March 2014 – never forget – Judgement by James Bolton

Another little piece of Barnaby had died today. Just like the day before, and all the other days up to this one.

Barnaby had long since lost the feeling of relief and liberation that accompanied the end of a shift. The gnawing sense of pointlessness and emptiness his job gave him had previously abated at the end of each day. Now it had begun to stay with him on his way home, living inside him throughout the nights and weekends, thriving on his energy and his happiness like the larva of some foul wasp that, for some reason, had chosen his brain as a nursery for it’s ravenous progeny.

Barnaby could feel it in there now, stirring and writhing. The joyless, bleak gulf inside him seemed to be reacting to his surroundings, producing a fitting response to everything that Barnaby could see and hear at this very moment.

This crumbling hearse of a train had stopped before Barnaby’s destination of Newport, slowed and stuttered to a halt in the countryside for no apparent reason and without any explanation offered. Everything Barnaby could see at this moment made his sourness grow and fester. Looking through the windows his view encompassed a muddy field peppered by small clumps of stubbly, anaemic grass gently climbing its way to a dirt track coursing it’s way along the back of a row of uniform council hovels. They looked almost human to Barnaby. Not human in a healthy sense, but rather in a degenerative, ailing sense. They stood like people who had become set in a concrete of nihilism, much like Barnaby himself.

Inside the train the view was no better, and actually made Barnaby’s hopelessness begin to mutate into a pervasive and overwhelming feeling of judgement. Everywhere he looked in that carriage he saw everything he hated about the society in which he existed. Here some furtive adolescents wearing their ridiculous caps and their pathetic tracksuits, their ferret like faces betraying all their dysfunction; the sneaking little crimes they probably committed, the withering hostility with which they probably treated the world, the absence of any responsibility and the willful ignorance of any iota of contribution they probably claimed as their entitlement. There a man in a beautifully cut suit speaking loudly into his precious i – phone or whatever the hell it was, probably wallowing in his own self importance, probably making sure everyone could hear his conversation, clearly an inflated prick of the first order, Barnaby thought to himself as his anger began to rise.

The more he looked at the people around him on this inexplicably stationary train the more agonisingly furious he felt. They were all the same, all of these creatures. He began to feel his heart quicken and strengthen in its beating, hammering on the inside of his chest wall as if it too could see all the human wreckage and decline around him and was excising it’s own anger on Barnaby’s diaphragm. The sweat pricked at his skin all over his body, irritating him further and serving only to focus his attention more acutely on this hatred he was nourishing inside himself for what he thought was a fallen world.

Thoughts of terrible violence began to creep into his mind. He imagined seizing someone at random, anyone of the of the creatures around him on this train and shaking them, rattling them from their fake little worlds and hurling them into the validity of his experience, the reality of his world. Then they would see, see how contemptible their existence was, how pointless their aims and how weak their desires. Because he knew. Barnaby knew how to attain an optimum plain of being, but he hadn’t because of the world and the people around him, all the scum including the ones on this train to Newport. They had stopped him with their devotion to image, their exclusive little obsessions.

Barnaby’s thoughts were racing now. They were bombarding him and beginning to make little sense.

Barnaby’s vision began to play strange tricks. He began to feel sick, his body seemed to begin to attain a weightlessness and he felt as though he was floating. The air around smelled metallic. His perceptions had changed, his clothes were like clay, he could feel his blood surging through his veins, giving him a physical strength he had never experienced. His skin was copper and the sky was water.

Barnaby realised that he was suspended in the air, glaring down at the train from a God like distance. His anger and strength suddenly felt divine. He reached out with his right hand, he thrust it forward and the moon and stars rolled in its wake like leaves tossed in an autumn gale. The hand grabbed the train, splintering and shattering it, the metal buckling and screaming with the contortion. Barnaby bellowed as he lifted it, holding it aloft and roaring with a furious joy. He laughed as the little people fell out, screaming and spinning through the air. They thudded into the turf with a flurry of blood and splintered bone.

As they lay there Barnaby recognised their faces. They all bore his own visage and he saw in their twisted expressions of dead horror his own face and the future that would befall him if he pursued the path of judgment. They were him and he was them and he would never forget it.

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