The Silent Tram

The tram rattled it way through the darkness of Melbourne suburbia.

The iconic whir and grind of the tram lulled everyone onboard into a strange stupor, of boredom and listlessness. For Jordan Bordeaux, this daily purgatory was his only way home, after a long stint at the office.

An unassuming man in every way, Jordan was boring and single. A man in his early 30s, he had no future aspirations or career options. He was the classic loner, happy to work in a dull accounting firm, and then head home to his humble abode and play video games for the rest of the night.

Tonight though, he had an important task.

Even now, as he stared out at the dark suburban landscape of Melbourne, the houses blurring by under weak, amber lights, and cars racing by underneath him, Jordan was still grappling with the unexpected task that has been thrust upon him by his boss.

Jordan, it’s very important to me that this briefcase be delivered to this client. He will meet you at the Burwood One Shopping Centre. Don’t worry about meeting this client, he’ll see you.

When you meet him, just hand it over and go home right away. I would do it myself, but I have to tie up a few things here at the office. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure this is part of your overtime pay. I really appreciate this mate.

Jordan, knowing deep down, he couldn’t refuse, had meekly responded and after work, had hopped onboard the 75 Vermont South Tram that would take him to the shopping centre.

Ever since that incident, his boss had been a bit colder. Today though, he seemed a bit warmer. Perhaps forgiveness was coming. Jordan was eager to keep the peace, so he decided to run this errand.

Having never possessed a car, let alone venture outside of his Richmond area, Jordan was nervous. He was used to the tram itself, as it took him home, but he had never been this far along the line.

As it was, Jordan was sitting in his usual spot, at the rear of the tram, the brown briefcase on his lap, his laptop bag underneath. The briefcase was oddly heavy, but Jordan didn’t dare open it, for fear of losing his job.

From his spot, Jordan had a door in front of him that he could exit out of, and see the whole length of the carriage.

Few souls were on this tram this late, most of them staring emptily out the window, waiting for their ride to end.

Near the middle of the tram, was an old couple muttering about a film they had just seen, the husband acting out scenes to his wife’s amusement. Their interaction filled Jordan with a envy he had not felt in a long time.

Only 2 booths in front of him was an attractive hipster girl, her classy white dress offset with black booties. Jordan found himself invariably drawn to her. Her head rested on the window, and there was something beautiful about how the light played across her face.

On the other end of the carriage, near the driver’s cabin, sat Jordan’s twin, another quiet, bored businessman in a suit, his fingers dancing his phone screen as he communicated with a flurry of friends in a group chat.

The last two occupants in the large tram, were young. A nursing student in her blue slacks was watching K-drama on her phone, her headphones blocking any sounds from the outside world.

Across from her, on one of the standing seats, was a bored teenager, his skateboard in one hand, his other supporting his schoolbag. The teen did nothing but look out the window and occasionally tap his board against his leg.

Jordan felt himself lurch forward, as the tram decelerated to a stop.

The doors slammed open, and no one got off.

Instead, a hooded man step onboard.

Decked out completely in black, the hooded figure had a balaclava that covered the bottom half of his face, sunglasses that obscured his eyes and a military styled backpack slung on his shoulder.

Scanning the length of the tram, the blacked out man silenced the tram with his presence. The old couple stopped talking and the husband defensively held his wife’s hand in reassurance. The hipster girl moved her bag across her stomach, wary and unsettled. The teen looked down, and avoided eye-contact. Only Jordan’s twin and the nursing student ignored the newcomer, unaware he was onboard.

With a blank stare at Jordan, the hooded man moved away and without hesitation, sat down with the old couple, looking at them silently.

Expectantly.

The old man swallowed, whilst his wife moved into the corner. Reaching up deliberately, the hooded man pulled the string that signalled for the tram to stop at the next station.

The old man nodded in acquiescence and minutes later, the old couple was disembarking, holding their belongings close. The skateboarding teen, seeing what was going on, also immediately jumped off, the sounds of his board skittering across the concrete pavement, a distant echo of panic.

Without any sound, the hooded man moved towards the attractive girl, and stood in the centre of her seat booth.

She looked up at him in abject fear, shaking slightly.

