Novelist and more.
Andrew Baxter and his female companion have just left a snowy highway in the mountains and appeared somewhere else, somewhere without snow and just settled his Jeep on the ground after arriving and hovering a few foot off the parking lot….
It was a run down bar.
He looked around but didn’t recognize the area.
A Neon business sign was the only recognizable thing on the long gray brick building.
“Tony’s Bar?” he asked.
She smiled as she opened the passenger door.
“Yeah, it’s an alias. Come on. Watch your step.”
Seconds later he waited at the double door entrance with the woman who had still not introduced herself, believing he was in shock and surprise.
The places exterior looked like it construction occured in the eighties. The parking lot was three-fourths full with an odd assortment of cars. The entrances windows are covered by drapes and smudged and dirty.
On habit, he started to push the door marked “inter” on a taped, hand-written piece of paper.
He grinned at the misspelling, noticing the other side was another sign saying “exist”.
As his prosthetic hand touched the handle she suddenly reached for it to pull it away but stopped, a red and gold burst of color engulfed his artificial appendage.
She tilted her head with a curious look and smiled enigmatically as he pulled it back and the color faded away.
She pointed at his hand, “Well, now, that’s a surprise. Um, better let me get the doors from now on.”
“What was that?” he asked still staring at his replicated limb.
She put her finger to her lips, “Not now, let me introduce you before you start speaking to anyone.”
As the door swung shut behind them, Andrew realized they were in a foyer, but not anything like the exterior suggested.
There was a floor length mirror to the right, a low table to the left with a set of closed amber drapes hiding an area behind it which echoed with music, conversation, and lights.
The mirror, the table and overhead lights were black with gold inlay.
The drapes parted and a tall, dark-skinned man stepped forward with a clipboard .
Andrew looked up at the man who scrutinized him back.
Andrew was just six feet tall and this man was five inches taller, for a moment he thought he was a basketball player and the bar must be a sports bar. The man was stocky and solidly built, he gave Andrew a curt nod and Andrew returned it.
The blue dressed woman stepped forward and hugged him, her face pressed against his belly because that was as high as she went.
Her hug made the tall somber man break into a wide smile.
“I was beginning to wonder where you were?” he checked his clipboard.
She shrugged, “Complications.”
He looked at the board and glanced at her, “The reservations say yourself and plus three.”
She nodded slightly, “Like I said, complications. For now it’s a plus one.” She pointed at Andrew.
He nodded, appraised Andrew, and then shook his head, “Name?”
Before Andrew could say anything she gave his full name.
“How do you know my name?” He asked.
The man did a quick double take between them, “Don’t tell me he’s that new?”
She smiled and gently pressed his clipboard to his chest, “Okay I won’t.”
She stepped back and curled her arm around Andrew’s right elbow like a southern lady being escorted to the ball
“I work with what I have.” She smiled up at Andrew.
“What is going on?” he asked either of them.
“Good luck kid, welcome to the lion’s den.” He stepped to the side and pulled back the drape to let them enter.
She pulled him reluctantly forward, he felt weightless again in her strange grip.
He stopped on the other side of the drapes and his jaw fell open.
He had stepped into a royal palace once, one of those resembling an Islamic Mosque with a domed shaped roof.
This one was similar and several stories tall; not at all like the exterior brick building they entered.
He could swear there were small clouds floated around the ceiling.
The music softened as every head turned in their direction.
Andrew felt as if he was attending a meeting of the U.N. Security forces top brass dressed in civilian clothes. Every nationality represented. Every creed, both genders, multiple styles of dress, and multiple classes of wealth. There must have been at least two hundred people inside.
What was this?
The woman waved at many smiling salutations and many waved back at her to join them as the music and conversation resumed.
“NO!” a male voice boomed so loudly the structure shook as if it had been hit by artillery.
The woman pat his arm, “Uh oh, here we go. Stay calm.”
To be continued…