Shortcut That Led Nowhere

Once again, I was Out Of Town somewhere, in some strange city, trying to get home. I was, inexplicably, wearing a black vest and jeans - nothing else. Not even shoes.

I knew I had to catch a Number 1 bus heading for the railway station, and that there was a stand across the way - but there was a park in the way, and between the park and the road there was a huge gap: I think there was a railway line underneath, and the road was some sort of flyover. The building behind the bus stop was some sort of large building, all columns and statues. A bit like St George's Hall, Liverpool, for some reason, though this was not Liverpool and Lime Street was nowhere near in this dream.

All I knew was that I had to catch a Number 1 to get to the train on time. And night was already starting to draw on. I even watched a Number 1 coming along and driving past the stand.

Then someone came up to me. She looked like the actress Anna Chancellor, for some reason. She asked me if I needed help. I explained what I needed, and she explained that she could help - but that I would need to take a little shortcut.

What is it with me and shortcuts in these damned dreams?

We stood beside a tiled wall - it looked like the entrance to an underground station - and Anna touched a tile. It moved with a slight click, and the part of the floor we were standing on sank into the ground. We reached the bottom, and Anna drew something on my vest. She said it was "for protection," and then she was gone and I followed the signs.

I found myself in a crowd, and people kept bumping into me - and for some reason, everybody suddenly began fighting with one another. A moment later, I had rounded a corner and I was alone in the corridor, but the fighting was just outside and it was starting to get nearer. I got the distinct impression that the fighting was spreading.

A man in a grey suit appeared. He resembled the grey-suited Government guy from the last season of Being Human and apparently he was very concerned. He had two or three grey-suited men behind him. He looked at my vest and touched the diagram on the cloth. He ordered me to remove the vest and gave me a shirt to put on instead.

Then he told me that the diagram was some sort of spell which had been miscast, and that it had turned into contagious aggro - and that while I, the creator of the spell and he and his men were immune, it was clear that nobody else was: so they were going to have to cordon off and quarantine the area before it spread beyond the Tube. He gave me a chance to get away: there was an emergency stairwell nearby which led to the surface. The stairs and railings were all painted deep red. I could hear the fighting getting closer, and decided to waste no more time dallying.

I climbed the stairs hastily, passing by some people along the way - they looked like transients - and instead of just climbing the stairs, I had to clamber up from landing to landing, grabbing hold of handholds - because apparently the stairs had been designed by M C Escher and if I'd tried using them I'd never have been able to reach the surface because they'd have gone on forever.

And so it was that I found myself, finally, outside on the surface. The sun was low on the horizon, and it all felt washed out like viewing film footage taken in the Seventies. I was in a park, rolling meadows, people hanging around, trees off in the distance - and not a sign of a road, or a Number One bus, anywhere.

What is it about these damned shortcuts?

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