By train they came

Written by David Dylan

Lyrics quoted: Get Me Out, New Model Army.

It was overcast. Jimmy liked the overcast skies; they were so not like home. He loved the light. He took out his ageing camera and took a few pictures. He ducked deeper into his thick coat. It was hard getting used to the cold. It was cold, bitter cold. In the distance the hills looked colder still, there was snow coming. Funny how you learn these things in just a few years.

'Ysidro down to Melbourne, the pressure starts to build'

Jimmy walked towards the heavy steel gate. It always reminded him of the gates of Auschwitz. Arbeit macht frei. He wasn?t allowed to work. He had a room to himself, this was something at least.

'The bullets fly at random when you least expect they will'

Jimmy rattled the gate. A heavy set guard looked up from his book and greeted Jimmy with a smile. Everyone liked Jimmy, Jimmy was friends with everyone. It was a survival tactic. The guard waddled out of his shelter and opened the gate, greeted Jimmy and closed the gate as Jimmy headed towards the end of the deserted street.

'Everybody feels guilty so anyone can pay'

Yesterday had been a bad day. Not that it mattered much; Jimmy had made up his mind weeks ago. It was always upsetting, though, to have to tell the story again and again. No one ever told him if they believed him. It didn?t matter to Jimmy. Not anymore. All he had ever wanted to be was a photographer. He still had some of his pictures; they had let him keep them. He'd pinned them up in his room. There was his sister, leaning against the stairs to their apartment. She hadn?t liked the picture; she thought it made her ass look big. Jimmy thought it was one of his better works. The interplay between shadow and light was just right.

'I'm just surprised it doesn't happen every bloody day'

There was the picture he took of his mum the day they gave him the Hasselblad for his belated birthday. The whole family had saved up. Jimmy gripped the camera tight. Apart from the pictures, it was all he had now. Mum and sis were dead. He had pictures of that, too. He gave them to his interrogators, without looking at them. He saw their horribly tortured faces in his dreams every night.

'So here come the nineties, the temperature is rising'

No one ever told him if they believed him. But he had a room to himself; this was something, at least. And hey, Arbeit macht frei. But they wouldn?t let him work. It had been two years now.

Jimmy grinned as he thought of the irony. He?d always thought that being cared for, not having to work for a living and just taking pictures all day would be heaven. Funny joke, God, he thought. I got it. Ha ha.

'I cannot seem to lose the stains when I wash my hands'

The wind sneaked its way into his coat and chilled him. Jimmy tried to adjust his scarf but it helped little. Empty street upon empty street. Nothing much to take pictures of. The west, it had sounded like heaven when Jimmy was a kid. Everyone wanted to go to the fabled west. Well, here he was. It was cold. It was lonely. They wouldn?t let him work. But Jimmy understood that. They had given him a room of his own. It had thin walls, but if he tucked his head under a pillow he could hardly hear the guy from the next room scream in his sleep. Jimmy tried to recall some lines from Dante?s Inferno that would be suitable, but he couldn't.

'One world is rising and one world is dying'

Jimmy didn't dream. He just saw the faces. He didn't mind anymore. There had been Couscous for dinner yesterday. The cook had given him an extra scoop. He?d never had Couscous back home. It tasted good if bland. Nothing special, really. Funny how life can turn bleak. Nothing was nothing special, nothing was, well? nothing was fun.

'And one has got its precious head buried in the sand'

One day he'd come home and the house was still. Nothing stirred, not even a mouse. Ha ha, I made a Joke God, got it?

'Get me out, get me out of this place'

He took pictures. Evidence? Why? No one hid what was going on. Jimmy wondered if anyone believed him. He left the same day. He took nothing. He took everything, inside his head. It was too much to carry with him. No matter how often they made him repeat the story, it didn?t get any lighter. He gave them the pictures. One of them turned pale. Good. Maybe he believed him.

'Get me out of this trap'

The train station was as deserted as the streets and twice as cold. Funny how you can be on the run yet not move in two years.

'get me out of my brain'

Jimmy spread his arms wide. The tracks disappearing in the distance, they would make a great shot. Jimmy would call the picture something like 'by train they came'. Like the pictures of the tracks at Auschwitz. Well, there was this to be said for the west...

The trains run on time.

Jimmy was done running.