The steel door burst open, allowing the metallic scent of the wet city into the corridor. Struggling forward into the night, Andrew lost his balance, smacked his shoulder on the door frame, tripped over something on the concrete stoop and went face first on to the greasy asphalt of the alleyway outside.

Andrew pushed himself up onto his palms and knees, tucked his feet under himself and stood up on wobbly legs. Buildings swayed above him, and above them shimmered the blinking lights of a passing DC-10. Pain pulsed at the base of his skull, and the distant beams of that airliner made him wince and squint. Even the dark alleyway assailed his eyes like the brightest day. He could sense, however, that the pain was receding and the dull orange glow of the city was becoming more bearable by the second.

Home, he suddenly thought, and struck out towards the street, steadying himself on a metal post. Walking off, he didn’t notice the hand print he had left behind, as though the post was made from clay.

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