Looking out the small square window of the locked carriage door on the rear of the train I can see the burning remains my steel city left behind. I’m on a speeding train heading out of Nowherevillle and speeding into the dusk. Where the train is headed I do not know, however I do know that the journey is long, the journey is arduous and the journey is alone.
At the front of the train I look out the window all I can see ahead of me are shiny, cold, ribbons of steel, the rails that are guiding this train. There is no driver, the controls are set and the driver’s compartment is locked. I look around for signs of life, signs of help, sings of anything, but find nothing.
Looking ahead once more I finally see something, it’s a tunnel, dark, looming large and opening up to swallow me whole. As I pass through the entrance the entire train is thrown into darkness. There is no lights, the train itself has no illumination of any kind. I’m speeding into the pitch black darkness and I can’t even see a light at the other end of the tunnel.
I lose track on time within seconds of entering the tunnel. Have I been trapped in darkness for five seconds, five minutes, five hours, five days, forever? Out of the darkness a voice speaks to me.
“Hey friend, you’ve chosen the hard road.
You must travel alone in order to decode
The dreams of a broken, shattered and torn man
To stand on your own feet and work out your gameplan”
I can’t see anything anyway but stand rigid at the front of the train, too scared to look around for the harrowing voice in the darkness. Despite the dark I can still feel the train moving, rocking on it’s rails, it’s impossible to tell the speed but my haunted brain is telling me that it has increased since I entered the tunnel. Beyond hoping for something as simple as survival I begin hoping only that there is nothing in the way as the train speeds into that I can’t see.
It’s at that moment I begin seeing ghostly images floating in the pitch black. Transparent ghost like images that somehow glow in the darkness and move towards the train at great speed, then disappear as the train speeds through them. It takes me several moments, and several images, to realise they are images of my past. Too many are gone before I realise what they are.
Then like a horrible Christmas story I realise the images have changed to that of my present. My life, my work, my family, my wife, my kids, the ones I care so deeply for. There is no pleasant images, no images of the happy times, no images of the fun. Each and every image is a tormented twisted representation of the mistakes I made, the mistakes that put me on this driverless train in the first place.
I easily lose count of how many images have flown at the train, I also lose count of how many heart strings each of those images tear at as they disappear only to be replaced by another. I may have lost count but I didn’t lose feeling, each tug tearing my broken and barely beating heart in a different direction, each tug evoking it’s own harrowing scream.
Just as I begin thinking that this train ride will never end the images stop and I am again speeding into the pitch black tunnel. Yet again time has no meaning and as I wonder to myself whether I was to see a third flurry of images, something to do with the future maybe, then I see a tiny pin prick of light in the distance.
When the pin prick of light turns into a blinding bright light I suddenly have the taste of hope, hope that I’d found my shining light, my tomorrow, my future. The train speeds on, rocking on it’s rails and I can suddenly hear the whooshing of the wind as it escapes down between the sides of the train and the walls of the tunnel. I’m sure I hadn’t heard that noise until now, it has to be a sign that I am coming out of the darkness, surely!
I stare at the light, the train keeps moving, the wind keep whoosing, I suddenly began to hear the sound of the steel wheels racing along the track, clacking as they go over the joins in the rails. Where have these sounds been this whole time? My mind suddenly registers the single most scary thing it has ever come across.
The light at the end of the tunnel is not getting any larger as one would expect if they were exiting a tunnel. No matter how fast the train is going the light at the end of the tunnel is completely out of reach. I have no where to go and I am going there fast!