They built a prison beside the train tracks in Nowhere, Ga. If that’s not torture for the inmates, I’m not sure what would be. Every night between 8:12 and 8:23 p.m., a passenger train zooms by the yard where they, in summer, drink in the final precious minutes of sunlight, a final hour uncaged. The train is a regular–on time, not normal–reminder of something those inmates fear they’ll never again catch: freedom.

Who knows? Maybe some of them like the train. Maybe one man named Paul or J.J. or Darrell stands by the barbed-wire fence just to see the three-quarter-mile train whiz by, just because he likes the sound of something other than cicadas and cuss words, or because he hopes the conductor will blow the whistle just once, even though there aren’t any crossings for miles or even any people sans uniforms–except the passengers dining aboard Train 52 to Lorton, Va.

But who knows? The train went by so fast that I couldn’t tell. And I doubt very much that I’ll find a way back to Nowhere, Ga., to that tiny prison along the tracks, just to find out.