Chapter Seven

Carriage Four.

Door slid open effortlessly. On rails. Odd. No handle, just on rails. Only one bench inside, facing sliding door. Nobody sitting on it. Window above it. Maroon coloured blind drawn. Picture of a tree on blind, very fine embroidery, like the ivy on the hem of sister’s dress.

Paisley looked at me, head lilting curiously. He looked into the room, then back up at me. I counted fourteen hopping little mites, fleas, or ticks on his back. Hopping around merrily. Was a quaint moment and it actually brought a smile to my face. Well, at least the thought of smiling. Can’t remember if I physically did or not. Paisley stepped into the room. I followed.


Examined carriage as per usual. Found only two things to note. Underneath the bench cushion (the first one I have seen on this train and I have taken it to sleep on later. May report back if it yields a good sleep filled with good omens and good dreams. Will report) 

Under said cushion I found a hole in the bench-boards. Neat hole. Not smashed through. Close inspection revealed that hole was cut with saw. Possibly by left-handed man, judging by swing of blade marks. Inside was pitch. Wasn’t too scared, though I did have one moment of apprehension flutter through my mind. A memory.


Recollection of Black Door:

I remember a black door in the side-entrance to my parent’s farmhouse. I remember the knots and holes in the door. And behind it? Further black! As if black could have less, this did. I remembered the fear I had as a child, the fear of approaching that door, knowing beyond all doubt that the moment I walked past it, some devil or demon would spring forth from the bowels of its darkness and drag me down into the black-flamed inferno. I used to wait by the edge of the door, in that dashed corridor. I would count to ten, each number holding for me the weight of an entire religion and then, at ten, I would leap passed the threshold of that horrid door. 

As I peered into that neatly carved hole in the bench, for a flash I remembered that door. Paisley nudged me and I reached in. The hole was deep, much deeper than the bench. I had my entire arm in and still I could not touch the bottom. I shouted into the blackness and there came no echo, but I knew that this fact held little currency here. Everything I have learned so far, and with all I have seen and all I am investigating, leads me to believe that laws of reason and physics can be bent to any objects will in TheNeverRealm. The echo was no doubt sleeping, or on strike. Whatever the reason, it didn’t come. 

I had sat back on the ground, facing the sliding door and had contemplated for a good hour. Brekker, in that hour, I would have written notes and jotted my thoughts, assumptions and conclusions as evidence for you but in truth, dear friend, in that hour not a single image crossed my mind.

It was in the moment when sleep was taking over that Paisley, fearless, bullet-skulled mutt of mutts, barked a heroic bark and leapt headfirst into the hole! What an animal! At first I was dumbstruck and had to quickly cycle through all the pros and cons as to whether I was dreaming. I was not, for within a minute, Paisley came leaping back out of the hole with some object wrapped in a tawdry blanket clamped between his rotting jaws. 

He dropped his discovery at my feet and tried to wag his tail. Dumb creature. He could not do it. But, some mercy was shown him from whatever divinity lives within the Zone of Alienation. As he looked up to me, the one real eye shone bright and at that point a sunbeam just caught the edge of the bullet in his empty eye-socket and that too glinted. The glint of both eyes were at once upon me. It was almost convincing. I patted his head and bent to look at the package.


As I sit here now, back in my own on cushioned bench, I must describe the object as best I can in case I lose it along the way and you, good Brekker, have only this description to go by. 

Object Found by Paisley in Carriage Four, just outside Couldwell. From within bench hole.

Box-Periscope.

  1. Wooden casing, glued. 5” approx square, 14” approx tall.
  2. Brass fastening attached to top – made for belt.
  3. Painted midnight blue. Bright red piping. 
  4. Side of scope has painting of two eyeballs. One at the bottom, one at the top. 
  5. Both eyes have a brown iris. Walnut brown. Quite pleasing. Detail in veins much finer than on piping.
  6. Eyeballs joined with a winding optic nerve. 
  7. Green ivy wrapped around optic nerve.
  8. Back of scope has no marking.
  9. Not finished too well, some splinters and dust caught in paint. 

Have attached it to my belt ready for use. I have a plan. Tomorrow (it is night time now from what I can tell) I am going to use the periscope. I have explored all the carriages behind mine and am yet to see what is ahead. But something has come to me. Been mulling in my mind since discovery of location. The outside. What is there to see above eye level? Tomorrow, I am going to the back of train, going to climb out and I am going to try and climb onto roof of carriage and see if the periscope can see what I cannot. Brekker, I can only imagine your face at reading that audacious plan, and to think how cowardly I used to be. Of course, now I have committed to writing, I have to perform.

I don’t know if I will be able to sleep from excitement. I am an adventurer! Providing I survive Couldwell and when we do finally meet, you are sure to find me a bold Dream Adventurer!

So goodnight Brekker, as ever this could be the last page I write. What a discovery I have made. A good days investigating. Paisley is sleeping by me.

Good night and maybe goodbye!

Graham Thomas