“What’s taking her so bloody long just for some salt? Has she (Isabella) time-traveled back to Hallstatt mines in the Neolithic age or some ridiculousness like that for original salt?”
Mumbled, self-righteous in his own mind, Maatu (aka Mr. Tracer as he likes to be called) as he paced nervously back and forth in the Emergency stairwell at Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby hotel.
Self-righteous because the three-hundred-year-old tracer for hire consoled his gnawing conscience daily, that he had never murdered anyone…directly. In his thinking, he merely found fellow human beings through his gift of tracking anyone on the planet by their DNA.
And then he delivered them up to whoever hired him. Of course, his client’s intentions, which he well knew, were the demise or the abuse of the person(s) he delivered in exchange for his steep fee.
As he stood in the Emergency stairwell at the Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby hotel, Mr. Tracer (Maatu) had no illusions, however.
His gut informed him that Isabella would see through to his real agenda.
The Door that Isabella had opened with the forbidden incantation opened in the Jumeirah Al Naseem Southeby hotel’s stairwell directly in front of Mr. Tracer (Maatu)!
It was like the sound of Formula I engines at the pole position as the five red lights go out, signally the start of a Grand Prix race.
The floor, the steps, the iron railing the solid concrete wall shook violently. Bits of mortar lept from the bricks onto the floor spraying white sand and concrete chards in plumes of debris. The entire floor lurched violently as The Door materialized.
Mr. Tracer (Maatu) jumped backward, bracing his fall with his arms as his head hit the railing on the stairs with a discernable thud. Blood gushed from the gash on the back of his skull.
He rubbed his head gingerly wincing in pain. Quickly he applied all of the costly Frankincense and spikenard ointment he carried in the ampule around his neck, an ancient accelerated healing balm for his wounds.
Out of this microcosm of mayhem, The Door appeared as a massive ten-meter-in-diameter flaming circle around a dark chasm. Adding to the effects, a flaming hand typed repeatedly, around the circle’s circumference, letter by letter, in ancient Aramaic the incantation Isabella had spoken to “Open The Door!”
Then… out of The Door,
…stepped Legion, dressed this time in the cloak of Death’s sidekick Duat —the afterlife. Legion held his severed head tenderly in his left hand. He spoke:
“Where is she? I hold you to your word, Tracer. You deliver, and you get your fee to pay for your precious forbidden ointment.”
“Umm…Your Lordship, err umm…” said Mr. Tracer (Maatu) stumbling to his wobbly feet and tripping over his words. The eggshells in his mind crunched as he treaded his mental thesaurus, clawing for an acceptable reply.
“She is close by. I expect her shortly. But…eh there is a problem…”
“What kind of problem, Mr. Tracer?”
“By now most likely…she has salt!”
“What, how could you allow that to happen?”
With that Legion disappeared angrily as suddenly as he had appeared.
As a parting shot, always ready to accuse humanity, Legion’s severed head spoke as it moved backward in the circular flaming door as it closed:-
“By the way, Mr. Tracer, did you inform Ms. Navigator (Isabella) about your part in her dearly departed grandmother Clemora’s sudden passing…hmmm?”
As the circle closed behind Legion’s form and his severed head…
Everything in the stairwell reverted back to its wholeness before The Door opened…a restorative after-effect of the side of The Door facing humanity’s reality on Earth.
For, as much as The Door kept the Dark Realm at bay on one side, it protected humanity on the other.
A few minutes Earlier…
Isabella left the opulence of the Private Ladies’ Ensuite bathroom made for single-person use.
Quietly, she closed its door and tiptoed softly, with the box of salt in hand, to the nearest wall to the hotel’s Emergency Exit door.
She carefully poured from the box’s metal spout, a few granules of the now anointed salt (anointed because the divine flaming sword she normally carried in her bloodstream, had hidden inside the box of salt.)
Isabella tossed the few salt granules in her hand in the air around her and…she disappeared.
