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{(set: $day to 1)(set: $checkedPhone to false)(set: $checkedPhoneTwice to false)(set: $phoneEventDone to false)(set: $calledOut to false)(set: $calledOutEventDone to false)(set: $canExplore to true)(set: $turnedBack to false)(set: $exploreSteps to 0)(set: $exploreEventDone to false)} =><= (transition: "fade-in")[(text-style: "blur")[[[I woke up slowly.->Woke]]]]The rhythmic //chunk-kachunk// drew me gradually back to awareness, reminding me |where>[where I was]. (if: $day < 2)[ I made the awkward adjustments and furtive glances around the room that we make when we realize we've been asleep in public, hoping nobody was |watching>[watching](click-append: ?watching)[, staring and judging |us>[us](click-append: ?us)[, |slack>[slack-jawed](click-append: ?slack)[, |drool>[drooling](click-append: ?drool)[, snoring]]]]. A breath later came the rush of panic; the dark sky and empty car almost surely meant I'd missed my stop.](else:)[Once more, alone, in the darkness, as the train made its way through the night.] (if: $phoneEventDone is false)[(if: $checkedPhone is false)[[[I checked my phone...|Phone]]](else:)[[[I checked my phone again...|Phone]]]](else:)[My phone was dead.] (if: $calledOut is false)[[[I called out for anyone nearby...|CalledOut]]](else:)[(if: $calledOutEventDone is false)[[[I tried calling out again...|CalledOut]]](else:)[I was too afraid to speak.]] (if: $canExplore is true)[[[I left my seat, looking for answers...|LeftSeat]]](else:)[Exploring the train had proved pointless.] (if: $day > 5)[[[I decided to do nothing.|DoNothing]]] { (click-replace: ?where)[(if: $day < 2)[that I was on the Amtrak commuter line, heading home for the weekend](elseif: $day < 5)[that something had gone very wrong](elseif: $day < 8)[that I just wanted out](else:)[that I was in Hell]] }{(set: $day += 1)(set: $exploreSteps to 0)(goTo: "Woke")}{(if: $checkedPhone is false)[I checked my phone. Monday, January 15. 10:36pm. Over an hour past my stop, if we were on schedule. |signal>[No signal, no service](click-append: ?signal)[, which seemed wrong. The commuter route never strays far from populated areas]. No missed calls, and no new email for hours. Last thing on Twitter was from 9:14pm, meaning no signal for a while. GPS said no signal either. Battery seemed fine. Just not talking to anyone. [[Great->Phone End]].](else:)[(if: $checkedPhone is true and $checkedPhoneTwice is true and $phoneEventDone is false)[(goTo: "PhoneEvent")](else: )[I checked my phone again. Monday, January 15. |time>[10:36pm](click-replace: ?time)[10:36pm. Same as before. Can't be right. So much for knowing what time it is]. No signal, no service, [[nothing->Phone End]].(set: $checkedPhoneTwice to true)]]}{(set: $x to $phoneEventDone is true)(set: $y to $calledOutEventDone is true)(set: $z to $canExplore is false)}$x[I had no way of reaching anyone.] $y[Something was there with me.] $z[I had nowhere left to go.] (if: $x and $y and $z)[ I didn't know what else to do. I sat, resigned, and waited for whatever would come next. (live:5s)[//"Good, dear. Now we can get started. We've got |ender>[all the time in the world...]"//] ](else:)[ I struggled to remain calm, telling myself this would make sense soon. Someone would be along to help. The next station couldn't be much further. Just |looper>[relax...]](click: ?looper)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "Loop")]](click: ?ender)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "TheEnd")]]{(set: $firstLine to (either: '"Hello?"', '"Is anyone here?"', '"Help?"'))(set: $secondLine to (either: '"Anyone?"', '"Can anyone hear me?"', '"Please?"'))}(if: $calledOut is false)[|callOne>[$firstLine]](else:)[|callAgain>[(either: $firstLine, $secondLine)]] (click-append: ?callOne)[ Surely it was my imagination, but I would have sworn my voice echoed in the empty train car. Aside from my own, no voice responded to me. |callTwo>[$secondLine] ](click-append: ?callTwo)[ The silence made me shudder, though I can't quite explain why. |looper>[I closed my eyes to gather my thoughts...] (set: $calledOut to true) ](click-append: ?callAgain)[ (if: $calledOutEventDone is false and $day > 5)[ (transition: "fade-in", 5000ms)[//"Keep it down, sweetie. No need to shout."//] (live: 5s)[ The next moment was instinct, leaping sideways, falling, scrambling on the floor. I stared wild-eyed at the seat next to mine. My senses told me it was empty, but that voice... right next to me. My forearm crawled; I was sure something had |brushed>[brushed against me.]] |lastPart>[ ]](else:)[ Nothing. (either: "I stared into the darkness, wishing to hear another voice as my mind |looper>[drifted...]", "I looked at each seat, hoping without expectation to find a sleeping passenger. The sound of the tracks was |looper>[quite soothing...]", "Someone my age shouldn't be so easily rattled, but I confess I was close to tears - a child wishing it would all |looper>[go away...]")]](click: ?brushed)[(replace: ?lastPart)[//"You've got yourself all worked up. Rest now."// (set: $calledOutEventDone to true) I felt myself rising up from the floor before |looper>[the world went dark.]]](click: ?looper)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "Loop")]]{(set: $line to (either:"Just like the last one: empty, silent, and cold.","The train seemed impossibly long, and still I was alone.","As empty as the last one. This can't be right."))}(if: $exploreSteps < 1)[I walked to the end of the car, seeing no one, hearing nothing but the mechanical rhythm of the train itself.](elseif: $exploreSteps < 6)[$line](else:)[I told myself this couldn't be real. I continued, defiantly hoping to find the place where this would make sense.(set: $canExplore to false)] I reached the end of the car [[and stepped into the next one...->LeftSeat]] [[and turned back...->LeftSeatEnd]] (set: $exploreSteps += 1)It was nearly impossible to focus on the dimly-lit screen. I decided to rest my eyes, |looper>[for just a moment...] (set: $checkedPhone to true)(click: ?looper)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "Loop")]] I stared disbelieving as the charge indicator drained - |charge>[76%] (click-replace: ?charge)[53%(click-replace: ?charge)[32%(click-replace: ?charge)[14%(click-replace: ?charge)[2%(click-replace: ?charge)[I didn't realize until the automatic shutdown began that my hand was painfully cold. I flexed my fingers and briefly wondered if the absence of pain was a good sign or bad while my eyes |looper>[lost focus...]]]]]](set: $phoneEventDone to true)(click: ?looper)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "Loop")]] (if: $canExplore is true)[I turned back, debating whether I should, but soon the world became dim, indistinct, |looper>[meaningless...]](else:)[I turned back, and my head spun. Through the doorway was |nothing>[nothing]. {(click-append: ?nothing)[ -- no passenger |car>[car]](click-append: ?car)[, no |track>[track]](click-append: ?track)[, |n1>[nothing]](click-append: ?n1)[, |n2>[//nothing//]](click-append: ?n2)[, **nothing** but a deep, relentless darkness that seeped into me. I felt myself falling, and in all honesty, |looper>[I welcomed it]](set: $exploreEventDone to true)}](click: ?looper)[(set: $result to window.Engine.fadeCycle(2000))(live: 2s)[(goTo: "Loop")]] =><= I woke up slowly, alone with the whispers. (live: 7s)[(set: $result to window.Engine.linkAndFade())]