It's healing. The music washes over you. The great slab of a seat shouldn't be as comfortable as it is, given the hard plastic just under the plush, but you get the sense you're on the right path, so you can relax and take a break. Just breathe. 1 Green grass, white pants, in and out rhythms. Head bouncing, transit speed stillness again. Late and far enough out to see the stars. 2 Seething. More synthesizers, amateurish. These feel like a friend made them, i.e. not that good, but worth encouraging. 3 Crashes. Weed. Money. Yelling. Manic smile. Bodies smashing into each other at an immeasurable volume. Chaos. Simple, internet. inter net. 4 Enough. Wobble. Head bobbing, taking in the smells. Someone is asleep on the other end of the car, slumped over. You feel lonely with the delicate hihats coming through your headphones. You remind yourself that the exit you made was deliberate. 5 White expanse, empty promise. An online game you used to play. You watched everyone slowly vanish from the husk of a once bustling world. Inspiring mysteries, increasingly paranoid bunnyholing. There were answers though, revelations! The feeling of catching the rabbit can't be beat. 6 The sun is rising and the train is speeding up. Here there's a huge expanse between the stops over a stretch of parched earth, stripped of resources then left to rot, too freshly ruined to recover. You're moving faster than the clouds, you wish you could hold onto something. Wish you had a joint. The stars are brighter at this speed. The sparse trees roar past, extracted and clear cut, all the limbs ripped off. It stinks. 7 Big exhale,, drifting. Ejected from a moving car, hung in a moment made infinite. breathe. guitar. insistence. turning inward, you hold yourself there. Invincible, like rain. 8 Armadillo seashell, spines. The train roars over a bridge that stretches over a reservoir. Sick. You feel a churning in your groin. Are you going to be sick? 9 One and fourteen, no, breath, counting, you're ok. You remember this constructed waterbody. Your friends would come out here and swim on warm stifling nights. It was extremely illegal, but you never got caught. The water was disgusting, all corralled to provide for the city. It looks much lower than the last time you saw it, exposing great walls of scum-caked concrete, but you suppose this season is especially tight for water management. The stars sparkle off the water. 10 god, the friends you had back then got up to some stupid shit. 11 They used to organize shows. They were a lot of fun, got a lot of brilliant people making and sharing music who would've fallen under someone else's thumb otherwise. They did a lot of good, not that that made the music any good. You and Sarah ran a lot of the tech behind the scenes, until she stopped leaving the house. Great big speakers and lights, sparkling visual effects. 12 You start coughing. It wasn't easy. You showed up once at the abandoned train station you'd scoped out earlier in the week to discover it scorched and burnt out. The party after that was somber, like you'd all survived something, like a curtain was pulled back to reveal a thing none of you wanted to think about. You all swayed together, present or absent, slowly into the morning light. Lucky. You met eyes with people who broke your gaze. How is it you can miss even them? 12 The shows got dark after that, the music got slower and more "immersive". There was a show in one of the older reservoirs, this one closer to the center city and long ago dried up. It felt like drowning. You all started singing together, it felt like there were thousands of you bouncing off the walls. 13 A thunderstorm ended that show, and you scrambled with Sarah and a few others to get all the electronics out of harm's way, while everyone else let themselves be doused by the rain. You remember looking up and seeing lightning flash across the two dozen closed eyes closest to you. You remember wishing you were someone else, someone who didn't need to worry about all that equipment. We were all so tired, caught in the hang until the thunder ripped through us, echoing and magnifying, knocking a few folks to the ground. It was a moment of mourning, of very sudden departure. People held each other tight, swaying to the static, atmospheric rhythms, afraid. Eventually the cracks of thunder gave way to sirens, and everyone cleared out. 14 Our wings were clipped and our horns were damaged, you all recoiled to a deeper sanctuary. Like worms. In the wet underground, you all found your way to Her, a creature. When you think of the city's underground, the thoughts give over to static. This isn't the time... . The train is slowing, pushing past the outer ring of the city. The remaining stops are within that ring. You remember exploring slowly outward in this direction as you contemplated your departure. They look different than you remember. You suppose you look different now too. 15 You look down and turn your palms up to face you, a tattoo nestled in the center of each: a circle in the right from a friend in the city; a potato in the left, from the same friend, but much later. The potato is recent, finished flaking about a few months ago. 16 At this stop, people gush onto the train. You lift yourself to stand, not wanting to have your exit barricaded. The styles have changed now too. 100% synthetics, bright colors that look like they've been dragged through the mud. A girl near the door has cat ears, which you would've taken as a good sign the last time you were here, but she looks so miserable you don't feel like you could approach her. 17 This one is the Hauptbahnhof.