Osbourne gazed East where according to the geological data, he couldn’t see The Atlantic Ocean from the Arielle Complex at Level Five. Angelique wanted him to experience the advanced eGlass, another Erich Morrison prototype design.
“The first two floors are pretty normal. This tower was skillfully integrated with the rest of the structure. Level Three, where Kathleen’s waiting for us begins the transition; it tapers a little and subtly changes into an octagon. The roofline, where it meets the lower levels, minimizes the differences as seen from outside. The advantage is a full panoramic view.
“Now look over there,” Angelique pointed towards the East.
There were windows all around, full circle, as in a lighthouse. Osbourne could see some of the lower treetops, verdant green, spruce blue, tips already turning autumn red and burnt orange; the nights were frigid from the North Winds off Promontory Point. He could see distant reflections glittering along Route US-1A; shiny automobiles cruising back and forth across the steel bridge leading to the town of Seabrook.
“Watch now,” she motioned a hand of benediction over the mouse pad on one of the custom Morrison PC Machines. It looked like the showroom models from the alternate reality realm of Erich and Pamela Morrison at Parrot Cove Cliff nearby in Skyhaven.
The room dimmed, like in the cinema theatres, but FAST. It was a little past noon outside, and the sun’s angled rays were all of a sudden drastically polarized and diminished. It felt like peering through a giant telescope with comfortable seating.
Osbourne was thinking like an Engineer. Electrochromic, eGlass: but the selectivity was empathic, sentient. An interpretation of Angelique’s desire. She told him the PC computers could tell what someone was thinking. She wanted Randall Osbourne to see what she saw.
The sun smoldered like a tiny red dwarf on his upper right, and to the left, the connecting road between US-1 and US-1A was a luxuriant gray suede band decorated with white and yellow stitching.
Osborne couldn’t see the dark Brazilian hardwood flooring anymore. It gave him a vertigo attack. Was that the wind picking up? Was the Level Five Tower swaying? He tried to grab the armless office chair which felt tinier than his slender black leather bicycle saddle with its titanium frame and tubular stainless steel rivets.
The temperature dropped real fast; the air conditioning seemed to be blasting Antarctic Winds from distant mountains half a planet away. But he could recognize the familiar hues of phytoplankton, deep water, shallow water, and a friendly familiar azure sky. He calmed down when he recognized the little wavy golden triangles that ride on the very top of the incoming tide. He was ready to go downstairs now, but Angelique wasn’t finished.
“Randall, what about Kathleen’s husband’s car?” She tweaked the exotic electric glass to midpoint, bridging bleached summer neutrality and the dark surrealistic colors and textures depicting a telepathic Morrison Painting of Angelique Fraser’s Atlantic Sea.
“How many times has she gone down to see it, Angelique?”
“None, she never liked it; although I understand your point about the machine being not necessarily a Chariot Of Destiny, but a Hot-Rod Limousine harboring a mystery. I can keep it down there, in the garage; would you mind examining it further?”
“Not at all. It’s a puzzle. It can be brought to my place if you’d like: I will crack its code, like LeMarchand’s Box.”
Angelique stared at him like Kathleen had, when he touched that PC from Morrison’s Engineering and it did something to him. ‘LeMarchand’s Box,’ the one in the Clive Barker Hellraiser horror flick; bad analogy. He feared the type of synergy a Haunted PC and a Gothic Hot-Rod could achieve.
Suddenly, an image of a man with a wispy gray-white amateur haircut, wild bushy brows, and millennial gaze flashed momentarily in his mind. The familiar man was pacing in the midst of dark gleaming windows, or maybe they were huge monitor screens.
Then, scents of black tea, unsweetened; and thin machine oil, like an eccentric Geek Freak he knew carried in his messenger’s shoulder bag along with little tools and memory sticks and USB cables. Randall rubbed his face.
“Edward Anton James is not dead, is that what you think? It’s what you intend to prove, Angelique?”
Osbourne noticed that Kathleen’s spirits had improved when he and Angelique descended the stairs and entered Level Three, which was more conventionally decorated than The Pinnacle, two levels higher.
Osbourne’s imagination pictured latticed steel meshing prosaic normality with mortared stonework older than 1500 CE sailors crossing seas seeking yet another ‘New World.’ This floor, Level Three was splendid, comfortable. The Pinnacle at Level Five was hallucinatory.
Kathleen seemed tranquil. Randall Osbourne had never suffered the loss of a very close loved one; he could only imagine. But, he dispassionately calculated Edward James’s leaving her a seven-figure estate probably smoothed things out at least a little bit.