The babble of the crowd gradually faded into interminable distance, to be replaced by a low, mechanical humming. He felt dizzy and his thoughts became progressively more clouded, as the humming rose to a deafening roar. He glanced at the other faces around the table, but they were animated in conversation, and seemingly unaware of the sound. His chest felt tight, constricted, and a numbness overcame him so that he was unsure if he still drew breath. The sound seemed to emanate from all around, but some instinct told him that it had a source; something was approaching, and was all too near.
To his right, the entrance to the bar darkened. A shadow crossed the threshold, looming large over the crowd, which seemed to part unconsciously to admit it. There was substance to the shadow; a simulacrum of a person, but something about the proportions was wrong. The figure was moving slowly through the people, but time seemed to mould itself to its will. As it moved, it turned, so slowly, craning its cowled head to check the faces of each oblivious person it passed. It was searching for something; for someone. Fear gripped his heart. He glanced at the exit, but it was too far. A bead of sweat ran down his brow. There was no escape. The cowled figure turned, slowly, slowly. He had to hide! He had to...too late!
As it turned, its visage came into view, but it was nothing but a reflection, an illusion, a minatorial chasm, reflecting all the horrors of the world. A lachrymose, tear-drop-shaped countenance focussed on him; its vicious emptiness boring deep into his soul, exposing everything within. There was nowhere to hide, no way to escape the menacing glare. Time and causality evaporated; every vestige of hope fled, and the future stretched on as an indefinite present; a moment frozen in time and stretched on to an infinite, pernicious, unforgiving eternity.
Then there was nothing; nothing but a dull ache, where his heart had once been. But something spoke up in the void; some sensation, new and unfamiliar, calling from the corporeal world. He was aware of a cold dampness, creeping along his leg, and voices; alarmed, solicitous, but not threatening. Time returned. He registered motion, before any kind of visible world presented itself. He blinked, and there were people, again, moving, LAUGHING! The laughter awoke his senses, washing over his soul like the first monsoon rains, and spoke to him of promise, of life, and humanity. The voices in the immediate vicinity were louder now, and a face presented itself close to his - concerned, perplexed. It was a familiar face, but...he could not call to mind why, or how it was familiar. Then a fragment surfaced in his mind, a dim recollection of a bright, sunny day.
He had fallen. and she was there, concerned as now. She ran to help him. Jessie. This is Jessie.