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Building up to the big climax. At the end of "Pillars of Salt", there is a feeling of hopelessness. "End of the Line" begins with the kids hiding in the basements and barricading their homes from the devil's legions. The devil is literally knocking down their doors. The parents have been drinking themselves to death in terror of this moment and when I say "time to fight our demons" I actually mean fight in a battle against demons. The next verse is the image of a girl trapped inside her house. She has "a flower pot full of dirt and bullet shells", which begins to warp and grow into horrible branches of barbed wire which cut at her, choke her, and block all the exits. The devil's forces are cutting down people and dementing the town and its inhabitants. Then the chant starts, the parents telling their children to "lay low lay low keep your head down" and to listen for the "dusty train" a western version of the ferry piloted by Charon that crosses the river Styx. More images of war are brought up "set the bone with a cardboard splint, strike the nail against the flint, and set the fields on fire... let the devil come, let him come..." Finally the townspeople are growing confident and are mentally ready for battle. They no longer hide in their houses waiting to die. They bust out the artillery and prepare for the big fight. They egg on the Devil to come and get it, shouting "I'll be waiting for him this time I am stronger now and I can fight it I'll be waiting at the end of the line..."

How does it end? That's up to you, I guess...
Thanks for reading and listening...

lyrics

all the kids have run inside grabbed a spot under the stairs they've barricaded all the windows and rigged the doorknobs shut with chairs what are they waiting for they don't know they just keep their fingers crossed and maybe pray to mary or jesus christ i can hear them knocking down the door the wait it is over this bottle is done so we clench our fists and fight our demons there's a girl with a flower pot full of dirt and bullet shells she puts it by her window gives it sunlight restores its health after a month or two the shells start to grow into branches of barbed wire they spread across the walls the windows and the floors and their grip never tires lay low lay low keep your head down lay low lay low listen for the sound of the dusty train that's comin' to sweep us all away i can hear the rails a rattlin' against the hectic fray so set the bone with a cardboard split and strike the nail against the flint and set the fields on fire let the devil come let him come i'll be waitin' for him this time i am stronger now and i can fight it i'll be waitin' at the end of the line at the end of the line.

credits

from Who Will Survive and What Will be Left of Them?, released October 13, 2003

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