Doll has always hated the subway. Each time she descends into those fetid, intestinal depths her skin prickles and her stomach roils; something deep in her unbeating heart recoils from the trains' steady rhythm.

But it's raining today, so she has to.

Things are almost normal on the surface; the escalators are safely mechanical and the advertisements purely mundane; buy this and go here and spend your money! Chase happiness!

Doll doesn't like the surface much either, really. Everything around subway stations feels wrong.

Her feet hardly make a noise on the suddenly soft stairs as she descends, trying her best to fade into the crowd. One hand probes her wallet in search of her pass; her other twitches uselessly as she resists the urge to touch the railing's glossy slime. This is normal—

She stumbles as she passes through the fare gate, feet catching on ground suddenly sharp and hungry; she breaks the crowd's rhythm and the thing behind her mutters its objection. Her apology is a prayer, pleading to be overlooked, begging not to be taken.

It works, this time.

She really hates it down here. Crowds have never agreed with her, no matter how routine, and it's hard for her to feel like anything about the subway is routine. Waiting on the platform she can already feel squishy tubes gathering around her ankles and juices dripping—

And oh, that smell! That horrible salt-iron smell, as sharply acidic as any lemon has ever dreamed of growing up to be. The track's grimy oil, the sweaty ozone, the faint reek of viscera wafting up from the tunnel as a freshly lubricated train oozes its way into the station ...

Doll's good at not throwing up. The world has taught her to control such urges. A nearby couple (tourists? Doll thinks so) are nowhere near as practiced, and it's their bad luck that they see the same world as Doll does.

Their deaths are messy; blood splatters Doll's dress.

At least they distract the rest of the crowd; at least no one notices the way that she hesitates just before the dilated doors as half-formed bodies shove around her, eager to find an empty seat or lost in the daydream that their speed will make their journey any faster. Doll doesn't want to get onto the train, doesn't want to risk it—but the next one might be worse, and she's seen what happens on empty platforms. She doesn't have a choice, not any more.

... maybe she should have risked walking through the rain instead.