[pronounced, br-eye-nnn, like breakfast’s “br-” and sign’s “-ign”, Brian w/out the “eh”]
Look, on this pine covered moutainside, over there, in that ancient ravine… right here, at the edge, before the ground falls away into verdant splendor. Do you see the house absorbed into the rock-face behind it? The sun is going off behind the mountains, and on the porch a man stands squinting through the twilight at an empty distance, absently taking a cigarette from his breast pocket. It sits in the corner of his mouth for a moment before he slowly reaches into his front pants pocket for his lighter. He flicks the Bic and cups the flame against the breeze then exhales a deep plume of smoke that gets caught in an updraft and billows up over the porch and out of sight. Before long the cigarette is down to the filter and the man tosses it into a small trashcan.
He sighs deeply and sets off towards his jeep, trying to shrug off the heavy weight of knowing he is moving into a past that has nearly cost him everything. He wishes it were possible to walk to where he was going, all three-thousand miles, not to put off the future, but to reach it with some understanding of all that had brought him to it. Things were happening quickly, and he’d never liked that—always prefered the stately march of nature.
The jeep was already loaded with baggage and there was nothing left to do but turn the key in the ignition.
What did Anne want with him after all these years? He’d thought she was dead. He had nothing more they could take from him. Why was he summoned?
It wasn’t going to make any sense, Brign realized, it never does. So he turned over the engine and with a spark, drove off; towards whatever, maybe nothing.
Anne folds her napkin and sets it on the plate in front of her. Evidence of bread, cheese and thin slices of dried meat—lunch—are whisked into her hand and wiped on top of the napkin. She looks out the wall of windows to her right, over the buildings spread out below her, to the huge fountain. It had become her habit these past years to ask herself a question and search for the answer in the direction the wind was blowing the Jet D’eau.
Apparently satisfied with what she sees, she slowly raises herself to her feet and brings the dirty plate to a small kitchen at the other end of the studio apartment. Arrayed around her are objects that have managed to prove themselves of some value: a highly polished dining room table/desk; a biege couch/bed; a crescent shaped mahogany coffee table/meditation center; waist-high wall perimeter of shelves stacked three books deep; wooden file cabinets/dressers; and dozens of archetypally shaped bonzai trees.
The flat is a study in the union of aesthetics and functionality—spaces are subtly defined and inter-related, creating out of the modest room an organic whole that fits around its ancient inhabitant like a cell around its nucleus. Not only are the disparate actions of her unusual life contained and brought into relation by the single space in which they are conducted, but too, they are kept secret, out of sight by slight of hand.
Observe, she is sitting again at the table, looking out over Lac Lèman: an old lady enjoying the slow pace of retired life. But here!, wait…
Ring ring. Ring ri…
“The wolf has left its den.”
“We know what to do. I’ll call you when it’s finished.”
With a sigh she sets the phone down and slides her hand across the surface in front of her. Her end of the table shimmers, flickers, and is replaced by four smaller rectangles, each the size of a large computer monitor. She types a password directly on the tabletop and loses herself in a digital world, forgetting for a while the burdens she bears—her tired bones.
“I’m telling you Frank. That’s what she said.” Confides a male voice.
Frank looks skeptical as he swirls his coffee around in his mug. “I just don’t know.”
“What’s there to know? GO FOR IT!”
Frank jerks himself up and it is unclear whether he is going to go for it or is running away from it. He’s probably not clear himself, but by mistake or intention he lurches past the exit to a table occupied by a beautiful young woman. She looks up at him and smiles—but Frank doesn’t see it as a smile, nothing so simple. She massages him, soothes his soul of its worries with a phenomenon that cannot be called a thing, a noun, a smile. No, Frank experiences rolling seas, languid days spent reclined in palm shade, an eternal blue sky.
Against all odds Frank is relaxing, her phenomenon taking root in his muscles and spreading across his face until he is beaming like an unselfconscious child. She sees him better now and her smile changes in quality; their souls sashay back and forth in a dance as old as time.
However, life, while surely beautiful, is not always fair. Frank should have sat down—it would have been best for him—but that wasn’t in the cards. Instead, as the employee door of the cafè exploded open, he was standing a mere five feet away, unwisely presenting himself to the opportunistic man who, just a moment before, had had no thought of taking any hostages today.
Situations evolve: one must prepare to meet Possibility
Brign bursts through a door, knocking it off its hinges, sending shards of wood raining down on what appears to be the business end of a coffee shop. He immediately turns to the left and, instead of pausing to take stock of a figure suddenly blocking his way, grabs the neck, twists the body around, and uses it as a shield, running backwards, towards an exit in the back. It happens so quickly that the smile is still fading from the young woman’s face as Brign steps out of the Café.
A green and white police car rounds the corner and skids to a stop right in front of Brign as he is half dragging Frank down the sidewalk. Brign throws Frank into the passenger door, jumps over the hood and slams the driver’s door on the emerging officer’s face, sending him solidly into unconsciousness.
The officer on the other side of the car is bodily forcing the door open, knocking Frank off balance while he attempts to launch himself out of the way. He twists out of the car only to have Brign descend on him from the roof and plant an elbow squarely at the base of his skull.
Brign flows from his attack into the car, using one hand to swing himself in and the other to grab Franks left bicep and pull him in behind. Throwing the car into gear he shoots off as the café door bangs open and men in black suits with handguns burst through. Instead of running or shooting after him, the first man through the door raises his wrist to his mouth and begins speaking calmly
It isn’t ten seconds later that a pair black military helicoptors fly over the buildings into the air above the roadway. Brign sees everything going to shit, and at a good clip too. Modern day Switzerland, hub of many recent developments, isn’t the best place to try to evade authority. The choppers hover above him, having no difficulty keeping him in sight as he races over the Geneva streets. They, truly, are superflous, as each major Swiss city has multiple sattelites orbiting geosynchrously, keeping track of, in an artificially intelligent manner, the licence plates of each car driving through the city—and common patterns of movement.
It wasn’t supposed to go like this.