1978? S Hartwell

Another piece from my archive. It was inspired by a music video seen on TISWAS one Saturday morning - a guitar piece (might have been called something like "I Can't Help The Shape I'm In") it was a series of dream images of a person fleeing from something. The scenes kept changing like a dream and the changes got faster and faster. Right at the beginning a wine glass was knocked from a wall and shots of the falling glass were interspersed with the other images. At the end, the unseen pursuers were closer, the wine glass hit the ground and smashed and the message given by the smashing glass was unmistakable … It was so close to some of my own odd dreams (glad I'm not alone in have running dreams) that I tried to write the imagery down. I never saw the video again.

The Wine-glass is knocked from the wall. It tilts, stands at a crazy angle frozen in time. I flee. The race begins.

Running through the undergrowth, followed by footsteps - there is no escape, trees block my path. I hear their footsteps running in the leaves behind me. The world spins.

Now I am running up the back stairs of a lonely down-town hotel: 6, 7 flights of stairs; there is a room at the top - sanctuary? I must reach it! I open the white door - the room is empty! The windows are sealed down! Dead end, an empty promise, a trap. Scenes shift.

Running down a corridor to the fire-escape but it's locked to me. I beat on it with my hands, hearing the footsteps drawing nearer, I am scrabbling at the door. Scenes blur and change.

Running through the wood, dead leaves rustling underfoot, undergrowth crashing as I plunge through it. Muffled shouting and footsteps behind me compete with my own disjointed thoughts. Scenes blur and shift, rattling past like express train carriages through a station.

The wine-glass tips over from the edge of the wall. No longer frozen in time, it falls, I run. its fall seems slowed, my run is desperate, through disjointed scenes which blur and shift like a TV changing channels.

Running through a weed-ridden park down cracked steps. First silence then the dreaded footsteps, the menacing wordless threats and screams from far behind, me. Those dreaded running footsteps following inexorably. Blur, shift.

In desperation, running down the back corridor of that hotel but finding no escape. The world spins, the world changes.

The wine-glass falls from the wall, its fall slowed clown as the seconds seem like hours. When the bright glass smashes on the ground below and the twinkling shards of crystal fly up from its wreckage … then my hopes will he shattered, I will be caught. Until then the whirling changing scenery of my paranoia, pursuers always just out of sight but still there, oh yes - still there.

Trapped, helpless at the fire-escape; beating my clenched fists on the locked doors. There is no escape. I spin round and …

Lungs bursting I surface from the river - no place to hide beneath its still waters…

Through the woods, down stone steps into the garden, panting, chest heaving, legs aching, beneath the arch, twisting, turning, SCREAMING. Footsteps drawing nearer, closing in on me, echoing, multiplying.

The glass topples, falling Irrevocably downwards, in slow motion, silently nearer the ground, every moment nearer to smashing. The end of its fall is near.

Had now with fear, heart fluttering wildly with effort, chest heaving trying to take in air, legs moving by habit and sheer willpower and the fear of the following footsteps cutting like the cold blade of a knife.

Tiring rapidly as the wine glass falls yet nearer the ground, its fall prolonged.

Running through the woods, desperate to escape those footsteps, leaves falling and whirling about me, blocking me,

The empty room at the top of the stairs,

A fire-escape locked against me,

Footsteps following, ever following,

The wine-glass falling ever falling,

The fear of capture,

Leaves whirling about me as I run and the unhindered footsteps pounding through the leaves in pursuit.

Tiring rapidly, that glass nearer than ever to the ground, falling, falling and the world about me is spinning aver faster.

Down cracked stone steps, running, A fire-escape i locked, Through the leaves, darting between the thick trunks,

Through the leafy undergrowth tearing at me, The glass still falling, Footsteps still chasing - HELP!

Tired, scared, running down the steps and against tall locked Iron gates like prison bars I don't know what it is I'm supposed to have done, but I'M INNOCENT!

The glass nearer the ground its last few seconds drawn out endless.

The fire-escape - no escape.;

Trees in my path.

Up circling flights of stairs to a room which is empty, a broken promise.

Footsteps and now piercing screams from behind me.

That glass, nearly on the concrete below the wall in a crazy spinning world.

Mad with fear now, nearer to - to what?

Chasing nightmare footsteps in a maze of blocked passages, voices laughing, ever laughing at my efforts to escape - escape from what?

I surface from a river of madness, my mind full of its own madness.

The room is empty, the windows are locked down.

Green leaves rustle, hazy colours tumble about me as I crash between the tree trunks, stirring storms of autumn leaves. When did it suddenly become autumn? How long have I been running - how long has my world been defined by the tumbling wine glass?

The fire escape is sealed - dead end.

An empty street - I run along the pavement, my heart pounding, my reality is dissolving now; running into a cheap hotel and up 6, 7 flights of winding stairs (I've been here before! I know what comes next!), there is a room at the top - I open a white door, thinking "maybe this time …".

Through the wild gardens, along the weed-ridden paths, the gates are locked - trapped like an animal.

The white room is empty, the windows sealed, behind me, feet are now pounding up the carpetted stairs.

Trees closing in on me.

The glass nearly touching the ground,

Crashing footsteps behind me in the undergrowth.

I surface from! a river, gasping for air.

The glass which started this - It is falling - I’m falling with it - I’m falling, the world is falling.

The fire-escape is locked, pressed against it, I pant. Footsteps advancing up the narrow corridor behind my. I look away - no escape.

HELP? Footsteps crashing after me through the wood. Along the corridor, fear vaguely registering, the door to the room is locked.

Sealed windows, footsteps in the doorway, I spin round.

The world spins.

Leaves whirl around my head.

Breathless panic now.

The lip of the wine-glass touching the ground.

Surfacing, breathless.

A locked fire-escape.

The empty room.

Leaves falling.

Down ancient stone steps.

Crazed running.

Up a winding staircase.

Disjointed scenes of my life.


The door is locked.

The wine-glass smashes.




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