Toby Snow came to as that feeling of dread he knew so well swept through his cramped body. The sequence of thoughts came first, am I alive, where am I, who am I with, what day is it.
Then came the familiar actions. With slow, robotic movements he felt down his body. The bed was dry. A minor relief. He rolled slightly to one side, he was alone, a bonus as he wouldn’t have to try to speak. He tried to raise his head and the nausea swept over him like a blanket of barbed wire.
After a few minutes to compose himself he looked round. He had no idea where he was but there was a vodka bottle beside him on the floor. Energised with the realisation he could ease the waves of pain shame and nausea he jerked like a man in an electric chair opening the bottle and guzzling from the neck.
He made it out of the bedroom door and realised he had no idea where the bathroom was. He started to projectile vomit and his body shook. He vomited over the wall and floor and crashing through an ajar door his stomach vented the last of the booze into the bath.
Dry heaves cramping his stomach followed. He avoided looking in the mirror.
He lifted his head and lurched over the toilet, a dark yellow trickle fell into the bowl. He stood slowly and pondered flushing but decided against it until he knew who else was in the place. He looked up and saw it was daylight.
Making it back to the bed he swigged another long slug of vodka. Slowly to keep it down. Sitting he waited for the hit and the shakes to ease. Three more gulps did it.
He became the flashbacks. A London pub, Phillip on the pool table, an impulsive decision to drive to Dover the next day on a booze cruise. Today. Is it Saturday? Sunday maybe.
He tried to focus on his watch. Tuesday 11th. Was it watch broken? He grabbed his mobile phone. Tuesday. 7:04.
He looked round the room. Cheap, grubby.
It was sparse and cold. He looked at a newspaper on the floor. Confused he tried to focus more clearly. God. What was he doing in France.