The day must have had a number, a date - something to give it context - but that was dismantled by the ubiquity, or the ultimate nothingness, of the fogs. Even though the opposite was true, it seemed the things designed to move through the zone, whether on road, pavement, or in the air, could not, or at least there was no way of seeing if they were moving. What had befallen the quaint gift shops? I was forced to turn away from the whiteness in a flash: explosion-response reflex when the bullet thud of a machine in movement tore through the muted foggy spectrum. I couldn’t see it to confirm. But I knew it was a big-train, crashing through the outer zones. Violent connection of metal on metal, that sound itself a spook, but one disrupting the silence – bludgeoning through there, maybe into a dream-world, with an horrendous clatter. Maybe no one was on that vessel? The most essential thing about the train was that, once it departed, it helped accentuate the same silence that had also preceded it, leaving a glum noiselessness. I imagined being on the train, feeling the power of its movement but also its quietness, the shielded outside noise chugging behind the metal framework, the windows, and the closed doors. I imagined feeling content with the calmness of the lush fields on either side of the carriages, the landscape slowly becoming more visible as the trained decelerated, and elements of its features bloomed in-focus when proximity increased. Shopfront fonts. Trackside pub insignia. This was dreamlike because it gave the impression the train was floating or flying, rather than moving along tracks; moving through gloom, through clouds on each side now, high in this vantage-point wilderness that appeared so removed from the children’s toys glued to the ground, all innocent and snug. I nestled into that thought, that wonderful apparition of being the sole dweller on the eerie train and satisfied among the seats, the cool air brushing the back of my neck, the whistling airstream as it came through the windows. Rejoicing at the golden bars of light coming in flickering into the deserted space, the beams intermittently cut off as the express passed various obstacles blocking the half-there sun from view. I was floating light-footed, all senseless and invigorated... then… another contorted shriek that could have been foxes, could have been birds, but what? This drilled a terror chime into the mundane arenas once more, another howl to supersede and bury the familiar sound-attack of the train. That gliding monolith was now departed across the fields, steaming to some depth of Kent, its echoes swiftly drowned out.
© Copyright 2017 John Maher