I have to stop waking up like this. This time it is to a loud crash which echoes horribly in my Whisky-soaked head like a ball peen hammer to the knees. The pain travels straight down to my feet which feel as if a million biting spiders are feasting.
It's Sydney, I realize, even in the dark his short burly silhouette is unmistakable, even at just five foot six, the man is fourteen stone, almost all of it muscles earned from years in the SAS and God knows what else. The man dropped mention of Mogadishu once in conversation and I was wise enough not to ask further.
He can tell I'm awake, and as is customary for him, he does not bother with pleasantries, before I can protest he has sized me up, down to the blood-and-Whisky drenched wraps on my feet, and lifts me up like a wife being carried over the threshold, putting as much effort into it as one might require when lifting a pen.
I haven't quite come around to what is going on, not that I would be in much position to do a damned thing about it in his bear's grasp.
"You're a fucking mess, you know this," he says to me as he tosses me into the front seat like a sack of groceries. "You're just damned lucky I got involved when I did, because charges won't be filed."
"Charges? What charges?" I ask, wishing he had at least allowed me a glass of water and a paracetemol before yanking me up.
He won't answer me, and before I know it, we are in a part of the city I would never dare set foot in without someone like him around. He has found Sam, I guess, easily enough, this is the sort of place he might wind up. We pull up to an impossibly filthy building that passes for a hospital, and an orderly appears with a wheelchair which gets him a glare from Sydney that would freeze anyone. Instead, I am carried in, every protest from some public servant being ignored, and one security guard who quickly decides not to get in Sydney's way beats a retreat.
And then I see where he has taken me. It's Sam, but I scarcely recognize him. He looks pale, sick, and the room reeks of vomit. I am tossed onto an adjacent gurney before I can say anything. Sam sees me, acknowledges me, but looks as if he is feeling to sick to say much. I turn to say something to him, but before I get the first word out someone has come in and ripped the bandage off of my foot with such force I scream in pain. A syringe I really hope is clean is jammed into my arm and all I can see as the room grows blurry is Sydney, arms folded, standing in the corner, and a man I guess is a doctor who has not bothered to clean the blood of his former patient off. Even through the blur of whatever was in the syringe i can feel the hot pain of whatever is cutting into my foot. As things fade out I look over at Sam and he is looking back at me, which is the only thing is this room that isn't terrifying me.