I was looking for someplace to go for lunch. It was a nice day, like any other day really, but I had some time on my hands and I thought I'd do something more enjoyable than the normal sandwich at my desk.
"It's days like this that you want a little adventure, find some place new that you haven't been before" I thought. So I walked up Clark street and passed a couple interesting places, but one kind of stood out in my mind. So, I retraced my steps and found it.
It was kind of a seedy place, full of boisterous people and quite crowded. The interesting thing is that as you passed the place on the sidewalk, I seem to remember a guy there who was kind of on the street, trying to bring people into the place. The same sort of guy that you'd see at a carnival trying to get you to play one of their rigged games. The bar itself had a name, I can't remember exactly what it was, but something like Tom's or Bob's - a very common sort of name.
As you entered the door, you turned left and had to ascend a flight of stairs to get into the joint. Loud voices cascaded down the stairway, and it was apparent the people were having a good, if slightly drunken, time.
As I got to the top of the stairs, I saw that the place was basically a bar. A bit smokey perhaps, but not oppressively so.
"How many?" a guy, I assume Tom or Bob or whatever his name was, yelled out to me
"What?" I asked
"It's Taco Thursday......how many you want?" The guy said
It was then that I noticed he was standing behind a table that was in the middle of the room. Pans with those little flame in a can things were there, and they held the best looking fixin's for chicken tacos that I had seen in a while. I looked up at Tom/Bob's face and he was beaming like he could read my mind. I could tell that he knew I thought those tacos looked awesome.
"Weird", I thought, "A Tom/Bob dude with the best tacos in town"
I told Tom/Bob I'd have three. Three chicken tacos.
"And get yerself a beer to with them" he said. Man, this guy was running the place like it was a midday party. I had the sense that maybe I bit more off than I could chew, but what the hell, I was there, the tacos looked excellent, and I had wanted a bit of an adventure.
Tom/Bob gave me my plate, I found a beer in my hand, and worked my way across the room, to an adjoining room where there were some extra seats. As I entered, I noticed this room was much different. There were only a couple other people in there, and they were just quietly eating their tacos. A couple of them stared at me as I walked in. I figured I should just eat my lunch and then get back to the office. I didn't like the vibe of this new room at all.
I don't recall eating the tacos, and as for the beer, I have no memory of drinking it. But there in front of me was an empty plate and glass.
I felt a little woozy.
"Oh, oh, this doesn't seem right" I thought.
As I got up to leave and re-entered Tom/Bob's room. People were looking at me a little weird. I think some may have been laughing at me. I couldn't really tell for sure, and to be honest, I didn't really care. I just wanted to leave.
I found my way to the stairs, and with heavy steps I trudged down to the main entrance and pushed the door open to Clark street.
It was dark outside.
And Clark street was nowhere to be found.
As I left the building I came out into a very run-down industrial sort of area. There were warehouses, some parked cars and a few people milling about, but not much else. "Holy shit, where am I?" I thought.
I started walking. I figured I'd better move like I knew where I was and like I had a purpose before someone figured out I was in trouble. They'd sense my weakness and I'd be finished!
I walked a block, maybe two. None of the streets were familiar. No Monroe, Madison, Washington, or anything that I was expecting. I did see an entrance ramp for something called the Boreman Parkway, but I had no idea what that was, and it certainly wasn't in downtown Chicago.
"Pursuit" I heard a voice behind me, but kept walking
"Pursuit" It was there again, and I turned around. It couldn't really get a whole lot worse at this point.
There behind me was a beautiful black woman. I remember thinking that her skin was perfect, almost radiant. She wore a simple, perfectly white dress.
"You're lost, aren't you" she said
I could hardly speak. Yes, I was lost. I was dizzy, disoriented, and to be honest not just a little bit frightened.
"Turnaround Pursuit. You need to get back to the city. Just look for the tall shining buildings" she said as she pointed skyward. I could see them off in the distance. How had I gotten so far?
"Here, come with me, I help you get started" She was so nice, so comforting I felt I could trust her. So I began walking with her and I started to feel better. Maybe things would be OK!
As we walked back towards the building that I had come out of I noticed that she had something in her hands. It was a card, or a sign - like those that limo drivers are holding at the airport when they are there to pick up their riders.
Something was written on her card, and although she was being casual about it, I could also tell that she was trying to prevent me from being able to read the sign. In a moment I caught only a glimpse, but it was enough.
"Pursuit - Ohare" was what it said.
At that moment, I woke up to an overwhelming sense of dread