I blinked again.
I blinked for the third time to make sure.
And then I tried the fourth time.
Everything seemed to be going backwards and then forwards as if somebody was playing with the remote control. All I wanted to do was to smack that person and give him a particularly painful and slow death.
I know; I can be quite violent sometimes.
“Oh!” A surprised voice came from the door followed by the sound of something being dropped. Everyone turned away from me to look at the commotion at the back and I heaved a huge sigh of relief.
I disentangled my legs from the numerous bed sheets and hurried to stand up before everyone turned back their attention to me. I did it all in the span of 2 seconds.
I smiled brightly back at them all as they looked back at me and seeing their shocked expressions due to my fast recovery from the floor was enough payment for my troubles to get back up fast.
My smile is probably scaring them now.
“So, what may I owe you with this pleasant visit?” I asked them politely, remembering that I was in the presence of some of the most powerful people in the world.
“It might be best after we all discuss it after breakfast, shall we?” The Queen asked. It was a request and a command rolled into one and I wasn’t sure which was which. I choose the later since she’s royalty and all. Everyone seemed to do so too and followed her without further ado out the door leaving me in the room.
I sat at the edge of the bed and ran my hand through my hair awkwardly, trying to make sense of this weird dream turned reality.
One comforting thing about dreams is that no matter how scary and life threatening the situation may seem in your head, none of it all is real.
During the countless of times I ran from Leather Face from the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I knew in the back of my dreaming head that he can’t hurt a single hair on my body because he is fictional like everything is my nightmare. Though he sure is scary and scream inducing.
This particular situation is very different from the other embarrassing situations I’ve had. For instance, my other embarrassing situations are more likely to happen.
How often do you see a girl trip, spill something, slide and fall? Countless I tell you.
How often do you wake up in front of the US President, the Queen, the Prime Ministers of France and United Kingdom? Bloody unlikely.
“Miss?” A timid voice broke my reverie. Adie the maid was still inside the room with me but now holding a few items of clothing in her arms.
“You’re supposed to take a shower now miss.” Adie informed me and holding out her bundle as if to tempt me into the bathroom.
“I’m really not dreaming, am I?” I asked again for good measure.
“No you’re not miss.” She affirmed.
“Pinch me.” I said and held out my arm. She just looked at me blankly. “Please?”
She seemed to finally realize what I said and came close to the bed. She dropped the clothes beside me and gripped the skin on my arm with her thumb and forefinger tightly.
“Ah!” I gasped in surprise.
“Sorry!” She gasped back and patted the now reddish part of my arm.
“It’s okay, not your fault really.” I muttered more to myself than to her.
“You really should get ready miss. They are waiting for you in the Breakfast Room!”
Up I went as if in auto pilot into the bathroom closely followed by Adie and the clothes. She thrust them all to me with the urgency of a mother cat whose babies got stolen and is now after them in pursuit. I held on to them willingly and closed the door of the bathroom.
By that time, I had long realized that I wasn’t even in my own room. The bathroom was far too large and luxurious to pass as an average girl’s bathroom.
I know for a fact that I didn’t have monogrammed faucet taps with the White House’s logo in them. I had also noticed that my average sized bed can never compete with the king sized one that I was sleeping in and it can never be as soft.
Who knows, I might be in the room George Washington slept?! Okay, I highly doubt it if they’d let anyone sleep in that room but a girl can hope.
I examined my face in the mirror which covered a whole wall in the bathroom. I pretty much looked the same except I had bloodshot eyes. I blame that one on my improper sleeping habits since the week started.
I was interrupted from my body inspection by a hard rap on the door which I guess is made by Adie, hitting her poor anorexic looking knuckles against the hard wood. “You have less that 10 minutes miss!”
I winced from the shrillness of her voice and hurriedly stripped out of my clothes. The clothes I was wearing from soccer practice that is, the same soccer practice I went to yesterday.
