AW June Blog Chain: Set a Scene!

Self-explanatory, and an excerpt from Book 2 is behind the cut. :)

Notabene: would make a lot of sense if you’ve been to NYC’s Penn Station.


Good mother of all dear to me, this is creepy.

            Not that Charlotte had never been here before, but this was the first time that she noticed something was uneasy. The former red line, once home to the 1, 2, 3, and 9 trains, was not used any longer and Penn Station had long boarded off that entrance in favor of keeping it as the ground-and tube-track hub in and out of New York City. The blue line of the A, C, and E trains was used for deliveries still, but the original entrance from the Penn Station concourses was long defunct.

The Long Island Railroad was kept to the ground, but the cars had been updated many times over the years. Noiseless, comfortable and modern, the new trains carried commuters from so far as the endpoint of Montauk into the city within twenty minutes or less.

Penn Station remained one of the city’s busiest hallmarks in rush hour, but at this time, close to eleven o’clock at night, it was all but deserted. The whine of engines echoed from the downstairs and upstairs platforms alike as the last dregs of the commuters filtered in and out of the enormous structure.

Charlotte walked through the familiar upper concourse, past the signs for the transcontinental railway lines, the Westchester County and Maryland Express lines and all the while, an extremely disquieting energy tugged at her senses.

Why do I have a rather pervasive feeling that I am getting in way, way over my head here?

The thought was fleeting, but enough to make her stop and reassess her decision to do this. It was more or less because a year passed since the initial discovery of Dr. Morham’s body. Between KramerMed, Glaxeris and McNeill’s Lab, there had been a little too many reports of one hospital or another being shorted on their supply deliveries. The delivery train conductors had inventoried their cargo repeatedly ever since and could have sworn that all shipments were accounted for, but the manual inventorying by the hospital receivership departments had shown nothing of the sort. The NYPD summarily dismissed their complaints, blaming unscrupulous employees recalibrating the robotics in the loading process and effectively asking them to cease and desist with filing of any further reports.

Detective Jacob Warren, a college friend of Alex’s, was the only cop in the entire department who didn’t buy that it was an internal issue. It seemed a little too connected to him: the dead researcher and consistent medical supply disappearances. When he forwarded the KramerMed reports to the planet representative in the Galactic Council, he did so without his superiors’  knowledge. The planet rep, a woman who appreciated discretion as much as he did, said nothing and told both KramerMed and Det. Warren to issue a service call the minute things become a little too suspicious for comfort.

A year straight of disappearances from major pharmaceutical companies was enough for Charlotte.

She perked up as she sensed a rather disquieting energy, this time familiar: Senna Clark.

“Where are you..?” Charlotte muttered as her eyes drifted shut.

The trace was coming from downstairs, the underground platforms of the red line.

What the..? Those aren’t used for anything but deliveries.

As Charlotte approached the Eastern elevators, she saw that the lock on the stairwell that led to the old Long Island Railroad platforms was off.

With a shake of her head, she walked down the stairwell.

“All the way down, Platform 18,” Senna’s voice echoed from below.

“Abandon all hope, those who enter here,” Charlottethought aloud, thinking back to her favorite line from The Divine Comedy.

The loading platforms were still empty; the actual delivery time wasn’t set for another two or three hours. The old screens that had once marked the train route and its stops had been removed and replaced with large LCD monitors that would display which companies had supplies en route. The entire structure was painted over in bright white and well-lit, save for the actual tunnels themselves.

Senna stood in plain sight in the center of Platform 18, dressed in a black tunic, silver leggings and knee-high leather boots. Her white hair was clipped back into a severe-looking bun and from a distance, she looked a lot older than the thirty-seven that she was according to the KramerMed employee database.

slight edit to correct formatting issues with copy-paste.


Other participants:

orion_mk3 –
juniper –
Yours Truly Here :)
dolores haze –
jkellerford –
Ralph Pines –
TheMindKiller –
AuburnAssassin – (link to this month’s post)
pezie – (link to this month’s post)
WildScribe – (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes – (link to this month’s post)
Irissel –
Guardian –
Lyra Jean –
egoodlett –
cwachob –


24 thoughts on “AW June Blog Chain: Set a Scene!

  1. Whoo, first comment!

    Nice evocation of a lonely and creepy industrial-type location after hours. I suspect something untoward is to blame for the supply disappearances…

    One quibble: a lot of your Charlottes are conjoined to other words, probably indicative of some horrible lexical minotaur lurking in the wings. Or maybe typos.

    1. Woohoo!

      Thanks. And it’s a copy-paste job that kills some formatting. Yar.

  2. Very cool, very descriptive. I’ve never been to Penn Station but I’ve been there in my mind, now :) Definitely pulls you into the “creepy” feeling from the start.

    But are there things more creepy than a mostly-empty haunted train station? Probably not.

    Nicely done. I now feel quite inadequate.

    I did notice an extreme lack of spaces, lol. Just figured it was a copy-and-paste job that messed up the formatting or something.

    1. It was a copy-pasting job. Glad you like!

      I love train stations, but sometimes, especially in a grand one like Penn Sta., I can’t help but wonder how to use it for a setting.

  3. I like the sense of timelessness that the updated train cars give. A sense that Penn Station has real history behind it and that the more things change the more they stay the same.

    1. Even now, in the 21st, it is still an interesting place. I love NY’s railroads; they’re a bit of history that no one ever thinks about…but they’re in it every day. I wanted to keep that when writing. :)

  4. I was just thinking about trains the other day and how, despite advances in technology, railways are still important. Esepecially for delivering cargo. I’ve not been to Penn Station, but I can picture it in my head here. And I have been to Union Station in Chicago, so I definitely can compare and relate.

    1. I always thought that railroads are deeply underrated. And I don’t think Union Station in Chicago differs that much from Penn. :)

  5. I too love the palatable history of old buildings. That alone is enough the raise the hair on my arms. You did a great job of describing it too. A “disquieting engery” is such a fitting decription!

    Although, she does sense that energy for the ‘first time’ twice. The second time it’s Senna. Although, Senna is creepy…

    I was waiting for the ghost train and it’s unearthly passengers to pull in.

    1. Thanks! And whoops. Typo alert. x.x My editor and I both missed that one.

      And oh, Sennalia is a creepy, creepy lady. Her history…is another story.

      Man, I can’t WAIT to write Origins.

  6. Wow, I have to agree with Dale’s comments. I was sooo thinking a ghost train was coming. What an awesome, creepy description. I’ve never been to Penn station and after reading this, I’m not sure I want to go. :) I’ve been in the underground stations in Atlanta and there are some areas you don’t want to travel alone. Nicely done. And Senna sends shivers up my spine.

    1. Ghost train isn’t out of the question… ;) Hey, Book 4 hadn’t been edited yet. :D

  7. Great NYC setting, I love it! The industrial feeling and the creepiness, very cool… but creepy industrial is like, my favorite setting ever, so I’m probably biased! ;)
    Only one line kind of jumped out at me: “Why do I have a rather pervasive feeling that I am getting in way, way over my head here?” I dunno, “rather pervasive” just sounded really formal for something the character is thinking to herself? Unless she’s an uber-nerd, then I guess that fits :)

  8. Very eerie. I’m expecting one of those cheap horror shocks but when it doesn’t happen I know it will end up being worse. Very nice.

    1. I’m there on a pretty regular basis! I travel to Long Island for kicks, and…well, Penn has awesome food places.

  9. I love trains…I remember their signals haunting my childhood. They are so evocative in their own rights, no matter what else is going on in the story.

    1. I grew up with a serious railroad fascination. The fact that I have the best subway system in the country within reach helps!

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