Just for a moment, the lights on the train flickered and went off. When they came on again, just for a moment, the book that Carl had been reading was no longer there. No one had taken it off him. His grip on it, whilst not strained, was firm. It was just not there any more. Even though he could now feel that there was nothing in his hands, he had not noticed the transition from having something in his hands, to not having something in his hands.
The lights flickered again. They went off. They returned. The book returned. Carl found himself immediately drawn to the sentence he had started before the first blackout. All of his being urged him to accept that everything was normal. There was no panic, no overt reaction when the book disappeared, and no impulse to understand now that the moment had passed.
Everyone else on the train acted normally. Nothing had happened. Carl caught the eye of another passenger. Just for a moment. A man of about thirty. He had seen it too. Something had happened. For a moment that they shared. And, after, nothing.
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