Gabriel woke to his alarm 6am, his head felt fuzzy like he'd been drinking but he hadn't he walked across his minimalist bedroom and threw open the curtains the bright light streamed through the window, burning his eyes, tears developed. He walked to the sink in his bathroom and threw some water on his face. He grabbed his phone and started to check his emails. "God I could do a coffee" he thought.
He turned back towards his bed and on the side was a cup of hot coffee. He stared at it startled he hadn't made it. He walked over and felt the cup, red hot. "how the hell?" He sipped the coffee, it was perfect almost better than he could make himself. He was still confused when he went back to the bathroom to shower. When he had finished showering he went back to look at the coffee cup.
He checked the clock 6.32am, "I need to get to the office" he thought, before he could finish the thought he was there in the office. The office was empty he checked his watch 6.34am and then he realised he was still in his towel his hair was still wet. "What is happening, this makes no sense" he picked up a pencil lying on the desk in front of him, he thought again about his flat. Flash he was back at the flat. He looked in the mirror of the bathroom his face contorted with confusion. "am I dreaming" he thought then he realised he was still holding the pencil. He thought about the office again but he just thought about it, nothing happened. I need to speak to Peter he thought. Just at that moment his phone started to ring it was Peter.
"Hey buddy I believe you wanted to speak to me?"
"Yes that's right but why did you call me"
"How else would we communicate, you feeling OK Gabe?"
"Yes of course can we have lunch"
"Shall we meet at Murano's at 12"
"Brilliant thanks Peter I'll see you there"
Gabriel got dressed and went down the hall in to his ultra modern living space. He thought about watching the news then the tv switched on. It was the news channel. The remote was across the room no where near him. He didn't really watch the news broadcast he was getting a little freaked out. Perhaps his heady days smoking pot had caught up with him but it wasn't like anything he'd experienced on drugs or even heard of.
He arrived in the busy headquarters of Dreamscape.
"Morning Gabe" his workers were fond of him he was a fair and just employer.
"Morning guys what's the news?". Sarah came over dropped a pile of files on his desk and a cup of coffee.
"Thanks Sarah". Sarah was Gabriel's right hand man so too speak (she was a woman) she was small, petite, blonde and extremely good looking. Gabriel didn't notice that though, she was brilliant, dynamic, vigilant and focused. She could process information nearly as fast as Gabriel and she had a photographic memory.
He walked over to desk 8. Todd Mcquire a young software engineer was sat at the desk busily writing some program code. His concentration was broken.
"Todd did you have a pencil on this desk last night?"
"Yes, it's gone now, I can get you another one if you need"
"No, no need thanks, your doing some great work, keep it up"
"Thanks I will"
Gabriel walked up to the entrance of Murano's it's old fashioned door bell shook and rattled ringing out as the door opened. The restaurant was dimly lit, several booths gave diners a small amount of privacy. Around the walls were pictures of famous celebrities signed with small messages to Murano the owner. Peter and Gabriel had long since believed that the photos were fake. They'd been coming here for years and had never seen anyone famous in the restaurant, in fact the picture of Gabriel was the only one they thought had even been taken in Murano's. Peter had taken booth no9, he always did.
"Hey buddy how goes it at Metaphysics INC"
"Good we've made some fantastic breakthroughs in regenerative nanotechnology, how about you what the next great game to flood the headlines"
"Alienator, it's going to be great"
The young waitress coughed to make her presence known.
"Hi can I get you anything?"
"Yeah me too"
The waitress left, writing in the small pad in her hand. Peter peaked around the booth as she walked away and nodded side to side as if copying the movement of her rear.
"Peter remember that games tournament in Boston?"
"Yeah how could I forget, did I tell you I ended up with two girls that night"
"Yes Peter several times"
"What about it anyway"
"Did you get anywhere with that Q business"
"No I told you no ones ever heard of them, why, has he been in touch again?"
"No it's just I had a funny turn this morning"
"And you think this is what he was talking about?"
"Come back to the lab with me and let me have a look at you"
"No not today but thanks, and the number was not registered"
"No, look Gabe he was probably just a crazed fan or something, do industrialists even have fans?" He paused "you gonna tell me what happened?"
"Yes of course, but give me some time to get my own head around it"
"OK but keep me in the loop, we go back a long way and I'm here for you Ok"
The afternoon panned out as normal work was good, sales were good and soon the evening left Gabriel alone with his thoughts.
Gabriel needed a smoke, he hadn't one in years but tonight he just felt one would steady his nerve. He left the apartment and headed downtown, west on Eve St through the alley on to Maine and he could buy cigarettes there.
He was thinking "it must have been a dream", "maybe I woke up a bit later than I thought I had". That didn't actually make sense but for now it helped. As he turned into the alley to Maine he noticed the one light in the middle was out, but the light from Maine lit up the alley enough to see your way. He looked up at the broken lamp as he passed; just as he did he heard a voice. A loud voice. A female voice it was as if there was someone right in front of him. She said
"Gabriel beware! behind you!". Gabriel turned to see a large hooded man brandishing a knife
"Hey, hey! Keep calm buddy"
"Give me the money"
"Ok man you're the boss"
Gabriel reached into his pocket. The assailant lunged forward with the knife. Gabriel reached up to stop him but did not get a chance to even touch him. The hooded figure flew away from him at least 8 feet down the alley. He got up screaming and ran away.
Gabriel searched the alley to find the girl but he could not find her. As he started to leave she spoke again "I'm glad your safe" Gabriel spun on his heels but the alley was empty.
"Where are you?"
"two weeks, three hours"
"Who are you?"
Gabriel ran back into the alley shouting "Lydia Who!" But he got no reply. she was gone. He decided against a cigarette and made his way home. He was pretty shaken.
With not more than 2 hundred yards to his apartment Gabriel saw a blinding flash, when he adjusted to the light he was in a fantastical city. Giant gleaming buildings rose up like rainforest trees. The streets were filled but also somehow seemed empty. Then he was back on his street. "What just happened" he thought. He staggered, his head was fuzzy. His vision blurred. He grabbed a tree trying to steady himself, his vision was getting better. He staggered to the next tree, he could see his door. He stopped and was able to right himself. "Am I drunk?" He desperately tried to recall a drinking session. "I went out for cigarettes?" This was also quite confusing under the present circumstances "why? I don't smoke anymore". With a few more steps and stumbles he was back at his door. His hands were shaking too much to open the door and eventually he dropped the keys. He slid down the door and sat on the cold concrete step. He sat there for about ten minutes then took a deep breath, picked up his keys stood up opened his door and went in.