“You have reached your destination. Please remember to collect your luggage and personal belongings. Thank you for choosing to travel with us. We wish you a pleasant stay.”
I looked around, my mind in a daze.
What is that smell?
Stuffy. And sweaty. Some other bodies kept fidgeting in the small cage.
Zero reaction. I felt the panic rise in me.
I got up, as others did, even though I didn’t remember ever getting into the seat.
A train? How did I end up on a train?
I swallowed hard. My memory was blank.
There is a large gap between the steps and the platform. You’ve gotta be careful.
I stepped out.
Clouds of dust were hovering in the air, and the air seemed to be lacking in oxygen. I tried a few deep breaths but they came with no relief.
A railway station?
A female voice sounded over the loudspeakers, but I couldn’t make out what the message was.
I thought I could feel my heart beatng in my fingertips.
Passengers still spilled out of the train and I wondered how on earth did they all fit, the tight crowd of bodies with no faces that swarmed all over the platform, each of them headed in a different direction.
I stopped one of them.
“Excuse me?” I didn’t know where you’re supposed to look when you’re talking to someone who doesn’t have a face. “What is this place?”
The answer I got: a fit of manic laughter. Then he left without a word.
I asked another one.
“Could you tell me wh–”
“Gee, you talk so much! Child, there’s no composition to your endless blabber! Have you reached your conclusion yet?”
“Conclusion… But I was–”
“I don’t care what you were, tell me what you are,” he scolded. “Are you a writer? How do you write?”
How did he–
Confused as I was, I fumbled in my back pocket for a ready-made answer.
The Guide on How to Write in 10 Easy Steps
- pretend you’re inspired
- pick up the most absurd thought and treat it as if it’s the truest of truths
- stand in the shower for half an hour
- watch the absurdity evolve in your head
- feel guilty about wasting so much water
- sprint out of the shower and writewritewrite till your fingertips bleed
- doubt everything you’ve ever done
- hate yourself
- reach the conclusion: you suck
- never write again
Never write again, you’re not making any sense.
I look around, my mind in a haze.
The shower’s still running, my skin red from the hot water.
Steam is hovering in the air, and the air seems to be lacking in oxygen.
I look in the mirror. My face is a blur. So is the inside of my head.
Have I reached my conclusion?
Don’t get on the Train of Thought at 2AM.