Black. His eyes struggled to penetrate the dark, solid nothing; struggled to glimpse something; anything. Where was he? Where was . . . this? He squinted hard. A shape emerged within the black. A rectangle—not too far, but nothing he could reach out and touch. Wait, was it a doorway? A way out? He felt the night air ever so slightly. Was it open? He crawled toward it, feeling his way up two gritty stone steps to a threshold. It was an open doorway. Various shadows of uncertain origins emerged but nothing in the new moon sky could illuminate what was in front of him. Remaining on his hands and knees, he smelled the muddy river with its banks that he could not see. He was near the Thames then. Hearing the creaks and clinks of ships down at the docks, he blinked rapidly, squinting in hope of squeezing an image from the night. Staying in the doorway, leaning against the jamb, he became aware of his throbbing head. He closed his eyes to rest. Suddenly wishing for . . . what? A smoke. That’s what. A long pipeful, that smooth draw that gently cradled him back into oblivion. He opened his eyes and blinked again. This time the street slowly revealed its black-toned self: damp cobblestones; murky fog swirling over them. No lights anywhere—no lanterns, no gas lights. Inky fog floating—floating like he was. He raked his hands through his hair. That’s when he became aware of his wet fingers. Sticky. He tried to peer at them, holding his hands right in front of his face, to no avail. A small light far off suddenly caught his attention. Moving in short arcs as though held in someone’s hand as they walked. Coming his way? He knew he couldn’t linger here in the doorway. He didn’t know why. Didn’t think to ponder. He simply knew he had to leave. Not be found here. He needed to go . . . leave. Pretend he had never been there at all. Not here. Not here by the docks. Nor on this street. Not. Here. Pulling himself up with both hands on the jamb, he managed to stand erect, his legs spread. Swaying above his planted feet, he found balance, then turned from the river; away from the approaching lantern and its carrier. Attempting to hurry while tripping over his own feet, he staggered up the street, falling several times. He turned left onto the first twitten he found and leaned against a barrel to catch his breath. Must. Leave. Go. His dull brain, driven by instinct, pushed his feet forward. By now, he’d sorted out where to go. Far away. Away to home. Home and safety. He smeared his bloody hands onto his already bloody clothing and moved unsteadily on, disappearing in the darkness. He was never there.