There was a desert prairie filled with wind and sun and sagebrush and a silence that grew sweetly up in wildflowers. There was a rail track laid across this silence and now the rail track shuddered.
Soon a dark train charged out of the east with fire and steam and thundered through the station. On its way it slowed at a platform littered with confetti, the tatters of ancient tickets punched by transient conductors.
The locomotive slowed just enough for one piece of luggage to catapult out, and a young man in a summer dishrag suit to leap after and land running as the train, with a roar, charged on as if the station did not exist, nor the luggage, nor its owner who now stopped his jolting run to stare around as the dust settled around him and, in the distance, the dim outlines of small houses were revealed.
"Damn," he whispered. "There is something here, after all."
More dust blew away, revealing more roofs, spires, and trees.
"Why?" he whispered. "Why did I come here?"
He answered himself even more quietly, "Because."
Excerpted from NOW AND FOREVER: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99 © Copyright 2011 by Ray Bradbury. Reprinted with permission by Harper. All rights reserved.