Working desk job means exactly this: apartment, tube, workplace, tube, apartment. It’s hard to find sunlight anymore, but he doesn’t think he minds: maybe he’s already used to this. It’s been longer than he cares to remember.
He spends about two hours a day on the tube - not much compared to the amount of time he spends in his booth at work, but he doesn’t really register those eight hours. It’s like his mind switches itself off the moment he arrives to work and leaves him running on muscle memory alone. Time operates the same way when he’s at home, so by now maybe he’s only really conscious during the two hours on the tube.
Sometimes he stays back on the tube past his stop. Sometimes until it reaches the end of the line. Sometimes he takes the tube with the intention of going somewhere specific, but then just sits there as his destination flies past him into the dark tunnel he’s just passed. Sometimes he goes down into the stop, just to hear the quiet again.
Sometimes he sees maintenance doors somewhere in the tunnels, and for no reason he keeps their locations in mind.
Sometimes the tube takes a turn that he doesn’t recognize, and he feels his heart beating faster all of a sudden. He would stare at the railway through the window pane, counting the seconds, until the tube runs past a corner he knows, or until he reaches his destination. Those moments still happen to him after two years of taking the tube to go… anywhere, really. He thinks he has the whole map learned by heart by now, but the underground keeps proving him wrong.
There’s a community online for tube dwellers. He doesn’t know any of the dozen of members, online or offline, but he has come by some of them on other forums before. They don’t seem to be of any particular profile: there are men, there are women, ranged from 20 to maybe older than 50. The posts are few and far between, but some of them detail everything reachable by the tube. There are things even he doesn’t know.
He screenshots some of the posts and keeps the photos in a separate folder, for no particular reason.
The community hasn’t had a new activity for about three months by now. The members call themselves Rats. He checks through some of their personal pages on that site; the ones he checks have all been abandoned.
Maybe they’re tired of the lack of sunlight in the tube, he thinks on the way to work. The tube sways and trembles quietly, its hum fills the air. Humans aren’t made for the underground afterall.
concept of something vaguely formed in my head. I call it Rats of Spice City.