Christ on a bike! A herd of bullocks are rampaging around inside my head and crashing into anything and everything they encounter, clearly not giving a shit about it. Lights keep pulsing behind my eyelids; not friendly disco-type jobbies but harsh white flashes like the flickering of a thousand faulty fluorescent lamps. My cheek is pressed hard against a cold and unyielding floor. It feels damp; that might be down to the condensation on the flagstones or to the drool that runs from my half-open mouth. Fuck! I am in a state.
I open one eye, testing the water as it were. This takes some effort as the eyelid seems glued shut. A quick rub with the back of a hand helps and finally light strikes my retina making me yelp with pain. I wink a few times to try and settle things down a bit and inspect the back of my hand. It is smeared with crusty flakes of what is presumably blood which explains why eyelid was stuck shut. Putting two and two together, the pounding head and the blood, which I assume is my own, I am guessing I have a head injury of some sort. I shut my eye and have a tentative feel of my noggin.
Holy fucking mother of god! I hit the spot there! An explosion of pain rips across my skull and I scream loudly. Involuntary, of course, and it hardly helps. The pain slowly subsides from intensely excruciating torture to mere agony. With more care I explore my scalp again and find a blood-encrusted lump the size of golf ball. This clearly is the source of my discomfort and, like a moth drawn to the flame, I give it another prod. Jesus fucking H Christ! What did I do that for? Fuck, fuck, fuck! I wait for the fire in my brain to dampen down a bit before opening my eye again.
Where the bloody hell am I? Flagstone floor, rough walls without finish and a small window no bigger than a shoebox set up high and devoid of any frame or pane, just a basic hole in the wall. Most of the light comes via this window but there is a fair amount spilling through the numerous gaps in the door. It appears to be not much more than a few ancient planks nailed together, all long worn by the weather, time and whatever else likes a good gnaw on wood. There is a least an inch gap at the top and two inches at the bottom. Not the most salubrious of places; there is a smattering of straw on the floor and my left hand is resting in dung. Well that answers the question; an outhouse on a farm somewhere.
With immense effort I manage to push myself into a sitting position against the lumpy wall and stare at the door trying to piece together how I got in this predicament. Let’s see now, it’s Tuesday – well I presume it’s still Tuesday; I have no idea how long I’ve been out cold. A routine reconnaissance stroll along the Falls Road looking as inconspicuous as possible to see how the land lies. Then there is the sound of a vehicle approaching fast, very fast, a screech of brakes and I turn to see men piling out of a van, smoke still coming off the tyres. This is not good. I swing back round to make a run for it, a large figure blocks my way and then… nothing. I wake up here. This is definitely not good.
There is a rattle from the door and after a few seconds it swings open. That same large figure stands silhouetted like a cut-out figure in the doorway. A cut-out figure holding a long-nosed pistol by its side and I realise that there is only one way out of here.