Thick rush hour traffic. Got to love running slalom around clumps of people chatting or the hundreds of others weaving through the crowd to get to where they need to be.
So it's not the most convenient time to be confronted by a homeless man.
"You have lost your path."
What? No sob stories? No begging or pleading for spare change so he can eat or feed his dog? Odd. I consider it for a second or two, then quickly pass him and carry on my way.
This crowd is ridiculous! Time is ticking on and it's still packed on the streets. I continue to wrestle my way through, exploiting any small floor space I can.
Wait. How did he get ahead of me?
"You need to come with me. You are only getting more lost."
I walk right by, don't even register his existence. It can't be the same person. I left him behind and these people have slowed me down to a crawl.
He turns up again, barely a block ahead of our last encounter.
"These shades have no place to go. They wander the streets endlessly. If you're not careful, you'll join them...
I froze. That's my name. How did he know my name. I slowly turn to face him and this time, I approach and talk.
"Alright. How do you keep getting ahead of me? And how do you know my name?"
He beckoned me closer and led me to a dark, small back alley. Easy to miss if you aren't looking for it. Away from the noise of the crowd he began to explain.
"I know many things about you Daniel. About how you have lost your way. I have been sent to show you the path back."
Lost? He must have me confused with someone else. I know exactly where I'm going! I woke up...um. And then I...oh. I don't remember. When did I wake up? When did I leave home? Where is home?
This mysterious man saw the realisation in my face, and looked quite apologetic under his thick hair.
Now I listen to him I did notice he spoke quite eloquently, but as far as appearances are concerned he's just as unkept and messy as any other homeless person.
Who is he? I asked.
"My name is Virgil. A radiant lady who took pity on you sent me here to show you the true path. In her splendour I could not refuse her.
If you are ready we should leave promptly. The journey is long, and it will take you to other places. Dark places."
This didn't fill me with confidence, but this Virgil didn't seem worried. With little choice left I nodded and followed him deeper into this dark back alley.
I swore I heard a distant echo of screams.