“Where am I, exactly?”
Thought Isabella to herself suddenly realizing that she was no longer in the Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby’s hotel room on the king-size bed watching the being that called himself: “I am Legion, for we are many,” rise to “life” out of a paisley Persian rug in the center of the hotel room.
Something or someone had transported her to…
…to the sliver of time and space over which she had control…the nether realm portal around reality as we know it.
Off in the distance, a light flickered. It was a buzzing old neon sign that read –
Suddenly, a familiar voice spoke:
“Hurry Isabella, come in little one, there isn’t much time!”
Said Clemora, Isabella’s recently departed grandmother.
Encouraged by the familiar voice, Isabella walked towards the “Enter here” neon sign.
As she drew closer to the neon sign, oddly the neon sign’s buzz changed to a thumping sound…pulsing like heartbeats…
…which to Isabella’s dismay, she realized…was her own heartbeat.
But how was that possible?
Isabella reasoned that the being calling himself: Legion somehow had accidentally triggered her ability to transport herself through a brief sliver of time/space.
Or was it intentional. Was she being tricked? She was not certain of anything at the moment…
Nonetheless, Isabella walked into the darkness under the “Enter Here” neon sign, tentatively curious.
Suddenly, she was in a room of sorts, with no walls that she could see, but the energy of walls seemed to enclose the area.
Up ahead in “the room” was a solid crystal table; its legs were crystal as well. The dim lighting over the table shone a circle of light around the peculiar scene.
A young woman sat at the crystal table crying. Her sobs filled the room with sorrow. Isabella could not hear any of the words spoken as the young woman began to speak…but her voice seemed familiar.
As Isabella took one more step towards the sobbing young woman…
…suddenly a person in a hooded cloak who had apparently been in the room all along, somewhere in the shadows, for Isabella did not see him until he brushed past her making contact with her shoulder. He held her gaze calmly for a moment, and then he vanished.
Isabella could not shake the fact that the hooded cloak man looked very familiar.
Frantically, she searched her mental Rolodex, her mind’s Rogue’s gallery of spies and hoodlums she had encountered over the past five years. But she could not place him either as a friend, a foe, or an acquaintance.
Isabella turned sharply, to see if she could catch another glimpse of the strange figure in the hooded cloak who had vanished. Suddenly instead of the cloaked figure, the neon sign had changed!
The neon sign still buzzing and flickering, now read:
“There is only ONE and you are not.” Speak this!
Isabella puzzled, blurted out:
“What the heck does that even mean?”
Her voice startled her as the words she had just spoken thundered echoing in the strange room, like an 80’s boombox carried on someone’s shoulder playing an 8-track cassette tape.
Isabella turned from the neon sign to discover that the young woman who was sobbing was gone.
In the next instant, which seemed like hours, standing close enough to touch her was her late grandmother, Clemora. Isabella began to weep.
Then, as suddenly as she appeared, her grandmother Clemora’s image vanished.
Instantly flames erupted where Isabella stood in the strange room. Instinctively, she lifted both her arms to protect her face…and then…
…Isabella awoke in the king-size bed back in Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby’s Hotel room!
Her espionage skills kicked in. Isabella stayed prone on the king-sized bed pretending that she was still “out” cold.
“Is she unconscious, or dead?” Asked the head that the otherwise headless being calling himself, “I am Legion for we are many,” carried tenderly in his left hand.
“She was not here for a moment, but she is back now trying to fool us.” Replied the headless full-body-tattooed being called Legion, to his intact but severed head in his left hand.
Realizing that her rouse had failed, Isabella leaped out of the bed three meters into the air and delivered a well-timed 360-degree kick.
Harnessing her judoka skills, Isabella timed the 360-degree kick so that her right leg high kick-out of her spin, would deliver a blow to the being calling himself Legion‘s severed head in his left hand.
But her move had no effect.
Surprised, Isabella slipped through the being calling himself Legion’s form landing behind him on the paisley Persian rug, breaking her fall alertly, with a tuck and roll move.
The headless being calling himself Legion spoke to his severed head in his left hand:
In unison, the headless one who called himself Legion, and his head which he carried in his left hand said: “Arise!”
Suddenly, six winged beings, the same height as the lavish hotel room appeared in a flash of dark lightning. Their massive combined girth almost filled the room on all sides.
Moreover, from somewhere inside the room inexplicably thunder rumbled. Isabella assumed correctly that this was another of the being calling himself, Legion‘s parlor tricks.
Remembering her grandmother Clemora’s clue as to what to do and “speak!” Isabella ignored the conjured-up cast of characters threatening, and advancing towards her.
She leaned forward and grabbed the gold-tassled edge of the Persian rug that still lay on the ground. Pulling with all her strength, which to her surprise, was suddenly greater than she remembered, Isabella gathered up enough of the Persian area rug to start rolling herself into its weighty fabric.
Twirling in the rolling Persian rug, Isabella said out loud repeatedly:
“There is only ONE and you are not!‘
On Isabella’s third repetition of the words…
The hotel room erupted into a localized fire just like in her vision.
The flames were swift and hot. The paint on the walls of the hotel room suddenly melted rolling down the now bare concrete, like acrylic rain.
The once lavish furniture pieces folded into their melting frames from the cauldron-like heat and incinerated to ash in seconds. The six winged minions the being calling himself, Legion had summoned, now screamed in agony as they vanished.
At the same time, the being calling himself Legion also disappeared.
Isabella was not convinced he was gone for good.
“This was all too easy,” she thought to herself.
Meanwhile, the carpet that protected Isabella from the room-consuming blaze quickly began to heat up.
Wasting no time, and coughing violently from the putrid smoke, Isabella half jumped and half twirled her body out the now exploding window with a cacophonous sound shattering the molten glass and metal frame fragments still left precariously dangling, as her body pelted through the burning window.
Suddenly as she spun, the Persian rug unwrapped as she plummeted from the fifth floor into the hotel’s newly installed Olympic-sized infinity pool…
As her body plunged into the pool, Isabella realized who the hooded cloaked figure in her vision was…
He was a much younger version of none other than the man in the Jeep who had tried to take her out earlier at the front entrance to this very hotel (Maatu).
Meanwhile far far away from Dubai…
An invisible army assembled in the dark realm. Its Commander, Setho Zang queen of the harpies, spoke to the primordial being who called himself, Legion:
“Did it work? Did you get it?”
“No, someone intervened and warned her!”
“Has she closed ‘The Door’?”
“No, our distraction worked in that regard, at least..”
****To Be Continued Next Sunday****