Chapter 22

'Oh cara, io sono tutto bagnato! Cindy idiota! E perché parlo Italiano?' Mini Pru yelled into Cindy's ear.

'What?' Cindy asked, 'Is that Italian?'

From her scant comprehension of Spanish, Cindy thought she could make out that Pru was displeased with her moist state, considered Cindy to be somewhat less than intelligent, and questioned why she was suddenly speaking Italian.

'Come on, I'll take you upstairs to where Marconi works. I won't tell him you are there, I will just have to come up with a good excuse to ask for a translation on the lift on the way up,' Cindy explained.

The smart lift instruction tower had changed somehow, but Cindy could not work out exactly how. She decided the top button, which was simply marked with a crescent shape, must take her to the top floor, so she pressed it.

After a few minutes in the lift, it appeared to be moving faster. Then faster still. Cindy began to feel a little light-headed, then nauseous. A 'bing' noise sounded as a sick bag appeared from a hitherto invisible compartment in the side wall. Cindy made good use of it, before dumping it in the clearly labelled garbage chute, which had mysteriously come into being at this precise point in time.

Cindy picked Mini Pru from her shoulder, where she had been perched up to this point, and rested her on her hand. 'It might be a bit risky up there,' Cindy explained.

Soon afterwards, a harness descended from above and secured Cindy in place. The best Cindy could provide for Pru was to cup her hands together tightly to enclose Pru.

Cindy looked around for the emergency call button. The call button failed to materialise.

A few seconds later, the lift became turbo-charged. The lights went out, and rather than becoming noisier, as one might expect, it became deafeningly silent.

Cindy had lost track of the passage of time. Free from triggers to her senses, except for the secure feel of the harness, the touch of mini Pru in her hands, and the scent of her own perfume, her mind began to fill in the gaps. First she saw specks of colour in the corner of her eyes. A dash of purple here, a speckle of gold there. Then she heard a hum, which turned into a buzz, and soon she felt a sting in her right thigh.

'Hey their Cindy, wassup?' Jesus said.

'No you're not real!' Cindy replied 'This is just like a sensory deprivation tank. I'm going on a spiritual journey, that is all.'

'You can think that if you like,' Jesus replied, 'But it might be more fun if you chose to take the opinion that I am real. Would it help if I added some music?'

'It would help more if you added some food,' Cindy replied, salivating.

'Here you go, lamb kebab with tahini sauce,' Jesus said as he passed her a parcel, dripping white sauce down his arms.

Before she could take a bite, Cindy was whisked out of her reverie with a: 'Bing, level 1000, Lunaria Enterprises.'

As the doors opened, Cindy and Mini Pru squinted, being exposed to light after absolute darkness for what felt like an awfully long period. Amorphous shapes in different shades of grey effervesced in and out of existence for Cindy.

The silence of this grey wasteland was overpowering. To compensate, her mind created a hissing sound to fill the void. The place emitted a smell somewhat resembling mild cheddar.

The grey shapes danced around like the shadows of ghosts on a misty Irish morning, until suddenly, their dominance was broken by something quite spectacular.

The first really clear physical entity that she could make out was a rather large orb of dappled blue and green, far on the horizon. It was beautiful. She stared at it for quite some time, wondering what this momentous vista might be.