The blacked out man raised a single finger up to where his mouth would have been and nodded mockingly.

The girl grabbed her shoulders in fear, as the man leaned over and put his face close to hers.

Jordan watched in horror, straining to hear anything as the girl, tears streaming down her face, nodded obediently to the man’s quiet commands. Then in a burst of fear, she ducked out from under him and ran away through the carriage, frantically pressing the button for the next stop.

The hooded man didn’t move, instead he sat down in her place and placed his gloved hand over the still warm seat, as the tram shuddered to a stop and the girl ran outside into the darkness of a strange neighbourhood, nearly getting hit by a careless driver.

Jordan looked on in abject horror as the masked man ran his hand over the seat, lingering and savouring where the girl had just sat.

Run! screamed his mind. But what about the briefcase? inputted his logical side.

The indecision froze Jordan in place. He didn’t know what to do. He was an accountant for god’s sake. Sweat pooled underneath his arms, and across his forehead.

Once the seat cooled, the masked man stood up unerringly and made his way to the nursing student, her back to him. He moved smoothly and silently, his dark presence only amplified by the lack of sound coming from him.

In a freak coincidence, the tram rumbled over a piece of debris, causing the electricity to short out for a second, casting the carriage into darkness.

In that second, the masked man placed a gloved hand over the student’s mouth and slammed her head into the window of the tram.

Crack! Crack! Crack!

Blood slowly trickled down the glass and temple of the poor girl, as she lolled listlessly with the movement of the tram.

It happened so swiftly, so viciously and violently, that Jordan’s twin barely had any time to do anything before he was pounced upon by the masked man.

No! No! Urk! ….. Pleaseeee ….

The masked man was coldly efficient. Using the man’s tie against him, he wrapped it around the man, and as he twisted and choked the man, the dark figure bought his knee up and slammed it repeatedly into the twin’s head.

As the man slumped to the floor, the masked man, in a strange frantic state, scrabbled through the man’s pockets, and bag and briefcase.

Jordan, his mouth agape, began to furiously pull the string for the next stop. He couldn’t peel his eyes off the man, who was kneeling astride his twin, his hands rummaging and pulling all sorts of things out from every pocket.

What the fuck is in this briefcase?! screamed Jordan internally.

It was at that moment, the masked man took of one of his gloves. Jordan eyes widened as he beheld a blackened, claw of a hand, with viciously long fingernails and open sores. He clamped his hand over his mouth, stifling the scream that died before it come out, into a whimper.

The tram kept moving. A ghostly vehicle, amongst quiet suburbs and homes.

The masked man, ran his hand along the unconscious man’s cheek, stroking it, in a perversion of care, as his nails drew a line of blood.

Why isn’t this working!? thought Jordan as the plaintive peal for a stop kept being ignored by the driver.

Then he froze.

The masked man was now looking directly at him.

Rising to his full height, the masked man stared at the terrified Jordan, clutching the brown briefcase tightly to his chest.

Recognition of the prize, shone in the masked man’s eyes.

There was nowhere to go. The tram was not stopping. Jordan didn’t know how to fight.

End of the road.

The masked man walked slowly over to Jordan, his pace measured and agonisingly slow.

The lack of noise was terrifying. It was like seeing a shadow come towards him. It was impossible not to stare at the claw of a hand.

The masked man stood before Jordan, who was now quivering in apoplectic fear.

He stretched out his hand towards the briefcase.

Jordan, bravely or stupidly, held on.

The cut that appeared on Jordan’s right cheek was so fast that he didn’t even have time to register it, before the next one appeared on his left.

Blood oozed out from the pair of cuts and Jordan felt, rather than heard, a scream of pain erupt out of his lungs.

He sank to his knees, dropping the briefcase, which never hit the ground, because the man caught it in an blink of an eye.

Jordan Bordeaux wet himself in fear, before his eyes lolled into the back of his head, in a stupor of anxiety.

Just before darkness completely engulfed him, he could have sworn he felt something pierced his neck …

~

The masked man ripped open the briefcase and exposed the contents within to the world.

Under the flickering lights of the tram, the briefcase yawned open and the masked man pulled out what he really wanted the whole time.

3 blood bags, with a needle and catheter.

