re*bel - to be young and to fuck.

Shreds of light pop and snap into view as swiftly as they descend beyond, the rattling beneath my feet the only constant. Some agglomeration of Americana plays backdrop, miles measured in minutes and cities sized in the sinew of streetlamps. Countably many lights. Actually, countably few. At this point we could be anywhere, I'm no cartographer and, assuming I was, I hadn't been keeping track. Last call I heard was for Eddington. It didn't matter though. The drum line beneath me kept me from resting properly and kept my mind spattering on about nonsense:

“Why a train?”
“Where to? Or where from?”
“Not to mention, where now?”

‘Next stop, Heisenburgh’ the sound emerged from a peculiar box in the top corner of the car. Peculiar not because of appearance, but rather, because of the impossibility of the sound it emitted. Perhaps it was the way the sound was captured in the first place, but it was always impossible to tell the space of those announcements on a train. The voice was usually crisp but distant, as though it was spoken by someone 1/136th the size of a normal person, but right into your ear (or perhaps 1/137th?). However, you know what… actually, there is no reason to explore this further. I don't think.

The viewing car is deserted and rightfully so. Not much to view at this hour. At this speed, the stars all blur out like a prick of mixing white stretched out in a pool of pthalo blue. Street lights offer context, saving the canvas from the abyss, but one could hardly call lampwatching an act of ‘viewing’. More like ‘periodised spacing’. ‘Interrupted Absence’? At this hour, the viewing deck seems much more a ‘Dreaming Deck’ if interrupted absence seems like a fair prescription of dreaming.

So, dreaming, as I was, it seems fitting that I'd meet you here. Not like the others though. You were not familiar to me. Your presence shook the train more than the rails, your golden eyes looking down the car at me. In this miasma of dreaming, your eyes were the only interruption. But they were not waking, they were simply dreaming consciously. You had me lucid!

“You should be asleep,” your voice was impossible and untraceable. It seemed thousands of times bigger than it could actually be and yet, it was gentle.

“How do you know?” my voice ribbons down the car like a streetlight, unmoving but velocitous! “Everyone should be asleep now!” your remark sparks with a click, orange ash lighting your curled lips.

“You're not asleep.”

“That is because I am the goddess of the night, NYX!” smoke plumes from your mouth like a lie. I roll my eyes and sit next to you, the glow in your eyes gone, your voice now present and sensible. I scoff and I cough, taking the cigarette from you and taking a drag to ease my nerves. Even in this state of lucidity, I'm nervous. Less nervous now, however, having seen you show your humanity. So clear and so ordinary.

“You are not. You're just an insomniac,” I hand the cigarette back and catch your eyes glaring back at me.

“How do you know?” You mimic. Maybe mock. Regardless, you sting in my lungs. I stifle a cough before venturing a response.

“I’m not superstitious and you're not real.”

You scoff, sending your whole rib cage hurling out from under you, the impact of your disbelief disrupting your equilibrium. “You sound troubled, my friend!”

“Big words, Nyx,” I smile to the Abyss, no image mirrored back for my comfort, only opaque, white orbs, periodically slipping past your lips. The smoke billows out into the air like silence, nothing but a cough or two to break it. I peer over to you to find that you've taken the form of a woman, unassuming and small. Not unassuming or small because you are a woman, rather, for some reason you selected to be an unassuming and small woman.

“Who dreams about insomnia? Do you have sleep guilt or something?” You muse, putting the cigarette out on the table. It sits there, burning out slowly, embers burning into ash against the polyurethane veneer of the table you sit on. Your frame had very little to do with your ability to abrade. I almost think your new form was merely a diversion, something to ease me into a sense of security, open myself up.

“It's about life stress, isn't it?” I reply, watching the plastic peel back under the heat of your dead cigarette. Dying, certainly. You climb down off the table and sit yourself beside me, dark hair flung to one side as you watch me.

“You stressed?” your tone is impregnable! You have just enough softness to emulate concern, but your every sentence curls off at the end, almost in a sneer. I tilt my head to look at you, but offer no response and my reward is a groan.

“What?!” You stand up, shaking your head and walking away down the car. Your footsteps echo through the cabin, padding skin against plastic. “You only ever want me weak, Allen! I, just, I don't know…” you trail off into a groan, taking to your knees on the bench, facing me. “Why are you here?” You don't even give me a moment to dig the crap out from under my fingernails before you push back in. “Allen! What do you want? I want to help you but… I can't… I can't always do this Allen. I'm just not in the mood tonight…” your face drops along with your tone. You rub your face viciously, leaving it in a disheveled heap. “Okay?”

I swallow down my emotion, a lardy clump of mucus. Never sits well with the acids in my stomach. Maybe that's why I have a reflux. I nod to you and stand up.

“Allen.” Your tone drags through annoyance as your hand touches mine.

“What? I'm gunna go!”

“No. You're sulking,” you shoot a sigh at me like an arrow.

“I'm not sulking.”

“You're sulking.”

“I am not! I should get out of your hair.” I await a response, but you only slip your hand out of mine, eyes glued out the window. I start to head away slowly. Yes. I am sulking. I am nothing but a man. I might be nothing at all.

I watch as you saunter out of the car. It would take a reasonable human 15 seconds flat to clear what took you nearly a minute. You're a manipulator and I try to understand you. I just don't know what more I can give you any more. I lost track of what I owe you a long time ago. Margaret keeps saying “nothing”. It's just stopped sounding fair.

I want to forget you Allen, but I'm terrified of what you'd become without me. I take a deep breath and exhale. Again. And again. I wash away the train with each exhale, erase the suburban towns, remove the cigarette burns and dried on patches of vomit. The street lamps fizzle out under the crackling drone of the conductor, accented with the rattatat tumbling of the train over predictable tracks.

re*bel - to rise against an established governance or ruler.

Get a fucking dictionary, Allen. You're not a poet.