I tread those once familiar dark alleys, floating like a ghost, flickering in and out of the minuscule auras of the multiple lights fighting ever so hard the long lost battle against the enveloping darkness. A battered and rather distressing magazine in my hand, its dog-eared pages occasionally catching the wind and fluttering a bit. All my senses acutely tuned to catch the slightest of whispers heralding the onset of any unexpected change in the direction of the silent wind. The magazine itself was worthless, bought at a cheap bookstore, where it had been gathering dust for the better part of a year. What did matter was the all-important piece of paper held somewhere among those tattered pages.
Almost effortlessly, my mind drifted across the line separating the past and the present, and leisurely began sifting through the memories of the week past. What I had gone through to get my hands on that piece of paper, whom I had to endure, whom I had to leave behind, the pale man with a pronounced scar across his temple, those strikingly deep eyes of the beautiful lady in black, all came back to me as if in a trance. Floating on the ethereal waves of such thoughts, my mind began singing a tune so beautiful, I started questioning the very need to leave this world for the real one. After all, who is to decide what is real and what is not?
But something was amiss. I could still feel. I could feel the air rushing through my nose, assaulting the very basic of my senses with myriad odours. I could feel my legs tramping the gravel underneath, attacking it savagely with military urgency. And beyond this, I could still feel an external presence. A surreal being urging me to come to. Unwillingly more and more of my senses started acknowledging the presence, as if drawn against their wishes and those of their master's by the enticing songs of the sirens. How can someone so gently and yet so firmly assume command of all my senses? I was baffled beyond thought, but more than that, my pride was hurt. Bracing myself, I vehemently opposed the intruder with all my will. I broke off all contacts with the real world and wanted to drift back into the beautiful abyss I was enjoying so much just a short while ago. Somehow, the stranger managed to hold on, trudging along my thoughts, even if just by the very edges of his fingernails.
Grudgingly I gave up, conceding defeat to this new kind of weaponry. My eyes swam back into focus, instantly noticing that the world had dimmed around me. The chaotic sounds of the daily life hitting me hard with one giant pop, as if I had just breached the as yet unknown sound barrier. My mind performed a cursory check, ensuring that none of my senses were left behind. And eventually I noticed the reason for my vehement and silent war, the very reason I am compelled to write this post. A smile stole across his pockmarked face, as if he was seeing the insides of my mind on a giant 70 mm screen. He waved a filthy piece of parchment in my face and gently whispered, "You dropped this". By the time I realised what had just happened, he was gone, lost in the milling crowd. Forever.