Hendricks returned to consciousness and the conviction he was in a submarine being tumbled about the seabed, his head swollen with the pressure, his stomach churning with acid fear and nauseating dislocation. This he might have accepted but for an implacable sense of foreboding welling up through the terror and bewilderment. The situation would disintegrate further. Whatever unspeakable deeds he had enacted, regardless of irreparable damage caused to himself and those close to him, he would soon be making things worse. Nothing he could do about it.
His mouth tasted of corpses; his soul had left for the coast. He was crawling out of blackout. He didn’t know what terrified him more - what he’d done in this latest one, or when the next one would descend on him, He reached automatically for a bottle under the shabby, wet bed.
Once he found the bottle, he discovered the room. It was a small room and smelled of things even worse than himself. There was a small notice affixed to the back of the door. Another hotel room, then. And, from the damp on the walls, not quite one star standard. He’d landed lucky.
He pulled himself to his feet, gagging with the effort and crept over to try and decipher the language on the tariff notice on the door. It refused to swim into focus. The door was bolted, though. He’d had that much sense when he’d arrived.
It was a mildly peevish gurgling that jerked him into feral alertness and sent him stumbling into the bathroom, horribly afraid that he wasn’t alone. And he wasn’t.
There was a piglet in the bath, entangled in his top sheet and blankets. It looked reproachfully up at him. He sighed with relief. For a moment he’d thought he’d heard a baby.