Howard rode the train this morning blankly staring out the window, not even watching the world flash by. He was an empty vessel. He was a shell of a man. You could have probably cracked his husk with a stick and he’d shatter into hundreds of amber shards. He just wasn’t home. Things had been getting strange.
It wasn’t an out of body experience, as he was still aware of being in his body. He was just in his mind. He was in there, opening old doors and drawers, blowing dust off the great tomes that contain the details of his life. He was perhaps, in a great retrospective warehouse, very similar to the one in Indiana Jones. He felt like he had to be there at that moment, like something was going to happen and he needed to be in the bunker of his mind. He just needed to make sure the things that made him his were still there.
He remembered seeing the people and things around him but felt somehow abstract from them. That he wasn’t really part of the world they all were participating. He didn’t hate them, or love them, or feel anything for them really. But he was aware they were there. His eyes were dry as he sat unblinking. He felt as if he was seeing through the curtain or backstage at the show that is life. The people who were so real a moment ago now seemed to fade away; or at least their bodies did. All that was left were hovering red glowing souls.
There was a purple hued pulse of electricity swirling and sparking through the air. It reminded Howard of plasma, or maybe the lightening that shot from The Emperor’s fingertips in Star Wars. There was a heartbeat somewhere. The walls of the train were neon green and the floor was like water flickering in the sunlight. Fantastic explosions of light burst in the windows and the train, or what used to be the train, seemed to be moving at an incredible speed.
Howard wanted to move but couldn’t seem to find the will to stop this transcendent experience of riding the train. Maybe the rhythmic beat of the steel train wheels over the tracks had somehow hypnotized him and he was now trapped in his mind or maybe transported him to a new dimension. He started to feel afraid. He felt the eyes, or rather the eyeless holes, of the other commuters on him. He could feel their stares. He just wanted to move. He wanted to move out of his mind and get back to the real world.
The train came to a hard sudden high speed stop and the doors opened. A new commuter boarded the train wearing headphone, that weren’t actually doing much to deaden the music coming from them. Howard was snapped back into the real world, he felt his body relax as the music blared in the head of the guy now sitting next to him. Howard was able to turn his head and look at the young man, this human stereo. Howard felt himself breathing again and could hear the coughing, sniffling, breathing crowds around him. The glowing was gone. The people were people, the train was the train.
Howard blinked to moisten his eyes, moved his arms and readjusted his legs. Two more stops to go and he could get off the train, maybe never ride it again.