It occurred to him that he was on a train. In his world, there existed a thing called a train, and he was currently sitting inside one of these trains of his world. They tended to start off in one location and end in another, but he couldn’t really remember either where he started or where he would end, or if this train would even end at all.
Maybe the train he was on would decide that it didn’t want to start or end anywhere today. Maybe it would say to itself: I want to just be where I am, even in motion. Just be right here, then there, as its pistons pushed it on and further. And that would be that. It’s kind of hard to argue with a train, after all.
Outside this train that kept moving on, he could see things. There were lots of anthills of glass and steel, and some shrubbery planted in neat little rows, rows that had been forgotten about long ago. He wanted to see everything outside this train that kept moving on, even if it was beneath him. So he said to the train: I want you to be made of glass now. And it was. The whole damn train was glass, sparkling in the light of that sun up above. The now-glass pistons churned and wormed up and down, and little spidery cracks formed on them. They branched outward and fused together until it was all a cloudy filament you couldn’t quite see through.
And there were hominids down below. There was an open savanna and wildebeests and little hairy hominids were running around and chasing them, but almost in a funny way, like cats with spiders. They’d swing their stone hammers and then back away, and a few of them saw him there in the train.
The train went on.
He made the doors of the train turn into gumball machines. He did it by thinking it. You could too if you wanted to. Go ahead, try. And if it doesn’t work, you just didn’t want it badly enough.
Everyone on this train might not be real. They could all be in my mind, he thought. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe they don’t need to be really there with their flickering fields of atoms and their forgotten past lives. He put his finger to his chest.
It went right through.