Josef Wenger's arrogance as an immigrant and a businessman had, against the odds, brought him success and wealth in life, but neither contentment nor peace of mind. Nobody ever knew about his recurring bad dreams.
Josef's sleep patterns had always been disturbed by one dream in particular, a dream which always began at the Ice Works and ended at the allotments on Shadyside. He knew these places as a boy when visiting his grandparents on Spansyke Street. The word 'Spansyke' itself fascinated him, creeping into his mind when least expected, bouncing around and taunting him. A word full of cogs and jagged edges; a word that could tear open careless flesh just like the vicious grappling hooks he'd seen being used at the end of the street, on the loading platforms of the Ice Works. Here, he watched huge coffin-sized blocks of ice being manhandled into the loading bay from the bowels within; brutal hooks biting into the slithering blocks as they were propelled onto the backs of waiting flatbed lorries. He never found out where they went or what they were used for.
His dream always started here and always with the distant sound of a banjo being played; perhaps the one he had often heard his grandfather playing on special occasions in the front parlour. He watches helplessly from above as an ice block being loaded, suddenly began to expand. Terrified men ran in every direction. Resident pigeons took flight from the rafters as it crashed from the raised loading bay and began to move out into the street, expanding exponentially as it went. Instantly, it had become taller than the houses, sweeping everything in its path before it. Doors were splintered, gas lamps were felled and parked cars were crushed like toys as the ice exerted its terrible power.
Suddenly, he is deposited onto his grandfather's allotment where the terror he just witnessed has receded into a bizarre calm. The ice has disappeared and in its place, a moraine of the detritus it has carried with it deposited across the allotment area. Twisted metal and piles of brick and timber lay strewn across the site. A completely undamaged garden gate suspended curiously from an untouched wigwam of bean canes. The allotment shed is still standing and inexplicably untouched.
He sees himself outside of his grandfather's shed, a familiar sanctuary from the outside world. He pushes open the door with a strange feeling of trepidation and can just make out, in the half light, something that should not be there. To his horror, he realises that one of the terracotta pots sitting on the table by the primus stove contains the stuffed shrunken head of his grandfather. HE WAKES.