The trains are circling again as if they’ve always existed and the town between was never more than an afterthought. Day and night, night and day, dusk and dawn, and each minute or second between, I lose track, the trains are running and running and running. The trains the trains the trains. They never really stop. Even when they wait sullen and dull on the tracks for some arcane sign, some moment that I cannot divine, for the moment when they will move again…the insides of them never really stop. Inside of them, everything is still moving and humming and vibrating, somewhere deep within where the stillness cannot touch them. The metal is full of life.
It goes beyond timetables or cargoes or any who inhabit them, although I have never seen a person on any of these trains as they circle, wait, and “stop.” These “stops,” this “circling,” this “waiting”—it is obscure, it is horrifying in that it cannot be predicted and that nothing can be done about it. There is a disgusting element to this unpredictability, and it makes me think of the cars as metal on the outside but flesh inside, that if you were to break them open, each compartment would be scarlet red, and organs and blood would spill out.
I cannot even guess the schedule or order or orders, what pattern forms from above, if I were to build a drone and watch from above. I’m afraid to try. I’m afraid of what I’ll find. So instead I look for the pattern formed by their stillness and their solitude as they wait in the weeds of tracks, in the rust by broken dead refrigerators and old tin cans and bottles drunk in the gravel, coated in whatever amber liquid once was inside….and when these trains come to life, when they move with squeal and screech, when they run so long and hot and fast that this must mean something, that this urgency is creating some speech or language not meant for me. When this happens, I watch ever more terrified, but trapped here beside the trains, trapped with their language, all my senses robbed before it.
I never see a conductor. I never see passengers. But that is another theory: that they exist, inside the cars, the barrels, the cylinders. If there is no flesh within those compartments. Which would mean that although I cannot see them, they might be able to see me—pinprick holes in the outer skin of the trains—and if they see me they can comment on me and judge me for staring at them without knowing anything. For not understanding them, or helping them. If they need help.
Perhaps this is a hell I walk through, a punishment for crimes I don’t remember, and in there is the heaven—that if you cracked open a car, you’d find a cool dark center that feels like bliss. But I will never know. I’m am just out here, reacting to the trains. Reacting to the trains because they give me no choice.
Through their very blankness, the lack of effect in their non-faces, the seamless crunchy rust of them, the trains disguise their intent. They disguise not just if they have passengers who perceive me, but if the trains can perceive me and know me and assess me. But I’m not fooled by this aspect. I know what is going on, even if there is nothing I can do about it, even though I cannot get on the trains. They would not have me. But then if I did, they would have me, they’d convert me, and I’d be just like them, never stopping, never caring about the things humans care about, but instead turned into a being who cares about the mysterious things trains care about, that they scheme toward that, yes, the trains love. The trains love velocity and they love noise and they love the tracks that constrain them, too, and they love to ignore me while they also try to destroy me with their sound and their lack of attention. By their essential nature they break me down every day and every night. As thoroughly as if I was a threat to them, but not one that meant very much, that counted much. The trains the trains the trains the trains the trains the trains
End of dream #2