There is a smell in the air, something like sulphur. It’s not unusual for an addict to hallucinate a smell, and it is not unusual for such a smell to slowly slowly slowly turn into a man. In Abel’s case a man at the end of the bed naked but for a gas mask. That this is happening in a sewer deep under London could be considered unusual to some, but certainly not everyone. Does it bother Abel? It is unlikely, he is just pleased to have a Spletzer-Martin 5 travelling down his throat.
“Have you got a match?” He says to the man in the gas mask, it is an attempt at making conversation, the nakedness seems somehow familiar, comforting almost.
A huge flash occurrs.
The mattress catches fire. Flames leap into the blackness.
Screaming and trying to curl himself into the dampest corner Abel suddenly, slowly, luckily, realises this is a joke.
The flames die away as quickly as they arrived leaving Dread sitting there naked, still wearing a gas mask.
Dread was very much an hallucination, a familiar one by now, almost a friend. Down here in the sewers Abel is very glad to see a friend.
“Dread!” He shouts, like it is a reunion with a long lost buddy. Dread just sits there saying nothing, not even a nod to acknowledge he has realised Abel is there. This was of course nothing new to Abel, Dread was normally silent, yet down here his silence seems to have more authority than above ground, gravitas even.
Still it is disturbing sitting in the near dark on a damp shelf with a man wearing a gas mask having no idea where you actually are. Abel’s brain starts playing a tune to calm himself down, and in another corner of his deluded mind pictures develop, pictures and words, words and movement, till Dread is dancing and singing, tap dancing indeed on the flooded floor in front of Abel
“They call me Dread…”
Not only that but Abel, Dread, the two of them together, conjure up strange rooms, exotic costumes, an oasis a long long way away from here. By the time of the grand finale Dread is no longer just the personification of dread, but a Familiar Spirit, a guru, a holy fool. There to lead Abel through the dark tunnels to safety. He had after all provided Abel with his much needed Spletzer-Martins, hadn’t he?