Behind him, the nursing student rose up on her haunches as did the business man clone of Jordan.

Their movement were worthy of a contortionist. From the floor, the female student stood with her legs first, before lifting her upper torso into the correct position. It was like seeing a yoga pose in reverse, and all the more unnatural because of it.

As for the clone, he merely just crawled forwards. The lower half of his body was left behind. The bizarre image of only half a man, without his legs, just using his arms to propel himself forward eagerly was something that would only be normal amongst the three of them.

The pair of them gathering around the masked man, their mouths open, teeth bared in anticipation.

The masked man stroked Jordan’s cheek in a bizarre parody of care and tenderness, sensing the strong heartbeat underneath. He scooped a drop of his blood on a long fingernail and lifting his mask, savoured the metallic taste.

Nodding approvingly, he stepped aside to let the student work, who immediately started searching for a vein to insert the needle and start the process. The Jordan clone flexed his muscular arms and began to massage Jordan’s arm intensely.

The first blood bag was filled in 15 minutes.

The second, was over in 10.

The final one, was in a record 8 minutes.

The masked man, nodded approvingly at his associates and they nodded back, their teeth still bared in anticipation for the final order.

But he shook his head and gestured to the front of the tram.

Disappointed, the pair of them retracted their fangs and sullenly returned to their seat, to pack their items, each of them clutching a precious blood bag.

The masked man looked over at Jordan, his pale features, now a sickly shade of marble.

There was just enough in there.

Leaving behind the briefcase, the masked man looked at the note written hastily, with a nervous hand.

Jordan Bordeaux // AB+ // Sentence: Voyeurism on his employer and mistress.

Snarling with amusement, the masked man pulled the string.

Minutes later, all three creatures had disappeared into the night, into the surreal suburban landscape of Melbourne.

The tram rattled on, this time quicker, as it neared a junction.

Pressing a button, the tram’s yellow text flashed red momentarily, triggering a switch in the rail.

Diverging off its normal course, the tram made its way through a darkened alleyway, where it was immediately swallowed up by a shed that opened its door when the tram came close.

Red light flooded the interior of the shed, and the tram driver stepped out from his cabin, to stare at his prize.

Like the other creatures, the tram driver had a disfigurement that needed blood to prolong his life.

The nurse needed blood to stand properly without slumping over. The clone needed blood to continue to use his legs. The masked man needed blood to cure his skin.

But the tram driver needed blood to keep his eyes.

They were incredibly bloodless. So much so, that they were nearly rendering him blind. He drove the tram almost by feel, recognising every bump, every jostle on the road.

The tram driver walked through the tram, blind and his teeth bared.

Jordan was now barely alive. But he was conscious enough to know that it was over. His boss had sent him on this tram ride to hell, to get rid of him, for being an innocent bystander.

All because one night, he forgot his keys and had to tram back to get them.

That one night, was when his boss was having his secretary from behind and they were caught mid-peak when Jordan walked in.

As the tram driver bit into his neck and began to draw the last of his blood out, Jordan didn’t even have the energy to scream, all he could do was despair silently, as he knew no one would miss him.

In a strange way, he felt a sense of relief that his lonely existence was over.

The tram driver could see again. His eyes pulsed furiously, as blood rushed around his pupils and his eyesight was restored to a familiar red tinge.

Grabbing the bloodless corpse, the tram driver opened the door to the iconic public transport vehicle and began to start up the incinerator.

The ashes would be spread in his garden later, and when the opportunity was right, the boss would be charged a significant fee for their services.

The vampiric tram driver got back into the seat of his tram, licking his lips, and wondering when the next victim would come aboard. Flicking the tram line text from red to yellow, the tram driver settled back into his role, sated and happy he could see properly again.

Within minutes of the schedule, the tram was clattering along the streets of Melbourne, none of her citizens the wiser about the dark exchange that had happened on their network.

Author’s Note:

While this didn’t quite turn out as well as I wanted, I always liked the idea of a terrifying public transport option, where things go wrong very quickly and you’re trapped aboard, but none of the outside world notices.

I was actually semi-inspired for the ending by my recent blood donation and thought I would incorporate it in.

See you at the next one!

~ Damocles.

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