Charlie slammed his foot into the door of the Ambrose Court roof space, smashing it flying
open, destroying the padlock with ease. He ran up the stairs two at a time, almost flying as he did.
He broke through the next door, out into the open. The air was a crisp light blue; he could see the
whole town, roofs, trees, roads, cars, life, and he felt the worry tear through his insides. He ran to
the edge, wanting to stop, but unable to. He left the edge, his stomach taut with angst and fear,
and then he flew, down, down, down he went, soaring through the freezing cold air, the ground
below zooming itself closer, control lost, fate sealed, death and sanctuary mere moments away,
Billy, tapped on his shoulder, “You ‘aving a bad dream, pal?”
He opened his eyes to see Billy standing there, hulking over him, his grey tracksuit on, hood
up, his forehead pouring with sweat at an alarming rate.
“Yeah. Yeah, bad dream, Billy,” Charlie panted. “The fuck’s going on? Why you sweating
like that? You’re leaking, mate.” His brain still in dreamland, perplexed.
“Been for a run, ain’t I?” Billy answered, heading for the kitchen. “You want some grub?” he
“Nah, I’m fine for the minute, mate. Cuppa tea would be nice though.”
“That ponce Knighty finished the last teabag, didn’t he? Got coffee though. You look like you
could do with it black, to be fair.”
“Yeah, whatever Billy.” Charlie tried desperately to pull his brain back into the real world.
He scanned the cold room; it was tidier than the last time he woke up there. No Che, no
Knighty, no pile of cocaine, just a few empty beer cans, and a fried chicken bucket. He mused on
the dream and what it meant, and then the fear came rushing back to the pit of his stomach as he
was once again reminded of the brutal actuality of his predicament. He sighed and reached for his
cigarettes, lit one up, and a long, heavy, malevolent drag filled his lungs to capacity, relieving his
anxiety for a millisecond. Then it came flooding back, with lightning aggression, as sure as night
follows day. Billy came back into the room with a steaming black coffee and placed it on the
table in front of him.
“Filthy ‘abit that.”
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