Scurrying upwards, Meeko disappears into the leaves of the tree. They look like hands. The tree itself is also like a hand, with its branches reaching out to touch the sky like fingers seeking salvation from the mythical realm above. I say mythical. It could be there’s something up there. Y’know, something more, but until my life gains an intervention that can’t be put down to the effects of alcohol or hunger, I’m sticking to my guns. The ground beneath me shimmers. Those watching from their tables outside the many restaurants that litter the courtyard are nothing but stick figures, their features a swirling mess of ants mixing with the ink that floats eternally across my eyes. For a brief second, I have a flashback to a bad acid trip from my teens where flies crawled upon my skin before burrowing into my skull where they infected my brain with a colony of maggots. The trip hadn’t lasted long, but for weeks after, I was convinced there had been an element of truth to the trip, and that somehow, I had become infected. Subconsciously scratching my arms, I remember how I’d entertained the idea that the acid allowed my body and mind to slip through a tear in the very fabric of spacetime to another dimension, and that this dimension was rotten. Not quite hell, but not far off, and that the flies were slowly turning me into whatever unspeakable creatures roamed this other place. They had been many sleepless nights in those weeks after my trip. Alcohol helped to block out the worst of it, but it hadn’t been enough. Picking at a scab on my right arm, a lone fly buzzes around my ear before following Meeko up the tree.