San Diego, Paris and then Berlin...
I wake up to the sound of sirens, even just the rolling of my eyes causes a searing pain through my skull. Apart from the disappearing red and blue lights seeping in through some cracked spaces, everything's pitch black. I twist my hands, curl my fingers, yup, they seem ok. I lift my arms, nothing seems broken. How about my feet? They feel like ice. I try wiggling the toes, at least I think I am, whatever I am doing, there doesn't seem to be any other pain but what's going through my head. A slight panic, maybe I was bleeding from my head? I start to touch my face, no real aches, just my lip feels swollen to the size of a fat cherry, otherwise nothing. Slowly I comb through my hair, gradually getting closer to my scalp. Something sticky on the side of my temple. I follow the sticky goo down to my right ear, possibly my ear is bleeding and just behind it, I feel a gash, it is tender but oddly numb at the same time. Confidence grows and I start checking the rest of my body, clothes were all there, but one of my left ribs felt bruised, maybe when I fell to the ground I landed on it, hopefully just a bruising and nothing cracked.
I start to sit up, my skull instantly screaming. I ignore it. A sudden surge of adrenaline. I grab hold of my feet to give them a rub, gradually building up warm blood. I crawl over to the cracks where I saw the siren lights come through. I peel back newspaper from partly broken glass. Everything's dark on the streets apart from a couple of lamp posts, which quiver with orange lighting. I keep tearing away at the paper, looking behind me to see if I could get a better grasp what kind of space I was in. Eyes adjusting, I make out what seems like a mattress in the far corner and next to it, a door perhaps?
Before I was going anywhere I needed to find my shoes. The temperature was below average and the more I was adjusting, the sooner I realized that I was on the verge of hypothermia. Partly feeling my way and adjusting my eyes, the room seems to be really small by about three meters by two. I head over to the mattress. A pair of trainers, a sweater, sweat pants, pair of wool socks, scarf and some kind of hunter hat lay perfectly folded, as if on display on the mattress. I immediately pull the socks over my feet, grab the sweat pants and slide them over my jeans. The sweater also, which feels unbearably itchy but choose to ignore it. Pulling on the rest, I suddenly feel a sense of cosiness overcome me, and for a moment all I want to do is curl up on the mattress and fall asleep.
However ignoring the sudden urge to pretend that what's surrounding me is far from normal, I feel my way for the door knob and give it a slow turn. Slowly pulling the door open, an almost strobe like flicker from a few overhead hall lamps light up the hall way, an intense fume of burnt rubber crushes my sense of smell and I hold the collar of the sweater over my nose. Other than that there seems to be no noise, nothing but the electric flicker from the dying bulbs over head.
I take my first step onto the wooden panels, avoiding a creak. Which direction? Left or right? Both ends were dark. I try to sniff out the direction the fumes were coming from, maybe best to avoid them. They seem stronger to my left. I step out and turn right. With just a few steps into a direction that could hopefully get me out of here, a sudden squeal, like finger nails scraping down a chalk board but with the volume turned up, comes towards me and the next thing I know, a blow, pushing me flat on my back. The squeal is gone the second it comes and without thinking I get up and run.