October, 31: The Mercy Seat Under Town Hall

Messages from my Editors:

Where are you?
Where are you?

It’s Halloween. You need to be covering this.
What do we pay you for?

The snake is back.
Cover the parade.

Take pictures of the aftermath of Washington Square.
Where are you?

My phone is off. I’m on the 6 train following up a lead of my own.
The throne of God is under Brooklyn Town Hall.
I’m going to sit in it.

I first heard about it in Washington Square. A raving man ran through the park, enlightened and enraged.

He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone.

The throne is empty.

The 6 Train comes to a stop at the end of the line. Everyone leaves, newspapers and coffees in hand, going to work, some in costumes.
It’s Halloween. The air is electrified with short bursts of fear and excitement.

The train turns around. All goes dark. Bits of faces flash by the windows. Screaming angels, laughing children.

Dim light breaks the darkness. Skylights filtering in dirty, cloudy sky  illuminating dusty floor to ceiling tiles.

In the middle of the platform sits an old wooden chair. Stained with rust and blood, dusted with white powder.
A low hum vibrates from it, growing deeper the closer I get.

Where are you? We need you on the streets.

I toss my phone onto the tracks and set my computer up to record my voice.

I’m afraid to sit on the chair. I’m afraid to even touch it.
I can hear muffled voices coming from above. The clack of high heels from somewhere.

I’m about to sit on this chair. It looks simple. Plain. Something that would be set around a small kitchen table.
I’ve been told it’s the throne of God.
On the seat “Souwick” is carved. Jagged block letters.
I don’t know why I’m doing this.
Barbed wire is wound around the legs.
The lights just flickered.

I’m sitting in the chair. It feels strange.
I’m trying to think of the right words to describe it.
But…I just can’t. It’s a brand new feeling.

The lights are flickering again. I hear a rumble.
I think a train is coming.

The train is approaching.
The seat is starting to get warm.
It’s getting hot.
The lights just went off.

The chair is starting to spark along the barbed wire.
My head is starting to burn.
I feel a warm, sick breath on the back of my neck but I can’t see anyone.
The hair on my arms is standing up.

I smell alcohol.
I hear horses.
Someone is yelling at me in German.
Bottles are breaking down in the tunnel.
Electrical wires are coming from the chair and burrowing into my arms.
It doesn’t hurt.
It’s just warm.

I can feel it flowing through my blood.
My blood vessels look like they are bursting.
Still no pain.

I can’t get out of the chair. Something is holding me down.
The German is getting louder.
I can see his shadow staggering against the wall.
I don’t see him.

My mind has gone white. Bright.
I see words spelled out on rotten teeth.
Rotten tattoo script.

My watch stopped eight minutes ago.
I think I’m crying.
I smell burning flesh and hair.

Another train is coming.
The lights are flickering on again.
I’m going to be sick.

Everything is quiet as I stand up and collect my computer.
Dust falls in the rays of light from the windows.
The antique tiles on the walls seem to shine with new light.

I’m not sure what I saw or what happened.
The chair looks like a normal chair. Wooden and old.

I’m back on the 6 train, heading away from Town Hall.
It feels empty, lifeless.
All around me, though, are people. Grey and silent.
I think I can see through them, but when they move, the light shifts and their faces change.

No one responds to me.

I wave at a girl dressed as a ballerina.
She waves back.
Then she disappears.

A low moan starts to come from the mouths of all the passengers.
I put my headphones in, close my eyes, and try to think about anywhere else.

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