some groans, he walked towards him. But his steps were fast, and soon the only thing James could see were blurry shadows, among them, only one resembled the silhouette of a man.
Some meters ahead, he finally caught up with the man, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. This man, who had rescued him from the track and had cured his wounds, now was offering him a place to stay for Christmas.
“it’s not much,” he said, “but this will keep you warm until daytime comes and I can show you your way out.”
“Thank you …for everything.” James said.
While he was lying down, looking at the concrete walls he wondered if he should asked his savior one more time who he was and how he had got there, but he resist the urgency to know. Instead, he try to sleep.
The trains had stopped running and darkness covered all the space around him. Then all what had happened to him that long unusual day came to his mind. It had been only in the morning when he had gone to work, business as usual, thinking all things would be right, and just a few hours later, he was there, protected by a man who didn’t want to speak to him but who had saved his life.
Christmas day has already passed, was I even missed…? That thought made James shivered. Would I end the same as this man who has rescued him? Exhaustion prevented him from elaborating all sort of answers.
The first thing he heard the following morning was the typical sound of the trains running on the subway tracks. Pain all over his body reminded him of what had happened to him.
The mysterious man wasn’t there anymore. In his place, a thin envelop appeared. “To the man I saved,” it read.
Sitting down slowly, James took some time to come to full awareness. His fingers touch the letter and felt it. It wasn’t heavy, may be it was just a simple note. Would I get the answers to some of my questions? He wondered.
“Yesterday you asked me who I was and how I had ended up here. The truth is that I have asked myself the same two questions over and over. All I remember is that one day I was a well-known physician and the other I became this shadow of a man that you have seen. I have no recollection of what happened to me. But yesterday, when I saw you falling off that train and when I fix your wounds a sense of urgency took over me. I might never know how I ended up here, or who I am, but I do know now that I want to go out there and do more with my life. What will you do with yours?”
The note ended there. James was overwhelmed. There he was -or he had been-, contemplating the worst way to end all his predicaments when the sliding doors suddenly opened, and just a few meters away there was a man who had lost everything and he didn’t even know how or why, and even so, he wanted to live. What will I do with my life? It’s such a good question.
While entertaining this thoughts in his head, he discovered that on the other side of the note, the man had drawn a map showing him how to get out of the tunnels, and so, his life was about to start again.