Another rainy day in another rainy city. It was Manchester, but it could have been anywhere. Walking down Thomas Street into the heart of the bohemian Northern Quarter, all of a sudden I was eaten by the pavement.
You know, sometimes, when walking on a rain-soaked pavement, it looks innocent until you step on it. Then it adopts a fleeting devilish grin as the corner suddenly drops several inches because the sand underneath has washed away. Result: soaking wet legs and slight embarrassment.
Anyway, this was one of those times, except rather than splashing me with mud, the pavement totally collapsed, breaking away like a snapped cheese cracker.
Unable to stop, I fell down the hole, tumbling over and over, as the hole got bigger and bigger…or was I getting smaller and smaller? Hard to tell being in the middle of it all. Didn’t really matter. All much too alarming for trivial observations like that. No passing bookshelves, teapots or rabbits down this hole. Punks, drunks and hobo’s would be more its style.
Down, deeper, faster – until a small amount of light could be seen far off. With the momentum of the fall the light rapidly grew. A matrix of lines revealed. I couldn’t slow down, there was nothing to hold on to, no effective brace. I was going to hit…
I crashed through the interlacing light, landing on another pavement, stumbling half into the road, fell to my knees and then collapsed on the ground, dazed.
After a moment, I looked around and saw the light fade around the bricks of a railway arch. I must have come from the inside, out. How truly perplexing. I’d landed on Chapel Street, within sight of Salford Central train station. I’d just travelled half-way across the city, technically into another city entirely. When I looked at the arch, there was no longer a hole, no light, no detritus to evidence my abrupt emergence.
What on earth just happened?