Music, This Chapter: ElDera – Allure [Silk Music].
In fact it was actually nowhere near where she had come from.
When she woke up, there was a magnificent panoramic vista of an unfamiliar city and a beautiful winding blue river down below about a half mile away – all visible through a huge broad single sheet of glass which was essentially one wall of a penthouse apartment in a little street on the side at the top of the single mount overlooking this capital city.
Her immediate environment was a typical, expensive, modern, open-plan lounge area with wool-covered sofas and long dining table with a large linear kitchen behind that. And there was the de rigueur Jet-master horizontal gas fireplace.
There was another person in here with Liz McNeil. Light brown medium length hair, ‘up-done’ in a styled creative fashion, with some straggly tresses; it was quite thick luxuriant hair... Fawn and dusty burgundy over-the-knee length designed, fitted, panelled dress with short sleeves. Thin brown leather belt. Classic heeled shoes, not too high. She looked young, not more than twenty-two or twenty-three. Hazel eyes.
Manicured hands and fingernails. A plain golden bangle on one wrist. A normal-looking person.
But this time, when Liz McNeil awoke one more time again from this latest of these ’externally enforced sleeps,′ she herself was not the person that she once had been. All too obvious now, was what she now knew and understood about the human race – that they were all of them, all of the people, in a state of suffering and ignorance. Liz was not so much all-knowledgeable now, but certainly less ignorant, and that was for sure.
In her new condition she was not in the least bit surprised to see the other person standing there. Although what she found a little surprising was just how young...
Well, how young-looking, then; she corrected herself.
This was actually an individual of great power and intelligence. In the guise of a young woman.
The human race, obsessed and fixated on ‘cause and effect,’ had no idea about any of this kind of thing. This was a gana – a type of being spoken about in the Vedas. They were a vast multitude in number but this particular one, was probably a leader. But even then, the concept of ‘multitude’ was itself an inadequate one and reflected the simplistic level of understanding of human beings; because in fact, they were not separately and individually ‘many in number’ at all. They were few in number – but never could they be divided. What they were able to do was unfold into vast arrays, great assemblages all uniform in being and in kind and power.
They could be and go anywhere inside or outside of natural time and simple location.
While Liz was musing all of these things to herself the girl in front of her started to take up a tress of hair on the side of her head, which was falling across her forehead and against an eyebrow, and she began twirling it around a finger, as she looked off into the distance somewhere. And then she cast her gaze back onto Liz McNeil and bore into her face and eyes.
“I’m Sara.” She looked Liz up and down solicitously. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Liz. Elizabeth. McNeil.”
“How do you do.” Sara extended a hand and took Liz’s left hand and squeezed it lightly.
“How do I do? I’m really not sure.”
“Well never mind that. In a few moments, the lady who lives two doors away, will be knocking at your door here. She has a key to the front gates, because she manages the other place on this floor which faces away from all of this beautiful scenery here.” She half turned sideways as if gesturing to the -, ‘all of the beautiful scenery.’ “You may let her in, and I will do the talking. All you have to do is to play along. The only thing you need to know is that you are an art agent and interior designer. And I am your cataloguing clerk. Is that all fine?”
“Oh yes, yes. Sure.” She found herself sitting upright, straighter. This girl didn’t have that strange accent... She had no accent at all. Not one that you could tell. It was just a very natural sounding, straight on, modern voice and accent.
Liz McNeil was sure there was the wonderful odour of freshly-brewed coffee.
“Just be charming as you always are and say yes to absolutely everything.” Was the final instructions she heard as the other woman – the young girl – turned her back to Liz and walked away towards the kitchen-galley sort of place around another very large, in fact huge, clear glass partitioning effect, towards where there was indeed, coffee brewing.
Presently the girl returned bearing two plain white cups and saucers of black coffee. And as she was setting these down, there came a knock knock on the front door.
Liz could do no more than break into a quick smile and breathe: 'voilà.'
“Oh yes... Voilà. Elle est là.”
Liz got up and pointed to herself: “I go?”
“You go. It’s your place. This is your place.”
“Oh. That’s very lovely. How did that happen...”
The lady at the door was of a mature age, although not anywhere near as mature, as Liz was, even given the vagueness of her own ‘authentic’ age – however you would say - right now in all of the circumstances.
Wearing a rather austere dark blue pants suit, gold buttoned Camille blazer, possibly Armani, though more likely Tory Burch, she was of average height and overly thin as too many are these days.
Liz suddenly realised that somehow her own ass had put on some inches overnight, it seemed. She sucked her stomach in and greeted the woman. “Hello. Good morning. How can I help you?”
The secretarial-looking sort of female waved a hand to one side, pointing directionally, with her other hand vaguely following the first one. “Hi. I’m your neighbour.” Strongly accented. Generic modern era Seinfeld television American. “Well not your neighbour exactly, although we have this place next to yours at the front over here...” She bit a lip. “Well, actually, I’m a secretary at the Consul General’s local residence two spots down the terrace here. The United States Consulate General?” She raised her eyebrows as if to question solicitously that Liz might have known it, to be perfectly sure...
“Ah yes yes.” Liz nodded, remembering to say ‘yes’ to everything. “Please come in. Won’t you come in?” She stood back from the doorway, inviting the woman inside. “Please do come in.”
