Everything was starting to fade now; light, memory, hope. The carriages went on and on into the distance, like some art class on perspective that he had been dumped in the middle of – except there were no other students and the teacher was AWOL. How had he got here? It was impossible to recall, but he thought he had been searching for something. His brain felt fuzzy at the edges, like it was gradually being erased, art class again he thought to himself, never was any good at it. ‘You’re too much of a perfectionist to be creative’, his father had told him once, ‘art isn’t about being perfect, in fact good art should be necessarily imperfect.’
He looked into the distance now, watching parallel lines come together, an arrow pointing the way, or a dead end? Was everything just a matter of perspective? Wasn’t there anything that was singularly true, unquestionable no matter how you looked at it? As he stared toward that narrow horizon he was startled by a sudden sense of movement; the carriages to either side of him, seen in his peripheral vision, travelled at such speed that they had lost all form and feature, had softened into a charcoal smudge that sped along the tracks in a direction that was neither one way or another. He thought they were racing ahead of him, but a slight alteration in his senses; a blink, a heartbeat, a breath, and they seemed to be moving the other way. All this passed in the time it took for him to turn his head and discover, to his astonishment and dismay, that the carriages were not moving at all.
At first he was filled with anxiety, certain he was crazy. Each time he saw the carriages from the peripheries of his vision they were travelling at what must be over one hundred miles an hour, but when he turned his face to look head on, they were still and silent and unequivocal in their lack of motion. He crouched down and peered underneath the carriage to his left and then to his right. Nothing, just a deep heavy blackness that made his stomach sink.
He got up, brushing dust from his knees and continued on, giving his absolute focus to what he considered, for his sanity, to be the end point, but which he knew, realistically, was no such thing. The end point moved on at the same pace as he walked towards it. Yet what else could he do? Should he give up? Lay down in protest at the absurdity of his situation? After all he wasn’t getting ANYWHERE! Goddammit, he cursed himself. Think man! Think! Get some damn perspective!
And suddenly the thought came to him. A simple notion, a final idea before his mind became something else. He put down his backpack, took off his coat, carefully folding it and leaving it to rest beside his bag. He reached for the carriage on his left, set one foot onto the metal strut that ran along the bottom, took a final look down the narrow avenue that he had been travelling since things had begun to fade and, with absolute certainty, he lifted his other foot off the floor, and he flew.
His father sat at his bedside, holding his hand. Saw his chest rise and be still for one final moment before his last breath rushed out, speeding on and away to that final horizon.