Disclaimer I own very little, especially not CSI NY.

Author Lily Moonlight

Notes Oneshot, rather dark and angsty, written following Blue Shadowdancer setting me a poem to write a story to; an extract from 'Killing Time' by Simon Armitage. Thank you very much to Blue for all her boosting of my confidence! Thanks too for reading: marialisa, Forest Angel, fractured-fairytale06 and Miss Poisonous

This, following a suggestion from sarramaks is now going to be the first in a short series of oneshots written in a small launderette in Cornwall. So, whatever happens below is due to dryers in small launderettes in Cornwall being very slow, meaning I have to sit for ages on the cold floor waiting for my laundry to dry, with nothing to do but write…

The Future Waits

Wires running , endless lines. Straight lines. Electric, plastic, metal, human. Lines and lines and lines. The city, its lives, the people, running on lines. Parallel, meeting, bisecting, parting. Fates and lives. Lines that cross boundaries, districts, decisions, directions. Lives that do the same. We choose, we decide, lives on the line. Lives run on. Hair-thin strands, connections, joins, decisions. Lives joined.

Lines separated.

Lines crossed.

Signal, spark, flash. Subways, trains, lives, moving, tracks. On and on. Straight lines. Don't stop. Don't stop…

She stands by his door. Smiles.

"Hey, Mac."

Sparks jump, cross the gaps. Wires run on and on around them. Straight lines. A head looks up. Eyes smile. Blue, green. Flash. A brilliance of a second. His mind wonders along lines travelled before. She sits down. Legs curled under her. Lines bend and curve.

Sparks leap, connect. He hesitates, decides, asks. A future mists into possibility.

Invitation given, received. Plans made. Mists become mirages. Possibilities. He tilts his chair back, smiles. Eyes, green, bright. Eyes, blue, sparkle. Lips, smile, red. Lives intersect. Words flash between them.

"What do you have in mind?"

Memory sparks. He smiles again. Lives connected. Past, present, future. He tells her and makes her smile.

"I'm hardly dressed for dinner…"

He stands. Offers a hand and joins her fingers with his. She uncurls herself. A straight line, standing. Fingers touching. Wires, veins, electrons meeting. Cells of lives, of life. Their hands part and he tells her.

"It doesn't matter."

And tells her more than that in words that jump beyond the sparks of speech. And she smiles.

And the future waits beyond them. And waits. Each second, a line coils away, a second's difference. A moment changed. A life changed. Wires run into the future, a possible future.

Still possible.

The signal changes. Subway trains move. Green. Red. Green. Go. Don't stop…

"I'll meet you outside."

She leaves. He watches. Watches her walk away; on and along. Running on invisible lines. Click of heels. Sparks, each strike of the floor. He watches. Time, minutes, seconds, pass, flow. Are lost for ever. Future turns to present turns to past. One decision; a thousand, thousand wires that run from one chance created; one decision. A thousand possibilities.

Still time to choose.

Minutes pass. They meet, join, move. Hand on shoulder, just for a second. Feet stride together. They merge onto the street and a door slams behind them. Wires hum. Echoes ring. Round and round and on and on and on.

Electric currents flow. Subway trains move underground. On and on and on. Pass. Stop. Wait. Parallel. Never meet. Never.

The evening thrums round them. People flow. Currents ebb. Wires and lines of streets that life-electric flows along and along.

And far beneath, the other city moves along subway lines and trains and stations. Waiting lines and moving lines and lines that buzz with static. They stop and go and hum and sing. Lines go on and on and on. Signals stop and go. Parallel lines unwind and undulate and never meet. Trains stop and pass.

Never meet.

Wires and insulation below. Below the subway rails. Heated, hot, melting, burning. Exposed. The future waits on a filament of red-hot steel.

They walk together. Alongside, adjacent, together. Always meeting. Equal. Through their past and present and a future that could be.

Still could be.

Above the ground. Where lives meet and merge, converge. Always joined. Connected. Forwards, forwards. Onwards.

And the future waits. Their future waits. A future waits and shimmers beyond them. Hangs on a spark. On a decision. On a wire. One second. All change. All stop. He looks at her, and a spark jumps in his mind. He sees a flash of the future. Their future. Brilliant bright. He stops.

Sparks jump, catch, strike. Bare wires touch; spark, heat, falter. Junction boxes crackle. Blue light flares. Electricity. Points slide. Tracks move. Lines go on and on and on. Signals stop and go.

She turns, sees, smiles. The spark jumps, crosses the gap. They stop. It all stops. His mouth opens and the words pause. Eyes, green smile into his. He speaks…

And stops. Invisible wires and signals. The air trembles. A sound breaks the line. Their line. Their future. His phone shrills and he answers. New words. New possibilities. New future. The ghost of a future never to come vanishes. Another thousand wires uncoil and wriggle away into the future unseen. Unseen, unknown, unwanted. The conversation ends. He turns to her.

