End of the LineCar 5

Debbie DeNussi wonders why the train is going so fast. It shoots past the Elephant; she must have misunderstood the map. She thinks: I'll never make that fucking film.

Selima Haydir knows exactly what has happened. She begins to shout over and over: no, no, no! She should have stayed and gone down fighting.

Paul Binyon blinks. The whole end of the car has blossomed like a flower in time lapse photography. Its petals unfurl, sucking in the roof. The car collapses. The lights fail. Didn't he have a TV show to present?

Terry Wilcox imagines a beautiful stack of phone cards, an ordered collection thrown in the air, forever scattered. Kevin Spinnaker is grateful, partly. Jenny has escaped; Jenny will think he loved her. Part of him dies cursing her.

The darkness crushes Bill McReady. He dreams he is climbing up the green hill of Ascension, past cactus, through farmland and heath, to a crowning grove of bamboo clattering like flutes. He can see his ship.

Anthony Auldgirth can only tell from the rush of sound that something is wrong. It sounds like his life, Ireland, Dublin, the wars, the years in America, New York, London, Elizabeth. Blind, he sees it whole.

His daughter Madeleine still holds her father's hand. And suddenly both of them are in wedding dress, and herself as a little girl comes running down the carriage with a candle. "It's not reincarnation," the little girl says. "It is like the flame passed from old candles to new."


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