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  • I step onto the train, find a couple of vacant seats and heave my backpack off, leaning it against the window. I fish for my ticket before sitting down wearily. A day in transit.

    I lean my head back against the headrest and feel the tiredness stinging my eyes, a dullness flickering at the edge of my awareness, a heaviness pulling me down into the seat. No, I can't sleep here, I think, the logistics of the journey ahead looming in my mind.

    The train departs with a shudder, motors whining, hydraulics hissing, until everything settles into a low, rhythmic shuffle. I shift in the seat before finally resting my hands in my lap, fingers interlaced. I lean back again and try to keep my eyes open but my head is heavy and begins to nod forward with the motion of the carriage. I am looking down at my hands as my eyelids slide shut.

    And suddenly I'm in that limbo between dreaming and waking, drifting just under the surface. I hear the sounds of the train, the crackling, reedy voice of the driver through the cheap tannoy, but the sonics have changed; they flit in and out, seem closer, then more distant. I have a mental perception of the space around me: I see the seat in front of me, the lines of the luggage rack to my left, dull shadows of the baggage. The range is no more than a metre, obscured by a shifting orange-gold fog that surrounds me, flickering and jumping in strips and sheets, like poorly-rendered graphics. The sounds of the carriage swirl and dance.

    I am looking down at my hands in my lap, the fog-sheet flickering around my legs and the seat in front. I am awake inside dream, I realise, only slightly surprised.

    I peer through this strange peephole for a moment longer and then my eyes are open again, body heavy once more, head groggy, blinking at the sun through the muddy window, and with a journey to complete.
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