He walked alone in the city, which was like somewhere out of a film or a dream. But it wasn’t. A film or a dream. The stone he could touch, the rain stuck his hair to his forehead, the door that he was pushing felt heavy against his hand. So, no film or dream. But his life had, till oh so recently, been just like a film or a dream, a feel-good movie, an aspirational subconscious made real. But now, walking through that door, all was in sharp relief, freshly cut, bold. And his actions were that of an actor. He was conscious of every movement he made, every breath he took. For the first time in his life he was living. But he was acting. He had been here before. Over and over and over he had made this journey, thought it through, worked it out. He’d judged every step, had weighed this action against that, memorised at length every possible flaw in his plan and every tangent that this might lead him to. And for every tangent he’d a solution that would keep him on track, get him back to the plan. And the plan was good. It was good for the sole reason that his movie was over. His dream was dead.

He’d wandered away from his home, wired. He’d been wired for some time. He’d woken up. He’d seen the movie, the dream, wobble, had seen it fall. For the first time in his life he was engaging. And for this he was a pariah. He was an outsider. He was not playing the game. And what a game. What a movie. What a dream.

He hadn’t had a revelation, a Christ like apparition hadn’t visited him and shown him the path. He wouldn’t have responded to that anyway. He hadn’t taken a shed load and experienced a spiritual awakening. No. He’d lived a trauma. A bloodletting. A nails on blackboard screaming. And this set in motion the falling away of the curtain that was distorting the screen. This ripping out of his heart shattered the night and filled his dreams with terrors. Terrors that were his teachers.

Have you ever looked at a wall and thought that it didn’t look right, you know, was out of place? A simple, everyday wall? Or perhaps at the mass of humanity swarming through the city, rushing, bubble wrapped, closed. Is that right? Or thought about the word and what it really means, the most important word? And have you stopped, just stopped?

And he pushed on, through the door and made his way past the reception, flashing a smile at the desk, not seeing the people, if there were any there. And in the lift, rising, as was his heart rate, as were his senses, his senses sharpening, if that were possible. He knew where he was going. Floor 5. Down the corridor. Door 143.

And he was there. An actor but not. In a building in a city that was a film, that was a dream. And he reached into his jacket and felt the steel. He held it, moving as he’d imagined, aiming as he’d planned, and firing like Scarface…