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Without such detail the mystery remained – that rare quality of unclarity when almost every other nook, all outposts conceivable were charted and listed, each dimension known. But, somehow, this unique land had resisted it so far. Outside the window that impenetrable space remained, but to him it seemed homely and accommodating, he thought, as the tube-black expanses between stations seemed to grow bigger.

He thought he saw vague, pastel outlines of the printing presses as a reflection in the train windows, but these might have been appearing as flickers only as a trick of the mind. The flows of paper coming off the roll, or the fractured Morse code of the lights on printing machinery. But it was just second-hand copies of the Standard or the crazy animal games on people’s ginormous mobile phones. The volume of travellers dissipated; he grew weary, as all would eventually, even if they were mildly enjoying the ride.

His heartbeat rose in anticipation of what was ahead and getting closer, even if he couldn’t work out what that was and in spite of the possible let-down connected to it. Then the realisation came that he had travelled too far, that a change was needed. So when the doors whooshed open at the next stop he stormed out and caught the next train back in the opposite direction, admitting that there was more opportunity there, in the more crowded catacombs.

At each stage of the way he sensed the growing proximity to the tenseness of the other bodies, that unique smell and not only that, the aura too; who knew what it really was but it lurked there as a moody thing, a restless thing, a bold and boundless thing, with something dangerous locked in those labyrinthine warrens that perpetuated chaos - at first sight - but which was actually representative of the biggest kind of order, in various forms.

He was still vigilant. Alert for some kind of kind of sign that would form a catalyst for his spirits, and an attempt at an awakening. The underground bullet felt heavier as it sped along the arteries to an imaginary centre or place resembling a zone of crammed-people density.

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© Copyright 2016 John Maher