I felt them both look at me. Him, scruffy, with a frayed shirt and his mate, with his shirt hanging loose, a cigarette dangling from his lips even though smoking was prohibited in the metro. Both of them conversed languidly, exuding an air of indolence and emanating waves of casualness like the exhalation of smoke from the second one's cigarette.
When they desultorily interchanged i breathed a sigh of relief but such relief was momentary and short lived. Their glances, frequently directed at me, suffused me with unutterable terror. They seemed to be thugs who would, at any moment, as soon as i disembarked rob me of all the cash i had and leave me beaten up and senseless, by the roadside. And they are glancing at me rather more frequently and i sense, in their dark, smouldering eyes, a calculation and guile that is unendurable to witness.
My pupils dilate, my heart beats fast. I feel chasms opening up beneath me, vertiginous. My knees are weak and wobbly. At any moment i might collapse and fall apart, sagging down maladroitly as my knees give way beneath me. I feel my teeth beginning to chatter. My tongue pushes out and retracts and i feel, uneasily that my teeth are shaking, that all my teeth will crumble into powdery bits. I am shivering uncontrollably. And strangely it strikes me that the more they witness my discomfiture the more resolute their decision to waylay me and attack me.
So i try to establish a modicum of control. I hold my nerve, try to breathe in deeply and convey an impression of imperturability. But even when my glance strays away from them i feel their malevolent gaze locked into me, boring into my haplessness with their calculating, penetrating resolve. Until it seems that not looking and looking merge into one wherein looking is equivalent to not looking given that my aegis of terror subsumes me and not looking coterminous with looking because their spectral presences insist on being acknowledged.
The metro , as a entity, crowds in on me. My senses expand, incorporating the immensity of the entire metro, the people who inhabit it and the two who haunt me. This entire tableau, inrushes into my consciousness with disembodied forcefulness until my mind expands expands expands and then bursts, as my growing terror reaches its peak. Everything atrophies around me, a conglomeration of disjointed images flash before me. I feel faint and nauseous and claustrophobic.
As soon as the doors open i lurch out blindly, five stations before mine and make a dash homewards.