The Wire | Train Dreams
An excerpt from Denis Johnson's legendary novella, Train Dreams:
And three years later still, he lived in his second cabin, precisely where he old one had stood. Now he slept soundly through the nights, and often he dreamed of trains, and often of one particular train: He was on it; he could smell the coal smoke; a world went by. And then he was standing in that world as the sound of the train died away. A frail familiarity in these scenes hinted to him that they came from his childhood. Sometimes he woke to hear the sound of the Spokane International fading up the valley and realized he'd been hearing the locomotive as he dreamed.
Just such a dream woke him in December his second winter at the new cabin. The train passed north-ward until he couldn't hear it anymore. To be a child again in that other world had terrified him, and he couldn't get back to sleep. He stared around the cabin in the dark. By now he'd roofed his home properly, put in windows, equipped it with two benches, a table, a barrel stove. He and the red dog still bedded on a pallet on the floor, but for the most part he'd made as much a home here as he and Gladys and little Kate had ever enjoyed. Maybe it was his understanding of this fact, right now, in the dark, after his nightmare, that called Gladys back to visit him in spirit form. For many minutes before she showed herself, he felt her moving around the place. He detected her presence as unmistakably as he would have sensed the shape of someone blocking the light through a window, even with his eyes closed.