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Title: Oblivious to Tentacles

Sarah stepped off the escalator and made her way to the end of the subway platform. She reached her favourite spot, right where the front of the train would stop. There were only a few people waiting this late, a contrast to the cram of bodies that were here at her usual leaving time. The screens hanging from the ceiling said two minutes until the next train.

There was sound down at her feet. She looked, then jumped back. A pair of grey tentacles were gripping onto the edge of the platform. A grey body, about the size of a small pillow, rose up. Two small eyes blinked, and then glanced up at her. An oval mouth opened up, ringed with tiny sharp teeth. Pulling itself further onto the platform the creature placed its mouth on the tiled floor and made a sucking sound. Disgusted, Sarah stepped further back and turned. A man was stood a few metres away. Like everyone else he was engrossed in his phone. "Do you know what that is?!"

The man looked up and at where She was pointing. He shrugged. "Dunno. Needs cleaning up, though."

Sarah looked back down. The creature was gone, but it had left behind a trail of what looked like foaming saliva. She stepped closer and looked down beyond the platform's edge. There it was, sliding around next to the track. She could see a third tentacle now, shorter but thicker, pushing the creature along from behind as its thinner front tentacles explored the way ahead.

There was a sound to her left, distant and clattering. The train would soon be here. She found herself concerned for the creature as it continued moving around near the track.

And then something huge appeared from the darkness of the tunnel to her right. A massive tentacle, several metres in length with suckers the size of tennis balls, slid along the ground until it was next the smaller creature. Sarah's heart pounded and she let out an audible gasp. She stared, transfixed, as the mass of the larger creature became apparent. Keeping low it pulled itself into view. Two large eyes were looking down at the smaller creature.

There was loud whine of electric motors now, falling in pitch. The train was arriving. Despite her fear Sarah's concern for the creatures deepened.

The huge tentacle nudged the smaller creature, which then climbed up and quickly slithered along it, passing between the larger creature's eyes and onto its back. There was another smaller creature there, a sibling.

Just as the train was about to arrive the huge creature, its children on its back, pulled itself up against the side of the platform and vanished from view. Sarah stepped back as the front carriage of the train drew to a halt right where the tentacled family had been moments earlier.

With a beeping sound the doors of the train opened.

Sarah stepped on-board and sat down on next to where she thought the creatures would be. She tried to look down through the window but could not see them.

As the train pulled away she looked around. The few people in her carriage were gazing at screens, oblivious to what she had just seen.

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All novels and stories published at this internet domain are the intellectual property of Peter Fothergill
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