The corridor was warm, not unpleasantly so though. Dimly lit, pulsating aureoles at intervals produced an interesting atmosphere, one that did nothing to hasten passage but rather invited one to linger. I knew what was coming next, but nothing prepared you no matter how many times you had already walked it.
Stepping forward, I was temporarily blinded as darkness enveloped me and then a profusion of colours burst upon my senses. The room was vibrant, adorned with yellows, greens, burnt oranges and red in its myriad hues. An amazing back ground of a suspended high vaulting ceiling in the room mesmerised. Trying to take it all in, it took a few minutes for me to realise that the statute behind the raised dais had moved.
‘Good afternoon sir, how may I be of assistance?’ Walking towards the dais I smiled. ‘You know by golly, I thought you were the piece de resistance! I had all but forgotten that this wasn’t an art gallery.’ Getting closer I found that the woman (and woman she was! Curves, shadows and angles that itched to be captured) was more imposing than expected.
She smiled gently and inclined her head. ‘I get that all the time, especially since Pierre insists we ensure our outfits don’t clash with his theme but enhance it at all times. That would have been more difficult as well, but for his generosity in using us as part of his experiments. You must be Mr. Schism, he’s expecting you.’
Not given much choice but to proceed towards the door that had opened to the side of the platform, I winked and took a deep breath. Despite appearances (mine especially) the task ahead would not be easy and I wasn’t sure how it would end.
This room had a refreshingly airy feel to it. In contrast to the entrance the colours here were muted; blues, white and silver streaks being the theme. There was slow jazz music piped into this room, rounding the corner the focus of this room soon came into view.
Gasping at the sheer size of the contraption found me speaking out loud, ‘What in God’s name are you up to now you scoundrel? How did you get this monstrosity in here? Under cover of darkness I’m sure.’
Pierre rolled out from under the WW2 canons; it was obvious that this was his latest project. ‘Isn’t she a beauty? We would never have gotten her inside if not for the special hinges on the garage doors. I’m grateful you reminded me about the nature of my work when we had it installed.’
All covered in paint, ash and unidentifiable dust my giant of a brother gave me a crushing bear hug. Prepared as I was for his effusive gestures I hadn’t totally steeled myself for the brief pain contact with him always generated. Growing up we hadn’t been huggers and so when it became the norm after our parents passed, it took a bit of getting used to.
‘Pierre, please sit. There’s something I must tell you.’ I’d been dreading this all morning and now that it was time I wasn’t quite sure how to begin. ‘Remember that mission I told you about? Well it’s taking off at 0900hours tomorrow and I’ll be on it.’
‘Not the one to NimX213?’ he exploded, ‘come on Slim! You’re saying I won’t see you for the next ten years? I honestly thought you were joking and it wasn’t until five months.’ I let him think that because I knew that he would have done everything to make sure I didn’t go. ‘I’m really sorry but this is my destiny.’
‘Not the d word again! I thought we’d discussed it all this but it seems I was wrong.’ Pierre walked over to me and raised my chin so he could look into my eyes. ‘Are you sure this is really what you want?’ nodding I waited. ‘Then I guess I have no choice. I’m not sure what mom and dad would have thought of you as a priest and a warrior to boot! I love you Slim,’ Pierre crushed me to his chest and wept.
It was this simple after all…