The Imaginarium - Chapter 7
The Bugatti stopped at a curve overlooking a great city. Adam stood by its edge, bending forward and holding his stomach.
Alissa who was sitting on the bonet of the car walk towards him, hand crossed. She had her sunglass to her forehead. "Feeling better?" she said.
Adam coughed and spat down the abyss. He pull himself back and sat near the ledge looking at the city in the distance. He watched the tall spires piercing the earth around the city and the high twin tower sitting at its center. He spat on the ground again and took a breather. "Yeah, much better." he said. He coughed and cleared his throat before looking to Alissa who was standing next to him. "You've ever been to the city?" he said. His eyes squints when he looked to her.
Alissa's lips twitched to the question. She frowned and said nothing for awhile. "Occasionally." she said and sat on the ground next to Adam. "Everytime the mistress wants to have a drive, I am her personal bodyguard."
Adam looked to her. "Oh" he said and turn back to the city. He sighed and brushed himself off the dirt. He got up and head back to the car. "Let's go, I don't think I want to hang out here too long." he said. He got into the passenger seat and closed the door.
Alissa brushed herself and got up. She looked to the city again and sighed before heading back to the car.
The car roared to life and it swirves back into the twisting and turning of the main road, joining the occasional passer by. Cloud covered their tracks as they head downhill where the bustling road to the city merged with the lone highway.
The Bugatti came to a halt in front of a bungalow with high fence and the mark of A.J fused to the steel. The large metal gate slides open and the Bugatti wheeled inside. The car came to a halt under the shade of the front verandah. A man, burly and poorly kept wearing straw hat walked to the car and opened the driver's door. Alissa stepped out and smiled to the man. She thanked him and turn to face Adam whose eyes bulged.
"Miss Alissa, this is?" said the man looking at Adam with a curious frown.
Alissa turned to him. "This is mister Adam and he is mistress The Senator's guest." she said and walked towards the front door.
The man rushed to Adam's side and offered to help him. Adam thanked him but refused, seeing he has no other luggage other than himself. He thanked the man again, and followed Alissa inside.
The man looked on as the two disappeared into the house. He make his way back to the garden where he was tending the flowers. He looked back, glancing at the car and the house. He clicked his tongue and pressed the end of his jaw where it met his ear. "This is scout one, the object is here, I repeat, the object is here" he said. He eyed the road ahead and took another glance to his back, cautious.
A sound crackled inside his outer ear. "Roger that, will send attack team. Give the signal to attack"
The man closed his eyes. He opened his eyes again and grumbled. He pulls out a scissor and slide the stem of the rose in front of him between its blades. He grunt and cut the stem. "Do not attack, I repeat, do not attack" he said. The radio crackled the confirmation to him and went silent.
Adam stepped into the house with another sense of awe, though it dwarfed the size of the mansion, the bungalow was at least three times as huge as his own house. It was moderately decorated, with a set of sofa around the hall cum living room and a wood panel that seprates the kitchen and the back area. An older woman stood in the center of the hall looking at the two as they entered the house. Her face was mostly furious with a touch of weird make up.
"Alissa, it has been a while." she said. Her hands moved from crossed to her chest to stick to her hips. She bend to one side and let her other arm loose. She turn her gaze to Adam who can't seem to face her. "And who is this friend of yours?" she said.
Alissa looked to the woman with slight annoyance. "Miss Sheldon, this is Adam, mistress The Senator's guest. He will be staying here under the expense of the mistress. The mistress also hope that you will give mister Adam full support for as long as is stay here" she said.
"And just how long will that be?" said Sheldon.
Alissa shrugged with a smile. She went on ahead and head upstairs, leaving Adam blinking alone, looking at the angry old woman in front of him. "Hi" he said.
Miss Sheldon ignored the greet, turning towards the kitchen instead, she walks away without saying a word.
Adam frowned, unsure of what he had done to invoke such rudeness. He shrugs and followed Alissa who was waiting for him near the staircase at the western end of the bungalow.
"Who's that?" he said as he and Alissa made their way up the stairs.
Alissa looked to him, annoyed. She rolled her eyes and sighed. "Miss Sheldon. She's the keeper of the house and mistress Janone's former bodyguard." she said.
"Always like that? Yes." said Alissa, already anticipating the question.
Adam zipped his lips. He wondered why is he letting all these people around him when he himself is still unsure why he is here in the first place.
They stopped in front of the first door and Alissa gave the knob a twist. The door swings open revealing an expensive looking room yet simple in its design and decoration. "This is your room." she said smiling.
