Meanwhile, at the cinema…

The usher shone her torch into the man’s face and demanded to see his ticket. The man screwed up his eyes, using the palm of his hand as a visor to ward off the beam of light. Disoriented he picked himself up off the stairs, affording the usher her first proper look at him. Great, she thought, one of those

It was not unheard of for people to dress up when they came to the cinema. It was sci-fi geeks, mainly, although sometimes you got Disney princesses by the coachload. But for a brand new film, it was rare. Unheard of, in her experience.

“Ticket?” the man repeated as though the word was foreign to him. The usher had to admit, he’d done a great job with his outfit. He looked just like the bloke on the poster in the foyer.

“You can’t be here without a ticket,” the usher went on. “Do I have to get the manager?”

“Manager?” the man attempted the word. Clearly it made no sense to him.

“Oi, sit down and shut up!” a customer called from near the back. “Trying to watch a film here. Arsehole.”

This led to a chorus of murmurs of approval and repetitions of the insult with added embellishments.

The man turned to face his detractors but found he couldn’t see them in the darkness. His gaze followed the ray of light emanating from a square window high in the back wall. The light widened as it reached the opposite wall, illuminating the surface with a vast image of people the man recognised. His friend and his foe were both staring at him with a mixture of bewilderment and impatience. The man tried hard to remember what had happened. He’d been in a fight. He and Johnno had infiltrated the enemy’s lair. He had been thrown with great force across the room. The next thing he knew he was picking himself up in this strange place where people sat in the dark looking at giant pictures.

Johnno’s voice boomed out all around the room.

“Are you coming back up here or what?”

“Yes, coward,” sneered his adversary. “Come back here so I can kill you.” He snatched Johnno by the throat and squeezed.

“Please!” Johnno croaked, spluttering and fighting for breath.

The usher was shoved aside as the man strode down the stairs and looked up at the screen, dwarfed by the magnified images. He turned and appealed to the usher for help.

“How do I – how do I get back?”

“I don’t know, mate,” the usher pulled out a pair of 3D glasses and put them on. She took a seat on the front row and folded her arms. “But I’m sure as hell going to enjoy watching you try.”

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