Inspired by –
“…And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding
The poem across the tracks rebounding
Shadowed by the exit light
His legs take their ascending flight
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night…”
The Poem on the Underground Wall
Artist – Simon and Garfunkel
He sat in the corner shrouded in the bright light that draped the station, the digital clock above reading 10.45pm. “The last train to Mysuru Road will arrive on Platform 2 in 2 minutes.”, the announcement droned multilingually. He leant back, his hand fidgeting within his pocket, feeling around for it, through loose change, keys, crumpled tickets finally finding the flat circular token.
The platform before him was busier than usual, the last commuters, tired IT executives, heavy crosses of ID tags hanging from their necks, stood in single columns like wriggling worms returning to the giant snake worming through the city.
From within the stony gloom, the caravan of coffins rattled forward to swallow its prey, headlights ablaze. He fidgeted further, fingers digging through his pocket scratching, pinching his skin. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he ran his fingers in regular circular motions on the token over and over, faster now.
Its harsh metallic screech drowning out the final announcement, the station reached into the train. Writhing masses crossed thresholds moving away from the light. Hissing shut the snake in front of him grew, swelled in size, dwarfing the platform and him; his palm closing on the circle pressed down. The station enveloped in darkness, disappeared.
Shadowed by the exit sign, he bound up the stairs, lost to the night. The platform empty for the day.
He unlocked his room, nervous fingers scratching the keyhole. Within the small one bedroom studio there was hardly place to walk. A crackling TV flickered in the corner… “…One more Metro train disappeared today, this is the third such occurrence in the last week. Twenty two people have been reported missing…”
Clicking it off, a soft smile playing on his face, he jingled past the change and wrapped his hand around the miniature chain of carriages and placed it softly on the circular track in the centre of the room. Sitting back on his chair, he gazed through the small windows at the frozen faces some bent into phones, some lost in routine; tied down now forever in a different loop.
Round and round he rolled his fingers over the token, loops within loops, in perpetual motion, in permanent pause.