Part 1

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Book 2 – Gwen, are you ok?

118 - Gwen

"Something's not right," Ria muttered, before collapsing on the ground.

The next thing I knew, I could hear an explosion of voices all around the house, as if hundreds of people were talking at the same time. A bright light filled the room, blinding me completely. I covered my eyes, protecting them from the flash while trying to reach Ria to shield her from whatever it was that was happening. I couldn't find her.

The light subsided.

So did the voices.

There was absolute silence.

I opened my eyes.

Ria was gone.

Vanished.

The man I hit on the head was regaining consciousness.

Confused, he attempted to get up once again.

I grabbed the pan and hit him on the head a second time.

He collapses as he did before.

I noticed one of the goats was missing as well.

In a matter of seconds, I placed my laptop and the whiskey Terra had brought us inside my bag, picked up the gun Ria had dropped and put it in her handbag. With her bag on one shoulder and mine on the other, I decided to flee from the scene, leaving the door open so the guy could exit when he wakes up, if he did wake up.

The streets were dark and empty. The moon was casting an eerie glow that reflected on the puddles of water from yesterday's rainfall, like a scene from a Lovecraft story. Me, Dark Capuccina and the unnamed black and white goat ran through the dark alleys leading to the main street.

In reality, I couldn't run, so I walked as fast as I could while carrying both bags and thinking about Ria and her last words. It felt as if I were dreaming again. I could swear this event happened already.

On the main street, I hailed a cab and asked him to take me to the only place I knew in the city, the Marriot Hotel. The goats follow me into the taxi.

"Marriot Hotel?" said George Clooney. His eyes were cold as ice as he smiled at me from the front seat.

There must have been thousands of taxi drivers in Islamabad, so what were the chances of us meeting again? Well, one in thousands, that was not a very clever question.

It was not too late though, I could still turn the previous situation around if I played my cards right. I had no choice but to get into character mode.

"Listen, George," I pleaded. "I know I hurt your feelings the other day but I didn't mean to. Really. It was just a stupid joke from a stupid TV show. Would you please forgive me?" I gave him my puppy eyes and placed my hand on his shoulder.

He didn't say anything but looked at me from the rear mirror and kept driving for a while without saying a word in a direction I knew it wasn't the one he should take to go to the Marriot hotel.

He took his cellphone out of his pocket and I just snapped. I didn't want him to call his friends and make this situation even more difficult. Almost instinctively, I took out the handgun from Ria's handbag and pointed it at him. One hand on the trigger and the other one 'half down the barrel' as Jack Bauer had taught me.

I took a deep breath. "Give me the cell phone slowly and keep driving," I ordered him calmly while feeling the cold metal heavy in my hands. It was the first time I had pointed a gun at someone but as soon as I held it, it felt like the natural thing for me to do. I suddenly felt confident and full of life, as if Jack Bauer was talking through me. The driver did as he was told.

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