049: The Watchtower

Go to any subway station south of the River Clyde, and ask for a single to Merkland Street; you’ll likely be told that Merkland Street has now become Partick, but reply “I like to keep one foot in the past, one in the future.” They should make some motion to show they’ve understood you – if not, or they ask you to repeat yourself, walk out of the station and rip the ticket up – it’s of no use to you.

If you manage to get the ticket, get on the Outer Circle line, and board the next train that arrives. Figure how many stops you have to wait before getting to Partick – for example, it’s one from Govan, seven from Bridge Street – and the second you sit down, close your eyes. Keep them tightly shut and count down the stops, and when you get to Partick, stand up and walk through the doors with your eyes shut. Open them once your feet touch the platform.

You’ll find yourself at the topmost point of the Watchtower: a colossal, concrete monolith that rises up from a valley, with a view that spans miles. The wilderness around the Watchtower seems to indicate the city’s current health: in almost all cases, the valley is as empty as it is dry and barren, but now and again, new things appear. A black, charred horse-and-cart that rides through the blasted valley, leaving a trail of dark soot and rot behind it. A sickening yellow shape that resembles an enormous cloud in the sky, until it gets closer and you realise it’s a creature of impossible dimensions, roaring through the deserted plains. A confluence of misshapen figures, congregating around the base of the Watchtower, looking up at you with their blurred, thrashing faces as the rain of annunciation falls from the heavens.

It is important to take note of as much of the wilderness around the Watchtower as you can, as quickly as you can – you will wake up inside the train you thought you had left as soon as it reaches Partick again.


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