I took the train uptown, got off, and walked. I went on to where the trains don't go, to see for myself. A ruin of fallen brick and collapsed roofs. Empty, trash strewn streets. Chainlink fences boxing the world, lazily collapsing over years. Decades. 

There's nothing up there. Nothing left. Empty store windows. Furtive shouts. A dog, out there, where the world ends. 

The book talks about this. How the great city will turn and digest itself, like the oroborous, the snake that eats its own tail. On page 26 it outlines the chants and incantations, and the places to do them. To call them. From outside.  

On the TV the talk is of missiles and Congress, and tanks on some Czech horizon, on the other side of our little planet, triggers straining. We will all die in a conflagration which makes their war look like a fireworks show. A war no one knows about. A war we're all living. 

Still. One must carry on. I go where the trains don't go, anymore, and do my work. Quietly. Quickly. Cleanly.

"Kid. You want twenty bucks?"

His eyes are liquid and shining. His face, freckled. There's self-preservation in his stance, ready to turn, ready to run off to some shit hole in this no man's land. But then he steps towards me, furtively. Greedily. 

We cross to the building without a roof, my makeshift open air cathedral, and no doubt he thinks my needs are more simple. More base. 

First, he sees the symbol. Then he sees the skulls.

He never sees the knife.