"You have to go." She says.

One second. One pause.

"I can send someone else…"

They know the past. They know what the present decision will be. They guess the future.

"It's okay. We can do this another time."

She smiles and he frowns, but speaks the words into the phone anyway. The words he has to say.

And the future waits in shades of grey and green and red, and lies in wait. Lies in lines and wires and seconds. And decisions.

Underneath, the subway lines run on and on. The trains run on and on and never meet. Safe on their lines. Separate and safe between the red and green of the signal lights.

And the future waits.

"You need me with you?"

She asks and the moment hangs. The future teeters; the fulcrum of a decision. One future, another future. He hesitates. Weighs the balance in his hand. One spark to decide. Synapses flash.

Yes…

And he speaks.

"No."

She understands. Smiles and nods at his apologies. And the ghost of a future flickers out. Words he would have said remain unsaid. Possibilities fade and die, and they part. Decisions bisect lives. Lives part, depart. Run on.

Another train departs. Moves along its lines. Straight lines. Parallel lines. It moves on, passes the signal. The signal with the wire that sparks and crackles.

She walks away. Green eyes. Red lips. Hair that curls away from straight lines. Blue eyes, spark gone, watch her go and watch the crowds bisect in her path. She disappears. Along the streets. A wire's route that weaves and turns and bends round corners. No straight lines.

Gone.

He walks away. Straight line. Straight on. No looking back.

She reaches the subway and stops. A decision, another branching point. Another future sparks into existence. Waits. And the writhing wires straggle forward as people pass around her. And the future becomes the present, and becomes the past. On and on and on. She decides. Down the steps, into the subway. Leaves the ghost of a possibility walking away down the sidewalk and vanishing.

Gone.

And the tunnel waits in gloom and swallows up the lives within the metal carriages. Signals change. Lines part. Wheels turn. Trains move.

And another future forms and waits.

He walks on, further on. And disappears between the lines of the city.

The subway waits as she descends. Heat, oil, roar of mechanics and leviathans of metal and electric. Hiss, click, tick. The train emerges from the darkness, armoured in a metal carapace. And waits. Hurrying now, she clatters down the steps. Someone pushes, her purse falls. She stops, exclaims, drops down and fumbles for it.

The train waits.

Beyond in the tunnel, the wire sparks. The signal flickers, blinks, recovers. Doors open. Electricity pulses. People move. Currents flow on and on and on. Never falter. Never stop. Sparks jump. Connect.

She grabs her purse and the last dropped object from it. Hears the slow glide of the doors closing. Runs down the steps, along the platform. But the doors hiss shut. Too late.

"Dammit!"

Palm smacks against glass as the faces inside, ghosts glassed in dusty windows, watch indifferently. Wires hum, engines whirr, electric currents snap and crack and the train leaves. The faces blur and pass and go. Gone without her.

Gone.

And another future forms and waits. And another wraiths away. The future created and destroyed on the turn of a second. Who goes. Who stays. Who lives. Who dies.

And wires hum and sing and call and signals change in the blink of an eye. Red to green to red to green. And one wire grows weaker and sputters and the signal light trembles.

Red anger in green eyes. She curses again, feels the weight of disappointment. Opens her phone. And hesitates. Signal gone. She snaps it shut. Checks her watch. Next train seven minutes ahead. Looks at the exit. Another decision creates another embryo of possibility. A pause as thoughts turn. Then she turns away, decided. Stays on the platform to wait and pulls away the wires of life. Wires that run on and on as another future dies.

And below, along, in the dark unseen, a spark along a naked wire hisses and fizzes and dies. Green to red to green.

Seven minutes before the next train. Seven minutes of the future, that the never stopping present devours. Second by second the future dies to the present, becomes the memory of the past. Time runs on and on as she taps her foot and waits and waits.

And the next train pulls in.

And electricity darts across the gaps. Crosses lines not meant to cross.

And in another place he stands and waits and reaches for his phone. Hesitates. Remembers. The flash of her eyes and smile. He remembers. The seconds fall away. Lost, one by one. As another future waits. And standing around him, the ghosts of other future fades. Futures he cannot see. Ones he will not see; that they will not see. Ones that spark and flare and burn bright, and would have done for years ahead. His hand hovers over the phone.

And a future waits.

Sighing, she thinks of the evening that changed from a meal shared to a journey alone. Changed on the chance of a second, a decision, a hesitation. Changed, gone, lost.

Lost.

Train doors open. She hesitates again. A future self, translucent, waits and wavers. One moment. Bisected. Two possibilities branching from one decision. One choice. One future.

The winter wind cuts through him and the blows ice needles through his skin. It numbs his fingers. His phone slips, drops.

She looks at her phone. It blinks. Fails.

She shrugs, decides, walks to the front carriage and steps on the train.

And the last ghost of her future walks away along the platform and fades to nothing.

