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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Shell [Episode 5]

Jane met Dan at the hotel. Tall windows and serene atmosphere, but that couldn't leave herself nervous and worried. She sliced her salmon carefully into bite-size and wiped the salmon on the herbs oil sauce.

"Gracious, your hands are shaking!" Dan exclaimed. "I am here, don't worry." He put down his knife and fork gently, as if every action he made might impact on her emotion.

She didn't notice her hands were shaking. "So, Dan, what are you doing in Singapore?" she quickly switched the subject.

"Science conference. You know, quantum physics stuff like that," he said. He lifted a wine glass and sipped it cautiously. "I thought you will be here by 9 o'clock or something. It's only 6."

She looked at her watch again. True, she had arrived three hours earlier. She reckoned her jet just oversped. "Maybe my flight took a little shortcut or speeding. Or maybe I am just tired."

"You should rest," Dan said.

"I know, Dan. It's just that..." she saw Dan raised an eyebrow. "Ah, excuse me for a sec. I need to go to the washroom to make myself look less like a zombie." She managed to squeeze a smile.

Dan nodded.

She picked up her handbag, pulled back her chair and proceeded to the washroom. She took out her cube again and laid it at the basin platform. "Check the distance I have travelled. Departure from West Sahara to Singapore," she commanded.

"10443 kilometres, ma'am," the voice replied.

"Show me a map three days ago," her intellect and sense had told her something was not quite right. She viewed the atlas, and with her finger, she pulled a line from Sahara to Singapore. There was a number kept increasing as she did so, indicating the distance. When her finger touched Singapore, the number was 12550 kilometres.

She held her breath.

"Show me a map of present time," she ordered.

"It would be the similar map. Are you seeking for other timeline? One would suggest Jurassic era..."

"Just show me the map of present time," she repeated. Then another map appeared. She, again, pulled a line as before. This time, the number showed 10440 kilometres.

She gasped.

Her compad rang. She picked it up and it was Dan. "Is something wrong, Jane? You have been in there for so long."

"I am fine, I am coming out now," she replied. "I want you to recalculate the size of the Earth and compare to the data recorded before. Present to me after two hours," she said. Before the cube can reply, she folded back and fit it into her bag. She joined Dan for dinner.

"Are you OK?" he asked.

"Yes, I am fine," she flicked her hair.

"You said you want to tell me something."

"Yes, yes," she nodded. And she told him everything, including the second Jane Soutaine appearing at the opposite side of the globe.

Dan listened at first but he laughed at the idea of the second Jane Soutaine. "This is ridiculous,' he said.

"It's true!" she shot back. But her compad rang again. She took it out. A message from an unknown sender again, stating: "He called you, didn't he? Come to Island Spire now." Her emotion changed involuntarily. She replied it: "Who are you? Why are you contacting me?"

Dan noticed something was wrong with her. "Is there...?"

"I am sorry, I am just... distracted," she said. "Now where were we?" she asked. And this time, before Dan could say anything, her compad rang again. A sentence appeared: "You don't have much time. Your life is in danger. Come to Island Spire NOW." The sense of urgency was there. She had to go. She knew what was a direct command when it came to her. "I am sorry, I have to go now."

"Please, you just got here, at least have a drink," Dan said, showing her the wine glass.

"Thanks, Dan, but I really have to go now. We can meet up and drink later, OK? I promise," she said. She stood up, grabbed her stuff and left.

But she didn't realise that a fly had touched the rim of her glass. The fly slowly lowered itself, rubbing its feet to touch it and taste it. When the fly sipped the wine, it slipped and fell into the glass. And what happened next to the fly was unthinkable.

It was dissolved.

Dan clenched his fist.

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