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Author's Chapter Notes:
catching the Mystery Train...
Standing on this empty platform
in echoing silence, I wait
All alone, waiting on the unknown
wondering why I still hesitate
Blank ticket, my mind fumbles
but can't remember how I got there
Staring out into dark tunnels
leading from nowhere to nowhere
No surprise, the light at the end
of the tunnel turns out to be a train
Still don't know where it's taking me
but I guess I can't complain


And you're on your way, destination unknown
someplace you can only go all on your own
All aboard the Mystery Train
but is it bound for something more
you hope to find where you've never been before?


All the passenger cars are empty
and the destinations don't connect
But this train runs thru every one
It makes the hair stand on my neck
Like in some disturbing dream
I know I'm not quite alone
I feel unseen eyes & half-seen
glimpses from the corners of my own
I can tell something's all wrong
although I'm not sure just how
All I know is that I don't belong
so I want off this ride right now


And you're on your way, destination unknown
someplace you can only go all on your own
All aboard the Mystery Train
but is it bound for something more
you hope to find where you've never been before?


Next stop: Nowhere
Get out of there
You're on the wrong track
End of the line
You're out of time
Now there's no going back


I jumped off at the next stop
for I just wasn't ready yet
to step out into the unknown
and face the dangers to be met
As I trudge back up the stairs
I don't remember walking down
my own footsteps & the echoes
down the tunnel such an eerie sound
But there will be a next time
I know but can't quite explain
Swear next time I'll be ready
when I board the Mystery Train


When you're on your way, destination unknown
someplace you can only go all on your own
All aboard the Mystery Train
but is it bound for something more
you hope to find where you've never been before?

And looking out into the darkness you descend
ever wonder if there's a light at the end?
Aboard the Mystery Train
trying to prove something you can't bring back
or did you just end up on the wrong track?
Chapter End Notes:
-circa 1999 - 12/04/02

Much like with "Ghost Towns" there were a couple lines that found their way into the Book of Hondo, but this piece didn't really come into its own until a couple years later, when I lived in Oregon. For me, at least, there were only two seasons: Rainy Season, and Allergy Season. Before I discovered Claritin had gone over-the-counter, '02 was the worst year for allergies in my life, as regular meds just weren't cutting it, and I eventually wound up with a massive sinus infection that summer. Much as I loved the Willamette Valley, the Valley just didn't love me back. :(
At the time, I was working as a factory temp drone in Springfield, doing 12-hour days, sometimes 6 days a week, and my room was upstairs, meaning that I slept in a sauna when I actually got to. My sinus infection eventually got so bad, I had to sleep propped up, because I would randomly stop breathing, and wake up coughing and sputtering. As you can imagine, that made falling back asleep a difficult proposition. :|
One of those times, I must've stayed flatlined longer than usual, as all I can remember is nothingness. A darkness darker than black. A silence so complete, my ears didn't even ring. A stillness so perfect, it was terrifying. The Void.
Time being rather subjective in states like that, I have no idea how long that lasted, though I doubt it could've been more than a minute or so, or I wouldn't be here writing this. Still, it haunted me for a long time, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that it was simply an interesting example of how subjective near-death experiences actually are. In the end, I guess it just means that, in my heart of hearts, I just don't expect much of an afterlife...
It was only later, after the Holiday Temp Season fizzled out, and I had all the time in the world for several months of unemployment, that I revisited "Wrong Track" and realized that, rather than some kid getting cold feet about running away (which never really fit my own life story anyway), it made a perfect framework for recounting the day that death scared me back to life.
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