Gone.

He picks up his phone, decides, calls and hears her phone ring.

But the future has gone without her.

And her phone rings unheard as she moves along the carriage.

And wires that control signals spark and buzz and blink. And electric currents flow on and on and on. And falter.

And voices on the train around her speak in murmurs and rings of sound.

And her phone rings and rings and rings unheard.

And wires run on and on and on, unseen, unknown. And sparks flash and jump. And miss. And a circuit breaks for a second, only a second. Enough of a second.

And phones ring and speak and call around the carriage. And voices answer. And eyes stare and lines pass and wheels turn and trains move. And bodies sway inside, weightless, as they run on. Trains run on and on along lines. Lives on the lines. Wheels turn and move along tracks that never meet. Parallel lines. Never converge. Never bisect. Never meet.

Carriages rattle on and along, lulling her with the rhythm of straight lines. Reflections pass behind glass. Her eyes, other eyes. She watches. Remembers. Remembers his eyes and the smile and the chance. Thinks of the future, the next time, the next chance. And her phone calls her unheard.

And wires and currents and lines spark and flash. Wires meet and merge and converge, spark and burn. And connections fail.

And beyond, along the tracks, another train runs on. Another cargo of lives held in trust. Lives that run on wires, on seconds, on chances and decisions. On and on and on, until they stop.

And the future waits.

Two trains.

One signal.

Two trains.

One track.

Two trains

One signal.

Two trains…

And he lets his cell ring and ring until her voice which is not her voice answers him. And he leaves his voice and ends the connection.

And she stares out of the window and sees herself reflected. Green eyes. Red lips. Sees his eyes and smile. And thinks of the future.

And powered by wires and sparks and currents, a signal blinks. And red for stop turns to green for go.

And the future waits.

And two trains run on and on, and faster and faster, towards each other. On and on and on. Two trains that should never meet. Running on. Two trains separated by a red light.

A red light that has changed to green.

Green for go.

So two trains go. Run on. Do not stop. Continue along one line, one towards the other. Unstopping, on and on towards each other, towards the unstoppable future. Two trains run on and on and on until they meet…

And collide and bisect in a pandemonium of noise as the future hurtles forward and crashes into the present, and destroys itself in a grotesque embrace of metal, heat and sound.

And everything that never should, converges and joins and connects. Metal and flesh and trains and tracks. The horror of a second. And everything stops. Sound, time, lives. With a shriek of collision that echoes and shakes the subway tunnels. As metal slices metal, and bleeds out life.

Lives stop. Lives lost. Futures lost, gone.

Lost.

And they fall amongst shattering, contorting metal lines. Amongst screams and terror. Amongst lines that bend and snap and crush. Wires snake and curl and choke. Straight lines distort and break. Leave tracks of blood and take lives in return. And green eyes see red and red and red…

And nothing.

And he calls. And calls again. Signals shake. Phones vibrate, ring, call. And as the hours pass and news travels along wires and lines he still calls. And hers is not the only phone that rings and rings amongst the rising heat and smoke and ashes that blow away underground.

Too late. Too late. Already lost. Lives lost to the future that turned on a wire, a decision and a spark that failed.

And he calls and runs, on and on through streets that slip and stumble and slide away from him even when he knows, he knows. And the ghost of the future he did not choose melts away from him as he calls and calls and her name rings across the lines and wires of the city.

Stellastellastellastellastellastellastellastella…

On and on and on. And wires run into his heart and run red with blood and memories of green eyes as he runs down the steps and the same platform her ghost passed along.

Gone.

Hours before. And in a crowd of people running and running and shouting, he crosses the lines, jumps onto the buckled tracks and runs on and on. Sparks flash. Wires hiss and spit. Lights flicker and blink and wink out. And he stumbles into the carnage of bisected trains and broken lines and phones and wires and lives. And others follow and call for the lost. And lives are found and carried over the lines. Sparks, bright, burning. Hands touch, connect, join. Lives are found, but not enough. Not hers. And phones ring on and on in the darkness and call the living and call the dead.

But the dead do not answer.

And he searches and hopes and calls and she still does not answer. And he searches on and on with the other lives that do the same. For her life. His life. One life. Their future. And the sparks and the past and the hope that fades. Fades as they find the lives that are lost. Flickers and trembles and fades.

And fails.

As she is found. Too late. Life lost. And he finds the future is lost. Lost in bloodless lips and sightless eyes. Red, green gone.

Gone.

And his heart sparks and stutters and stops. And he staggers and his straight lines bend and snap. And break.

And along the line, past the wreckage of trains and lives, the wires spark and flash. Electric jolts and flows. And the signal blinks and changes from green to red and stops.

This is very different to my usual stories I think, and yes, I've killed characters, again, I'm sorry. This sort of wrote itself. I'd really love to know what you think; good, bad or just odd? Reviews very welcome. Thank you, Lily x