To any other person, it might have looked funny; the way my eyes darted from side to side as the events of the night before came rushing back to me. Flashbacks bombarded my mind left and right and I almost gasped in shock and fear from it. Everything from the explosion of my car, the chase and the sleepy feeling that was the last sensation experienced before unconsciousness claimed me.
Immediately, I turned around and faced the bathroom door while I contemplated my escape. The doorknob rattled futilely against my attempts to open it. Adie must have locked the door after I entered the room.
“Let me out!” I shouted. There goes quietness and stealth out the window.
“Miss, you should get ready first.” The maid’s voice sounded muffled coming from the opposite side.
“Damn it! Help me Adie!” At that point, I was ready to do anything. “Please!” It scared me how it was all turning out to be like the crappy spy movies I used to watch where you thought everyone was on your side but they all weren’t
To me, her voice sounded like the secret evil lover of the leading bad guy. “Calm down miss. You’ll be all right.”
“All right?!” I was screeching now. “I almost got killed last night! HELP ME!” I started rattling the doorknob again, hopping that the woman would come to her senses.
I heard a small click and the sound of keys jingling and I quieted a bit. Maybe anorexic Adie has finally realized that helping me might amend her mistakes, health wise. Whatever the case, I waited impatiently as she opened the door. Even my nakedness didn’t seem to bother me, all I cared about was keeping my life and how the flight tickets to Tahiti costs.
The door opened after much struggling on Adie’s part seeing as that the anorexia has greatly weakened her muscle power. What she did next took me by surprise though and helped my gladness in seeing her evaporate quickly.
She slapped me. Hard.
My eyes were practically bulging from their sockets as I stared at her and her limp hand. In the height of my emotions, all I could think about was returning the favor so I did the most likely thing to do.
I slapped her back.
“AHH!” She shouted from the sting of the impact.
“What the hell?!” I shouted back. “I’ll slap you again if you won’t help me!” Even after all the stressing events, my mind was still concocting not so clever plans in helping me escape. Will the wonders ever cease?
The woman’s thin hands latched onto my shoulders and I gave her a quizzical look. “You.” She said while shaking me. “Are.” Shake. “Not.” Shake. “Going.” Shake. “To.” Shake. “Die.” Double shake.
“How do you know?” I asked her and pinched her arm. With the extreme stress that I was feeling, the only think that my mind could think of in retaliation was to pinch her.
“Stop doing that!” I stopped. “I know you’re confused and all but seriously you NEED to believe me. I understand that you fear for your life but acting like this isn’t going to help.” She said all that in one breath people. But wait, there’s more.
“Do you think they are going to kill you?” She gestured somewhere to her left. “Don’t be so naïve. I’ve been working here long enough to know that they won’t waste their time on you. Think about it, they can easily send someone to kill you quietly and efficiently but no, you’re here now. When you were asleep a few minutes ago they could have easily shot you but they did not. Does that strike you as odd?”
A cold chill crept up my spine as the numerous possibilities of their killing techniques came into my head and I stared at her blankly.
“They need something for you. They are not here to kill you. You” She pointed at me. “Are not going to die.” She said slowly.
The sarcasm apparently has left me to my own so I nodded my head.
“Good girl. Now go take a shower! I’m sure you’re hungry already.” With that she pushed me back inside the room, not caring that I was stark-naked.
Confusion once again clouded my mind as my body moved around the bathroom, taking care of the necessities, leaving me free to think things over. 5 minutes later, I was dresses and showered but not one solution managed to present itself to me.
As I got out of the accursed bathroom Adie, my only trusted comrade, dragged me outside to the hallway, 3 flights of stairs, uncountable other hallways and finally in front of a big white double door.
“Go in.” She whispered.
Even though she had already explained to me that I wasn’t dying anytime soon, my hands still shook while my legs felt like lead. She opened the doors for me revealing all four of them seated around a rectangular table amid breakfast wears and food.
My stomach gurgled as the smell of the breakfast staples hit my nose. I looked at Adie but she was already disappearing through the door.
