The nightwind shakes the trees awake. More awake than anything else in town at this hour. The leaves complaining are the foundation – the one constant melody keeping me company in my aimless straggling. From somewhere behind me, a leaf scratches along the pavement and cuts me off, continuing on down the road.
The rubber in my shoes barely squeaks against the gravel. My hands rustle in my pockets. The neighbourhood bleeds purple and orange neon, the low hum of the corner house’s fluorescents pierces through the breeze. A car door slams a few streets down. The boulevard calls out to anybody listening deep in the distance – rubber tires echo in its empty lanes.
An overpass now. Above the railroad. Crossing it slowly, one can hear the wind toying with the swings in the playground on the other side. Crossing it slowly, one can hear the electric heartbeat of the railroad tracks beneath – currents pumping into it from a generator somewhere nearby. The train is gonna be near soon. At least, it sounds like the train’s getting closer. Perhaps the wind only carries rumours of it ’round our way.
245am stillness. A couple passes me. They were whispering until we met eyes and then they hushed and simply walked past. His shoes also had rubber soles. Her heels cut through the night like a warbeat.
The train’s rattling is growing louder. Definitely close now. It announces its path with the inevitability of thunder. Rolling and roaring on its tracks. The wind can’t drown it out now. The train slices through town, stealing off with silence and tranquility, speeding off towards its station a town over, where it’ll slow down for a minute or so before resuming its fateful journey into Manhattan Island.