Staring at the navy blue horizon through the damaged window,

I arise to my feet in a bleak void.

Walking, jogging, running from one car to the next,

searching for a non crowded room. Hard to see ahead.


The sounds of the trapped: walking, jogging, running;

Small grey spectres, same cloudy-eyed faces, a loop.

The horizon, a navy blue hue, is the only light amid

These spectres. Hard to see ahead.


I wait for the polluting train to let me out.

The damned are around me. A grey void. I listen to melodies to hear something,

Anything. I can’t feel anything. I mustn’t close my eyes. I must escape.

I reach out to feel nothing. I push through. I must escape. Hard to see ahead


I keep my eyes open, their eyes appear in the void. All on me. They stare and wait.

I wait for them to look away. They stare and wait. Their whispers are everywhere.

The car hasn’t stopped. It’s moved for hours. They whisper for hours. Paranoia, restlessness.

Their tongues are cold, unsettling. I can’t feel my hands. They are cold. Hard to see ahead


The grey surrounds me more than ever now. They grow restless. I am trapped by their

Eyes, their whispers. I can’t feel anything but their cold tongues.

I see my breath tremble amid cigarette smoke. I can’t breath with

This void of smoke. The bleak smoke. The car moves faster. Hard to see ahead


My heart beats faster. Their whispers are louder, faster. The sound of the tracks,

Louder, faster. The metallic walls merge with the spectres. I palpitate. I must escape.

I move faster, pushing through the whispers. They’re aggressive. They are relentless.

I scream through their whispers. I reach for the exit. The train whistle screams. Hard to see ahead


We stop. I fall out of the void. I tremble as I rise to my feet

The voice calls me out of the void. I run towards it.

I am blinded by the glow of the sun rising on the horizon

The grey scatter away to their holes. I’m afraid to follow but I must. I can’t escape.


Staring at the navy blue horizon through the damaged window,

I arise to my feet in a bleak void.




Amber Payne is a writer and filmmaker from Chicago, Illinois. She writes primarily poems, short stories, and op-eds. Her work has been showcased at the Media Arts Spring Festival in Chicago in the years 2019 and 2020. Her work has also been featured at the Chicago Academy for the Arts AIDS Benefit in 2018.