“Come right in Finola!” The Queen’s gentle voice drew me closer toward the table. “Go on, take a seat.”
I sat down obediently and looked at all four of them.
“What happened to your face?!” She asked in surprise.
I touched my cheek gingerly and could almost feel the read mark left by Adie. “Adie slapped me.”
“Why on earth would she do that?” She asked again.
“I had a bit of an issue a while ago...” I trailed off and hoped that it was enough to satisfy her. The Queen in turn nodded knowingly while I cringed in embarrassment.
“This is going to take a while.” The French Prime Minister said to no one in particular. I frowned at him, trying to tell him through my eyes that taking someone against their will is classified under the folder of kidnapping.
“You’re probably wondering why you’re hear Ms. Lingwood.” The President said while taking a bite of his pancakes.
I nodded my head because I was afraid my voice would betray me.
“How do I start this?” He murmured absentmindedly. “Oh yes. Well, our countries are under a difficult situation right now.” He paused a bit while he chewed on his food. I wanted to smack him in the head to hurry up.
“And why does that include me?” I interrupted him.
He frowned at my interjection but continued to speak though with much more notable haste. “Let me finish first.” He shot me another frown. “Something occurred in the military lines of our countries during a war that shouldn’t have happened. Something we all didn’t quite expect.”
I opened my mouth to interrupt yet again but the French Prime Minister held up his hand. “This highly unlikely occurrence took place long ago.”
“How long?” I managed to ask.
They all hesitated before the Alph the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom beat them all to it. “Almost a century ago to be exact.”
“Go on.” I urged them.
“Dmitry can explain this all quite well if he were here. After all, his country was the one who discovered the mishap.” The Queen interposed while I looked at her blankly. By any chance, does she mean Dmitry as in Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President? What, do you honestly think I’m dumb? I know things!
“He’s the Russian president!” The French Prime Minister said knowingly.
“I know.” Their shocked looks were entertaining enough to watch. “I do know things!” I exclaimed after a while of their astounded silence.
A loud banging of the door interrupted our strained silence and at the same time announced the arrival of who I assumed as the Russian President himself. “Did I hear my name?” He said to the room at large and went around the table shaking everyone’s hand.
My first impression was that this man had too much sugar in his coffee this morning. I watched him curiously as he took a seat in front of me and proceeded to beam at everyone else at the table.
“Ah, you must be little Finola!” He said and I nodded. I know I’m short but little? That’s just pushing it.
“I’m pleased to meet you sir.” I said for politeness’s sake.
“Oh! I am pleased to meat you too!” He laughed loudly as if surprised that I could even talk.
“We were just starting to explain to her about the situation when you came in.” Stated the US President.
“And now you need me to explain the situation from the beginning, no?” He questioned. He didn’t wait for the other’s reply and went straight ahead to business.
“A month ago, a few researchers of mine noticed that something was amiss history wise. A few noted battles from the first world war were missing even in known books that centered on the said event.” He paused a bit and looked at me to check if I was listening.
“A few months before that, the largest crime was committed right under out very noses.” At the end of his sentence, his voice became hushed and I leaned forward to catch his words.
“The blueprint of a top secret project that our government has been working on was stolen!” He shouted and I jumped with surprise.
“Ahem.” The Prime Minister of France scratched his head while we all looked at him. “Pardon.” He shrugged his shoulders at us.
“Tell her already.” The US President said.
“Okay, okay! Basically, we created Project 99 and they stole it and now they are using it against us.” Dmitry droned flatly. His fun in the story telling was cut off prematurely, I think.
“What is Project 99 exactly?” I have a feeling that Project 99 isn’t your usual schoolwork.
“Project 99 enables a person or persons to travel back into whichever time zone they choose.” He answered albeit unsurely.
“What? Are you saying you invented a time machine?” I smiled at him innocently. This man must officially be off his rocker to be saying that.
“Yes, I believe I did.”
Are you wondering about my answer? Well, I couldn’t give one because I choked on a piece of pancake. They had to do the Heimlich maneuver on me.