The subway derailed on my way home last night. The horrible screeching sound of metal on metal seemed to last forever, and we kept flying forward, throwing up sparks, throwing everyone in the car around. Then it stopped and it was pitch dark everywhere, and a silence settled over everything.

I felt my way to the doors and pushed them open to step out while the operator was trying to get the lights to work or see if anyone had a flashlight. I did, of course, but this was no time for helping. I stepped out onto the tracks and felt my way along the rails carefully. After a while, when I was far enough, I got out my flashlight and looked around--the wrecked train behind me, the vast empty tracks ahead.

I walked along until I found a place where I could sit down, and I turned the lights out and sat in the dark and listened--the distant voices of the people from the train, the sound of what was probably a maintenance car coming up, other sounds I couldn't begin to imagine the source of. Then the maintenance car passed and they must have closed off the tracks at this section, because it was perfectly still for hours.

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