Sleep is a patch of death, but three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open. God, if you had the strength to rouse up, you’d slaughter your half-dreams with buckshot! But no, you lie pinned to a deep well-bottom that’s burned dry. The moon rolls by to look at you down there, with its idiot face. It’s a long way back to sunset, a far way to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead — And wasn’t it true, had he read somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3 A.M. than at any other time … ?
His wife smiled in her sleep.
She’s immortal. She has a son.
Mr. Dark nodded, pleased. “What’s your name, boy?”
Don’t tell him! thought Will, and stopped. Why not? he wondered, why?
Jim’s lips hardly twitched.
“Simon,” he said.
He smiled to show it was a lie.
Mr. Dark smiled to show he knew it.
Evil has only the power that we give it.
Too late, I found you can’t wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up again with everybody else.
That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of the other.
Dad’s voice was a midnight school, teaching deep fathom hours, and the subject was life.
The trouble with Jim was he looked at the world and could not look away. And when you never look away all your life, by the time you are thirteen you have done twenty years taking in the laundry of the world.
“I know it. I know everything.”
She waited a moment. “What do you know?”
“No use making more people. People die.”
His voice was very calm and quiet and almost sad.
Those trains and their grieving sounds were lost forever between stations, not remembering where they had been, not guessing where they might go, exhaling their last pale breaths over the horizon, gone. So it was with all trains, ever.