Navigator – Chapter 1 – A Sunday Short Story

Image credit: © lovepik.com

“Move, move, move, haul a@_, Navigator!”

Shouted Areef Whittington III (code name: Old Sisyphus), racing across the hotel rooftop, while he retrieved the high-tech goggles from his breast pocket with his usual suave flare.

The high-tech goggles, affectionately named Odin’s eye, commenced its subroutine with soft whirring sounds. In five seconds Odin’s eye created a parachute inside a backpack which then strapped itself unaided to Old Sisyphus’ shoulders.

As Isabella Borbon (code name: Navigator) raced, in her Versace strap on stilettos, her arms paddled, almost oar-like, propelling her forward. Swiftly she caught up with Old Sisyphus:

“Ready?”

“Did you get it?”

“Yes, recorded and transmitted. Our job is done, old friend. Let us go home. Our ship awaits.”

Said Isabella as she donned her collapsible pair of Oden’s eye goggles hidden in her bosom, for there was little real estate elsewhere to conceal anything in her Vera Wang, body-hugging barely see-through white evening gown.

Meanwhile, her Odin’s eye goggles also created a parachute inside a backpack and strapped itself, hands-free, onto her shoulders), Isabella continued:

“Proceed my friend with phase two. Please signal that we are “coming out hot.”

No sooner than Old Sisyphus pressed the GPS beacon on his wrist to signal to their extraction team, that they were on their way down and in a hurry…

Suddenly, although not unexpectedly…

…came a loud whoompf as the rooftop door a few meters away swung open. The tungsten iridium-encased iron door slammed against an adjacent wall with a thunderous clamor.

Ten of the Sheikh’s elite security guards who had been chasing them since the ballroom incident, rushed onto the hotel rooftop a few short meters away from the two spies.

The Sheikh’s deadly elite security guards were not to be trifled with. As members of the legendary warrior Shishuh tribe of the Musanduum mountains, their reputations preceeded them.

Therefore, as the sword-wielding/throwing elite security guards burst through the rooftop access door…Isabella and Old Sisyphus decided to forgo any further pleasantries and leaped in unison off the exterior girders of the Burj Al Arab.

..and off its fifty-three-story turret into Dubai’s cool midnight ocean air.

Isabella’s body careened haplessly free-falling. Fighting the strong winds in the midnight breeze she forced her hands and body into an arrow shape and dove to try to catch up with Old Sisyphus.

One hundred meters below her and off to the far right was Old Sisyphus still in free-fall. Isabella could see through her goggles that he had attempted to steady himself with his arms and legs outstretched waiting for her to catch up…before they deployed it.

Isabella caught up with Old Sisyphus jolting his body as she clamped her legs and arms around his torso, accidentally poking him in the gut with her strap on stiletto heels. She clung on for dear life bracing herself from what was to come…

Then the two pulled their rip chords in unison. As the two parachutes expunged their fabric, unseen electronics stitched the two chutes together in seconds to form one massive twenty-meter high black sail/parachute flapping in the cool breeze of the night sky.

The sail/parachute was designed to mimic the iconic shape of the Burj Al Arab hotel to facilitate a discreet and controlled descent.

The force of the now gigantic sail/parachute jerked Isabella and Old Sisyphus violently, like entwined rag dolls on a string, floating them upwards and away from the prying eyes of the Burj Al Arab‘s scores of external cameras.

Their escape seemed to be going to plan…

Then…without warning… the sail-shaped high-tech parachute, exploded…

In seconds, a plume of orange and blue flames consumed the computer-generated sail-shaped parachute. Like a candle blown out at a birthday party, the strong winds snuffed out the fire leaving only a whimpering trail of grey smoke.

Isabella and Old Sisyphus were now in a perilous free-fall still clinging to one another…

Meanwhile back on the rooftop access to the Burj Al Arab in the stairwell…

Hiding in the shadows keeping out of sight of the retreating throng of the Sheikh’s elite guard scampering down the stairs back to their stations, was a tall lanky Bedouin (code named, Tomb).

His piercing eyes had seen death far too many times. He had even stopped counting the many faces that rose up to accuse him when he went to sleep each night. Skulking in the shadows, Tomb tapped his heavily encrypted communication earpiece once:

“Yeah, it’s me. It’s done.”

“Go down to ground level and make sure they are dead.” Replied the woman on the other end of the line…

****To Be Continued Next Sunday****

Blanks – Haiku 2022 #ThursdayDoors

Main doors, Basilica Santa Sabina, Rome – Image credit:  © Konstantinos Papaioannou | Dreamstime

storied cypress wood

raises a holy Order’s roof

blanks keep their secrets

****

Perched among a trio of churches on Aventine Hill, the smallest of Rome’s seven hills, stands the oldest surviving complete Christian church in Rome, Basilica Santa Sabina (Circa AD 432- 440). And, it is the head/mother church of the Dominican order.

Ensconced in an even older marble doorway, the above entrance doors date back to the fifth century A.D.; thus making these cypress-wood doors the oldest in an official Roman Christian church.

Measuring 3.2 by 5.4 meters high (11 feet by 18 feet) the doors’ two halves are adorned with carved panels held in place by newer wood frames thanks to numerous restorations. Blank wood panels fill in the bottom portion of the doors replacing ten carved panels long since lost. The surviving eighteen panels depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

The most famous panel (see below) depicts the passion of Jesus on the cross. It is considered the first publically displayed icon of the crucifixion of Christ in Rome. Albeit, the alexamenos graffito (circa AD 200)—scribbled markings of a crucifix found on a stone slab on Rome’s Palatine Hill, holds the distinction as the oldest image of the crucifixion.

Trivia: The panel depicting Aaron with his rod and two snakes, (see below) originally included a depiction of Pharoh drowning in the Red Sea according to the Old Testament account. Oddly, sixteen-century restorers for some unknown reason changed the original carving of Pharoah’s face to the face of Napoleon Bonaparte!

Close-up details of doors’ relief panel – The crucifixion of Jesus (below):

Basilica Santa Sabina Main doors’ relief – Image credit: Wikimedia CC 3.0

Closeup detail of the doors’ relief panel where the original head of Pharaoh (in the middle on the chariot) was replaced/recarved with the face of Napoleon Bonaparte below:

Main door relief panel with Aaron’s rod relief – Image credit: cyberdisciple on WordPress

Wider angle of Basilica Santa Sabina below:

Basilica Santa Sabina, Rome – Image credit: © Takranik | Dreamstime

Written for Dan Antion – No Facilities for #ThursdayDoors

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