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#TheDevilsMalware (The Continuing Adventures of the Gleaner – Episode 8 #AdventCalendar Edition)

The Devil’s Malware 8.1

Winter Village at Bryant Park 1

8.1
(We rejoin our hero at the #WinterVillage in Bryant Park trying to catch the F-Train express out to Forest Hills, Queens.)

With the painting of the two lovers safely strapped to my ratty backpack, I head down to 42nd Street.

The air gets colder and colder.

I pass through Bryant Park to get to the station entrance.

Need to catch the express.

The ice rink is up and the cubicle shops are open.

More crowds to maneuver through.

Everyone wants to come to New York City at Christmastime.

The Devil’s Malware 8.2
Wormhole Train 1

8.2
I catch the F-Train express and manage to find a car that’s not crowded.

At last. I’m heading home.

Everyone stares silently at nothing in particular as the train rumbles uptown.

The train veers east and we leave the island of Manhattan.

I reach back and touch the painting strapped to my backpack. I feel the velvety touch of the canvas.

The train passes through Roosevelt Island.

The train enters Queens.

Pass Queensbridge.

Pass Queens Plaza.

I watch the local stations roll by.

We stop at Jackson Heights.

Next stop Forest Hills.

The train rolls on.

The Devil’s Malware 8.3
Wormhole Train 2

8.3
But the light in the train suddenly changes.

There’s a flare at the end of the car.

Moving like a floating lamp.

A flash and everything changes.

Light. Sound. Color.

Everything changes.

No one but me notices.

They keep staring at nothing particular.

What’s happening?

What’s happening?

We pull into the Forest Hills station.

I quickly exit the car.

The Devil’s Malware 8.4
Central Park South

8.4
I rush up the stairs and exit the Forest Hills station.

Where am I?

It’s the dead of night and, for a moment, I think I’m nowhere.

As if I’m in the middle of a forest.

Darkness all around me.

I turn around and the train station I just exited is gone.

Gone completely.

My eyes pull focus in the dark and I realize I’m standing near the Pond at Central Park South.

Still on the island of Manhattan.

What happened?

Did I dream the train ride?

I reach back and put my hand on the painting still strapped to my backpack. I can feel the canvas.

The painting wasn’t a dream.

Did I imagine the train?

Or is the Devil real?

Is the plan real?

Was the wormhole real?

Am I caught in some kind of cosmic loop that won’t let me leave the island of Manhattan?

Has the Devil trapped me?

(Tune in tomorrow for the next installment…)

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