3:30am – two gunshots echo. I am lying on the floor of a hotel room, flattening myself against the wall beneath the window in order to offer as small a target as possible to the psychopath shooting at me from a nearby rooftop. There is glass everywhere and I realise distractedly that I have a deep gash on the palm of my left hand. It is the least of my current worries. Where am I and what the hell am I doing here? I have no recollection of the previous five hours. “Shit man, that was too close, let’s get the hell outta here!” a voice behind me says, somewhat too excitedly. I am not alone. “Get up bitch! They’re coming”. The stranger opens the door, motions impatiently for me to follow him. Unable to think clearly, I do so.

5:30am – My right leg seizes up. Every muscle, tendon and joint in my body is aching and my lungs are burning with the very fires of hell itself. We have been running for days, it seems. I pause for breath and lean exhausted against a rusting locomotive engine. I want to scream, to release this rage that is in me, but more than anything I want to cry. “Move it NOW asshole, or you’re dead!” the stranger hisses at me as he shoves me to one side before setting off at pace again. I hear the dogs barking in the distance and quickly follow this man I know nothing about.

As we weave a ragged course towards a thick copse beyond the railway yard, I can barely make out the minefield of obstacles waiting to put an abrupt end to the death chase. Rails, sleepers and boulders, I dodge them all panting and sweating like a rabid animal. The dogs are gaining on me, aware that their quarry is tiring and excited that there will be fresh meat for breakfast. A shot rings out. As I turn my head in time to see the stranger felled by a bullet in the back of his neck, my foot catches a root and I fall hard, knocking myself out on a flat rock.

6:30am – I wake up, although not in the local morgue but under a blue polka-dot duvet in my bedroom in Putney, London. Not quite under actually, half of it is on the floor and the pillows are nowhere to be seen. The dogs are not in my room, neither is the dead body of a stranger.

Another night, another crazy dream…

That bright old doyen of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud believed dreams to be a disguised fulfilment of a repressed wish. Whilst much of his research is rightly revered to this day, I nevertheless have to question the validity of his statement. There are many achievements and wishes I hope to fulfil in this lifetime, but finding myself in a seedy hotel room with a gentleman of dubious character is not one of them, and neither is being chased by a pack of bloodthirsty hounds in a disused railway yard.

May all your dreams come true, dear friends. But just let mine stay where they are, pretty please.

[Author’s note, 12 years on: given that last night’s dream involved my slitting the throat of a total stranger with a butcher’s knife, and spending the following 6 hours carrying his covered body over my shoulder, I am reassured to discover that I have achieved some degree of consistency in at least one facet of my life…]

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