“Room service!” chimed a muffled voice floating into Maatu’s half-dream state of consciousness. He had nodded off for almost half an hour while the sandstorm throttling Dubai’s cityscape had vanished.
Grunting, and suddenly feeling inexplicably alert Maatu replied: “Come in, please.”
The door’s lock unclicked, and into the hotel suite glided, a small serving cart with gilded handles.
Pushing the cart gingerly, the server presented Maatu’s room service breakfast order neatly laid out on the serving cart’s top shelf under a gold cloche. While, oddly, the coffee pot was on the serving cart’s bottom shelf uncovered.
Then the server curtseyed respectfully, and without speaking… ran away at full speed out of the room!
Realizing what was happening instantly, Maatu muttered unfiltered:
Immediately, he picked up the solid wood Louis XVI Infinity Rose nightstand and launched it with all his strength through the hotel window.
He followed his shotput throw by hurtling himself out the gaping hole the nightstand had pried open can-opener style.
He had survived falls many times before, and his wounds healed quickly. He was not concerned. He had been to this hotel before and knew the terrain well. Or, so he thought.
He expected to land in the bushes from the hotel’s third-story suite with a few broken bones. However, to his surprise, he was drowning…!
Instead of the soft bed of lush foliage he had expected, Maatu landed without proper entry preparation, into the hotel’s newly installed sparkling Olympic-sized infinity pool.
Meanwhile…Up above, the bomb blast meant for him instead of his finest pot of freshly brewed coffee was a lethal helping of, the almost impossible-to-obtain explosive nicknamed, liquid grenade.
The liquid grenade expunged its fluid with the flash bang force of three hand grenades smashing to smithereens everything in its path.
Shrapnel from the liquid grenade spewed debris 360 degrees from the coffee pot on the serving tray. No one within two meters would have survived, immortal or not.
Orienting himself quickly to his watery coffin Maatu half coughed and began holding his breath. His lips tightly closed he willed his limbs to move.
He began to push with his legs faster and faster trying to ascend. He surfaced gasping and choking, spitting out water as he exhaled.
Still coughing, he swam for his life arriving poolside where he was met by copious hands hauling him to safety and throwing towels around him as impromptu triage.
While he lay gasping on the cold Moroccan tiled poolside swaddled in towels, his lungs burned, his diaphragm doing its job, heaved spasmodically causing him to vomit up the swimming pool water making plans to travel down his wind-pipe the wrong way.
The three-hundred-year-old tracer for hire thought to himself:
“I have had better days. But, it is what it is.”
Meanwhile on the fifth floor of the same hotel…
The sudden blast in Maatu’s room shook the upscale hotel building’s third, fourth and fifth floors. These floors were reserved for Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby’s Hotel’s extended stay corporate guests and for walk-in traffic.
Feeling the hotel sway slightly like a brief moment of dizziness, Isabella noticed and spoke:
“What was that! Did you feel it! “
“Yep!” replied the fake Old Sisyphus;
‘…not sure. The sandstorm was over a short while ago. It must be something else. I’ll go take a…”
Isabella noted a very slight change in the fake Old Sisyphus’ body language. He seemed to be in a hurry to leave the room—to escape.
Her gut told her that somehow—she had slipped up in her game of subterfuge.
She had been made. The fake Old Sisyphus was on to her.
She prepared herself for her next move. She stood up and walked a few footsteps away from the hotel suite’s king-size bed.
The fake Old Sisyphus’ voice was interrupted suddenly by the sound of sirens in the distance drawing closer…
“We better move.” He said, “If the authorities are investigating whatever shook the hotel, they will no doubt, conduct room-by-room safety sweeps. We would be exposed to too many uncomfortable questions.”
Isabella knew that as a demon the fake Old Sisyphus was as windy as a sack full of farts; if his lips were moving —he was lying.
She knew that the truth was that they were in their employer’s (The CIA’s) suite. And, their alibis were intact.
To keep their “Agency” connection out of the hotel records, the suite had been registered in the name of a rug merchant who on paper, is a close friend of the carpet guild that serves The Royal household. Therefore, there should be no embarrassing questions when the two spies presented their rock-solid cover identities.
Then, the fake Old Sysphus hustled to the double-door entrance to the hotel suite where the two spies were holed up. He opened the door with a loud flourish and dashed into the hallway just outside the now-opened doors.
Nervously looking around and staring at the floor inside the hotel suite, he said hesitantly:
“I’ll just go ahead down the hallway and signal you when the coast is clear.”
Before Isabella could reply, the fake Old Sisyphus sprouted his dark blue wings, its expanse engulfed the hotel suite’s double doors entrance.
And then, he was gone.
Not a moment later, suddenly the entire hotel suite’s floor where Isabella stood began to move, on its own…
Isabella lunged back onto the king-sized bed which began to rattle violently. Inexplicably, the bed frame’s very sturdy legs fell off in unison. The bed crashed to the floor heaving and jolting Isabella as it came to rest haphazardly.
Then, all the furniture in the room inexplicably rose off the hotel suite floor at once!
In an instant, everything inanimate in the room that once was floating in the air stopped moving altogether. Isabella flopped onto the bed, jolted by the sudden halt…of what she could only guess was someone angelic good or evil that could control TIME and space.
Isabella sniffed the air, searching for demon evidence to explain the present predicament. She discovered nothing out of the ordinary.
Then the floor came alive. It began to heave like it exhaled and inhaled repeatedly.
Then, out of the Persian rug in the center of the hotel room, and assuming the paisley patterns of the rug as it “came to life” was a “body” of some kind of being taking form, and rising slowly.
The being’s consciousness seemed to take up all the square footage of the three-meter tall ceiling in the lavish suite except for around the bed where Isabella now lay prone half sitting.
The being had no head on its shoulders; but, carried its remarkably handsome humanoid head in its hand in the same manner as one might cradle a motorcycle helmet. Its body was unclothed and genderless. It “wore” the paisley pattern of the Persian area rug out of which had “risen,” like a gigantic three-meter-tall full-body tattoo.
Then a voice spoke:
The voice had the uncanny ability to appear to come from inside the hearer’s mind. That effect, shook the usually unflappable Isabella, to her core, as her internal organs began to quiver from the voice’s force.
“Hello, Isabella aka Ms. Navigator. Allow me to introduce myself:
I am Legion, for we are many. You don’t know me, but you know what I want.”
Then everything went dark for Isabella…
****To Be Continued Next Sunday****