“Please take a seat. Isn’t the view perfectly wonderful?” Liz caught herself saying the stoopid and also the perfectly too obvious, especially for someone that was meant to have been living here.
“Oh yes it is, yes.” The woman seemed to squirm at that, as if prodded by something.
The woman briefly scanned the extremely broad vista and rapidly turned her attention back to Liz, who was standing there, just in front of her own chair in which she had, not too many minutes before, been fully fast asleep.
“My name is Trice.” She almost sucked it in rather than said it. “What a magnificent, a truly amazing magnificent place.” She just breathed it.
“Oh yes, isn’t it?” Liz only just barely restrained herself from asking if she would like one herself and maybe, that young woman whose name right now she had even momentarily quite forgotten, could just well, get her one.
The American woman slapped her knees and it seemed that something had made her feel less edgy just then. “Well. Now. That is actually the reason for my call on you this morning.”
“It is? I am not responsible for the beauty you see out there, I assure you.”
And that seemed to further break the ice too as the both of them, the American secretary woman, and herself, tittered away together.
“I really do not know how to raise this with you -.”
Liz felt the young girl’s hand move close up to her side. And she heard her whisper: “Coffee.”
“Oh! Coffee. Yes. Please, do have some coffee with us. It’s just freshly made!” She felt herself quite gushing at all of this rare and utterly banal socialising thing that was transpiring. It had not been been a part of her old life. Everything seemed to have been so – transactional there. Coffee was what happened at a car dealership’s. Before signing the transaction.
Coffee was for Tinder dates. Not that she did that. Very much.
Ew gewd, just thinking about the mess that was human relationships... The total complete utter abysmal sheer ignorant mess.
It was not like the organised hymeneals that went on up there... Although it was hardly marriages, as such.
Now where the hell did that come from? She asked herself. There was stuff inside her head now, inside her memories, though not any that had been formed during her 'normal normal' life. It seemed she knew whole words, and all of the context and surrounding information about the whole underlying ideas entailed. Actually, it was not primarily the words she remembered at all, but it was the ideas themselves, with words and current human language fitting on top of those.
“Coffee, please.” She ordered, and added in a quieter voice: “Sorry, what’s your name again?”
The girl stepped up and raised her mouth and lips very close to Liz’s right ear: “Sara.”
And then she briskly spun around and went away to get another cup and saucer.
This time when she returned she had a sugar bowl with her as well.
And then she flitted away again.
Liz sang back over her shoulder: “Do we have anything to go with the coffee, my dear Sara?”
And presently Sara returned again, bearing a small plate. “Only these. Honey macadamia butter cookies.”
“Don’t starve yourself, Trice.” Liz advised. “Men don’t like it and the gay fashion designers – well, waste of time, isn’t it? Trust me. Don’t do it. Am I being too forward?”
“They look rather appealing...” Trice murmured.
“Well have them then!” Liz burst out laughing. “Eat them. It’s what they are for. They not for looking at – like this, um, this, vista -.”
“The vista. The view. The scenery. Now, well, about that...”
“Well, well, out with it dear.”
“You probably won’t have heard – no one is supposed to know – but ‘*’ is scheduled to be coming here to film some scenes on location.”
“Oh, ‘*.’” Liz McNeil raised her own eyebrows at the name. Since that was the name on the files from upstairs. “How surprising.”
“She is set to be here for three months. And she would stay in the front apartment. You know, the one here next to yours.”
“Ah. The one with no view.” Liz realised immediately.
“Yes. That one.”
Trice turned her head away and looked off into the distance. “We tried to look up the owners of your place here, but we ended up somewhere at a blind Switzerland listing – something called an ‘eingetragener Verein.’ Which I only learned about just now! Because of course, we wanted to communicate directly with the people...”
Sara broke in to the conversation just then. She had quietly seated herself in another chair nearby Liz’s while the others had been talking.
“Madam is too modest.” She was nodding to signal that she meant Liz; that Liz was ‘too modest.’
“This is Ms McNeil’s property. She is a very clever woman. She is the authorised agent for the art-work of some of these orphaned children, you know – have you heard of the Lebensborn?”
Trice, the America Consul General’s personal secretary, shook her head. “No. What is that?”
“Those were children born under the Nazi regime in a Nazi eugenics program at various places around the world during World War II. There’s now first and second generations of these individuals who survived the war. There were eight thousand such children in Germany alone and many thousands around the place elsewhere.
“Ms McNeil sells their work on-line through the NFT system, on various platforms, and forwards all the proceeds to particular charities around the world whose objective it is, to find and return or restore to galleries and museums, art stolen during World War II by the Nazis. ...One of the billionaire sponsors of the art and cultural recovery trusts has allowed her to work from this location.”
Sara picked up one of the honey macadamias and placed it close up to her mouth, holding it there for a moment and, looking directly and deliberately into Liz McNeil’s eyes, she opened her mouth next, and bit into the cookie.
“So. You want me to shift out for a few months and let ‘*’ come stay here. You want me to swap, um, with your place next door for a while maybe? Of course, of course we can do that. I would be honoured. Oh she’s such a great actress. I loved her in, in, in that European thing, you know the one... That one.”
“Aw. Would you? My boss is going to be over the moon.”
Sara reached out a hand to prevent Liz from saying anything more than she had just now said.
“More – coffee?” Sara asked.