She reappeared invisibly on the other side of the wall inside the hotel stairwell where Mr. Tracer (Maatu) awaited her return!
She saw Mr. Tracer (Maatu) pacing. She heard him voice his concerns about her tardiness.
But, he was unaware of her presence. He could neither see nor hear Isabella in her invisible nature.
Then, Isabella saw the room transform suddenly…
She discovered to her dismay, that already The Door was being used at will by The Dark Realm. Her worst nightmare had come true. They had the gall to use The Door to come and go as they pleased like rush hour at Picadilly Circus.
As the stairwell began to shake and rumble, Isabella held on to the railing praying that her invisibility shield of salt would hold long enough to determine The Dark Realm’s plan for The Door.
She lept invisibly away from the railing just before Mr. Tracer (Maatu)’s body flung backward, his head making contact with the railing that she had just released.
She watched as Mr. Tracer (Maatu) applied the contents of an ampule carried around his neck to his wound. From its concentrated and incredibly beautiful oil-based instead of alcohol-based aroma, Isabella assumed that it was something very rare and ancient.
She watched and listened to the aforementioned conversation between Legion with his severed head in hand and Mr. Tracer (Maatu). Her gut wrenched as she felt justified in her decision not to trust Mr. Tracer.
Still invisible, Isabella smiled at their (Maatu and Legion’s) alarm about her possession of salt, while she confidentially strutted around Mr. Tracer (Maatu) cowering before Legion.
As Legion, departed in a huff and his severed head goaded Mr. Tracer about his role in the death of her grandmother, Isabella heard the gut-wrenching words that Legion’s severed head spoke:
‘By the way, Mr. Tracer, did you inform Ms. Navigator (Isabella) about your part in her dearly departed grandmother Clemora’s sudden passing…hmmm?‘
Isabella held her mouth as her eyes welled up and poured out her grief in torrents of tears.
She sobbed into her hands for fear that her sounds would give her position away.
She then slipped out of the Emergency Exit still invisible, and moments before the stairwell environment reverted back to normal.
Isabella rushed into the Private Ladies’ Ensuite. She sobbed uncontrollably.
Then, she took a deep breath and exhaled, giving herself a moment to regroup and acknowledge her soul’s pain. Grieving on the job in the spy business is a luxury few if any agents can afford.
Isabella left the Private Ladies’ Ensuite for the last time and made her way the short distance to the hotel’s Emergency Exit stairwell where Mr. Tracer (Maatu) waited. She put on her best performance as she entered the stairwell.
“So, I got the salt. Anything to report so far Mr. Tracer. Anything at all?”
“No, no, nothing to report Ms. Navigator. All’s quiet.” Replied Mr. Tracer (Maatu) smiling convincingly, looking her dead in the eyes, all the while resisting the urge to tend to his still-throbbing head wound.
“All righty then, let’s pour some of this salt to protect us. You first, Mr. Tracer. Here, pour the salt in a circle around the outside of both your feet.”
As soon as Mr. Tracer (Maatu) had encircled his feet in the anointed salt, Isabella grabbed the box from his hand and hugged it tightly.
An eerie silence followed for several minutes, and then…
Mr. Tracer (Maatu) suddenly screamed as the salt around his feet erupted in flames. He tried to move but it was futile.
He shrieked as he watched parts of his limbs disintegrate at the cellular level, into piles of dust on the stairwell floor—as the salt flames began to break the “unbreakable spell” that had kept the three-hundred-year-old complicit assassin alive.
Suddenly the stairway began to rattle like before. The walls shook violently as if they were about to topple…
Then, inexplicably, The Door opened again…its fiery hand still writing letter by letter the incantation Isabella had spoken last night to open it.
Without warning… amid the deep boom of The Door’s powerful sound…
…a pair of magma-dripping talons reached out of The Door and grabbed the still-screaming Mr. Tracer (Maatu) and pulled him from the flames…
“****To Be Continued Next Sunday****