Adam smiled back and step with hesitation into the room. The carpet wrapped itself around his feet and the smell of vanilla spreads throughout. A well kept bed sat at the center of the room and the rest of the decoration was very much alike with the room he stayed back at the mansion except this was less expensive looking.
He turned to Alissa. "Why are you doing all of this?" he said.
Alissa looked to him. "We're not. We're doing this for our own personal interest. Have a rest, mister Adam. " she said and closed the door. Her footfalls fade from the behind the door.
Adam looked to the closed door. He wanted to just do nothing, but could not help himself from checking on the room. He opened the drawer – too many clothes. He checked underneath – nothing, not even a speck of dust. "What the hell am I doing? I can't stay in this place" he said and proceed to exit the room. Adam jumped two steps down the stairs and landed on the marble floor of the living room. He checked himself, something he had not done after he woke up, for his wallet and realized that he had none. "Shit." he said. He was about to turn back when he saw miss Sheldon walking out of the kitchen.
"Excuse me." he said.
Miss Sheldon glared him like an angry dragon ready to swallow her prey. She stood looking without saying a word. Her arms crossed in front of her chest.
Adam gulped. He tried to conquer his raging heart from unleashing a torrent of bashing at the unsuspecting house keeper but a small voice in his mind reminded him of Alissa's words from before. 'A former bodyguard'. So he sighed. "Sorry, it's nothing." he said.
The house keeper walked away, clicking her tongue in the process. She make her way towards the front door and disappeared not before giving Adam another glare.
Adam shook his head. He make his way towards the kitchen and watch the chefs appointed by his benefactor working with great concentration.
"Excuse me." he said.
One of the younger chef broke his concentration and turn to Adam. "Yes?" he said. He wiped his hands to his apron and head for Adam. "You must be the new guest." he said. His white cook uniform and high chef hat wrapped just right around his body, giving him the room and comfortability to work in a heat intensive kitchen yet stay cool enough for him to come out and talk with anyone passing by.
Adam nod and smiled at the man who smiled back to him. "Yes, my name is Adam. If you don't mind me asking, do you have any blank papers?" he said.
The chef looked to the empty station where stationaries scattered on the table. "Yeah, sure. How many do you need?" he said looking back to Adam.
"Just a few, five or six and a marker or a pen, if you have any." said Adam.
The chef nod and make his way towards the station. He opens the drawer and count several sheets of paper before pulling them out. He took the marker lying on the table and made his way back to Adam. "Here you go, sir. Is there anything else you'd like. I can't give anymore of the stationaries, though" he said smiling.
Adam shook his head. "No, this is enough, thank you." he said taking the papers and marker from the young chef and turn away. "Oh, by the way." he turns back towards the chef. "When is lunch served here?" he said.
The chef checked on a timetable on the wall next to him. "Around thirty minute past one in the afternoon, sir." he said.
Adam nods his head in approval. "Okay, thanks" he said and left the kitchen.
Adam left the front door towards the main gate. He glanced to the garden and saw miss Sheldon talking to the gardener, the burly man who offered his help to him. He smiled and raised his hand as a greeting when the two looked to him. The gardener raised his hand but the house keeper kept with her dragon like glare. "Weird woman..." he said and left the bungalow.
Adam looked to his sides. Both leads to more bugalows. The streets were empty, with no people going out and about. He sighed. He knew he should have asked the chef for the nearest taxi stand but alas, it was already too late. Going back and ask will only get in the young chef's way. So Adam looked again to his side and chose to go downhill on his left.
The neighborhood was tight packed and small.There were only a handful of bungalows in the area, while the others were mostly occupied by terraces and semi-ds. A large concrete wall surrounds the neigborhood while a guard post stood at the only entrance and exit into the neighborhood. Adam greeted the guards sitting inside the guard post and walk past the red and white beam that stretched halfway across the road. It met with another similar beam that continue across the other side of the road.
Adam wondered how much of him still remembered by the city. If it truly has been fourty years since he was suddenly branded as an accomplice, do they still remember him, he wondered. He made his way farther downhill and reached the junction where he met with main access road to the City. A bus stop and a taxi stand stood side by side on the sidewalk that stretches as far as the road itself downhill and into the City. He made his way towards the taxi stand and watch the towering twin tower and the spires around it.
A blue taxi stops in front of him. The front passenger window whirred down and a man in his thirties jerked his neck forward looking at Adam. "You're going somewhere?" he said.
Adam, still with his eyes at the City, nods. "Yeah, I'm trying to get to the City, but I'm out of money..." he said.
The cab driver laughed. "Well then, see you later, stranger!" he said and drove off.
Adam sighed but shrugged off the feeling. He store his hands inside the pocket of his jeans and followed the sidewalk down, taking one step at a time towards the City.