Liberty City really comes to life at night. During the day, it's crowded yeah, but not quite the same as the night. Nothing beats sitting on top of a skyscraper and staring down and the array of lights blinking and flashing in every direction. Occasionally, you can see a helicopter or plane pass by in the distance. It's all so full of life.
Who would've thought that just under everyone's feet is the ongoing network of tunnels and subway tracks. The trains run all through the night from the lighted loading stations into the depths of those damned tunnels.
Down in the heart of the trams lies a vast intersection of tracks. This area is also where a couple hundred homeless people flock to escape the cold and police. Most people like to call it Hobo Land. While I've not been down there myself, I have heard stories from people that have. A couple accidents happened which caused the train to shut down right on the tracks. People there conversed with the homeless people and came back with wild stories of a strange being that apparently lived down in the subway. This man could actually run swiftly - almost in a scurrying fashion according to several witnesses. The story eventually evolved to where the man was supposed to have excess body hair and the face of a rat - deeming the name Ratman.
It made the nighttime subway ride home all the more unnerving. I work in one of those skyscrapers you see at Liberty City. Most of the time, I get off at 9:00pm, just as the night life is starting to pick up. But it's almost always dark by then. A few of my coworkers take the subway home at night too, one of whom is actually a close friend.
At some point around a year ago, my friend - we'll call him Jordy - was caught up in one of the trams breaking down. Not even three hundred yards away was a maintenance entrance/exit for the tram workers. So Jordy told the driver that he would just walk up the exit and ride a taxi home. While the rest of the riders stayed aboard, Jordy climbed off and started his short hike out of the subway.
The only thing that is known after that is that around 4:00 am, police found Jordy walking down the street in a daze. He was covered in an orangish goo with the same texture as blood and stank like feces. It took a couple weeks for Jordy to even respond and once he did, he still had no memory of what happened between approximately 10:30pm and 4:00am when he was found.
I tried to talk to Jordy, since he was a good friend of mine, but he didn't appear to be the same man until at least three months later. After that, he returned to work and resumed his life, but still talked noticeably less than before.
One day, he and I were alone on lunch hour and he started to speak again. It was the first time I had actually seen him speak more than a couple words since the incident.
"I saw the Ratman," he said, staring at his glass.
"You saw what?" I asked, thinking he was still delusional.
"Actually, I fought him," Jordy said. "He just came running at me and before I knew it, I was being clawed up. It was mainly just scratches but - just the way he moved. It was so fast." Jordy shuddered. "I managed to land one good hit on him and dug my thumbs in his eyes before he started emitting this orange colored blood. That was what really got me. The smell was unbearable."
I wasn’t sure how to react. “What happened next?” I asked him.
"He ran off after I got his eye, but I am certain he didn't die," Jordy said, avoiding eye contact. "He's still out there somewhere. And I have to finish him off."
After that, Jordy became obsessed with this figure living in the subways. He'd often stay up all night riding the trams back and forth, hoping that it would break down. Other times, Jordy would actually take the extreme step of climbing down onto the tracks and following alongside of them into the darkness. Armed with a camera and a knife, he snapped pictures of anything that looked suspicious.
I only saw Jordy a handful of times after he became so fixated on the Ratman. Once, I visited his apartment. It was absolutely littered with newspaper clippings, sketches, printed articles, and alleged pictures - all of which supported the cryptid living in the subway. They dangled from his ceiling and covered the floors, walls, and even his bed. Jordy himself looked horrible as well. He rarely showered or shaved anymore, so he stank along with the apartment. I tried to convince him to go get help and try to clean himself up, along with his home. But he refused and I eventually left, defeated and worried about my friend.
A few weeks later, Jordy quit showing up at work. It was just like that - no notice, no excuse, just complete absence. When my boss tried to phone his house, there was no answer. We all decided it'd be best to visit the apartment again, since he lived alone. When we approached the apartment complex, there was a large group of police officers surrounding the entrance.
Apparently, Jordy had wandered off into the black tunnels of the underground railway one night and never returned. A full-scale search was started three days after he didn't return to his apartment building. The search team ventured towards the heart of the subway, all the way to flocks of homeless people, where they questioned many of them. A few of the more competent hobos reported seeing a troubled man matching Jordy's description. According to them, the man thought to be Jordy was distraught and nearly sprinting towards one of the tunnels. He was holding a flashlight and had it aimed in the direction he was running. After that, nobody saw or heard anything else.
After three more weeks, the search was closed and Jordy was given up for lost. There was never a body recovered, nor any evidence to suggest any fate for my friend.
Since then, I've avoided using the subway. I just can't seem to bring myself to see those tunnels again. However, some of my coworkers still take the trams home at night. The trains still break down at times and stories still come trailing back from the depths.
The homeless people still see a furry figure traversing the dark passageways of the tunnels. However, now, there's a new series of sightings. Every so often, it is reported that beams of light sometimes flash past distant tunnels. The description matches almost perfectly with that of a flashlight.
Part of me feels that Jordy died the night he ventured off the train and fought whatever that was down in the tunnel. But the other part of me thinks he's still down there. And whatever it is he needs to finish - well I hope he succeeds.