“Sam! Sam!” was the only words that my father uttered before he was taken by a group of people, to which I don’t even know. It was around 2:00 A.M, Tuesday, as far as I remember. He was trying to escape but he couldn’t. The tight grip of hands was not giving him the chance to flee. He tried to grab my hands but he can’t reach it. I was trying to search for help. I screamed but it seems like no one can hear me. The distance between me and my father is getting too far. I shouted at the top of my lungs but it’s no use. No one had even dared to cross the old abandoned street that we are situated, even a single soul. It was dark. Only a pinch of light from the old street lamp was giving me a chance to see the veiled faces. I was losing hope. I could not see my father anymore, even his shadow. I ran back home, as fast as I could. I was 15 years old at that time. I was gasping. I could not breathe anymore. My heart is pumping fast like the beating of a drum. My vision was blurred now. I was slowly losing it. My senses don’t work anymore. All I know is that I fell down and I heard a bunch of voices. And that’s what I remember.
A Day After….
I tried to open my eyes and I saw my mother sleeping beside me. I was in our house. I don’t know how I got here. I woke her up because I’m a bit hungry and I can’t barely move my feet. It was numb.
“Mom! Wake up! Mom!”
She wakes up and was excited to see me like I was the only flower on a dead barren ground.
“Oh! Sam! Thank God, you’re alive! What happen? Where’s your dad”
I told her what had happen. It was a long story so I made it short. I told her as precise as I could tell. She was not shocked and it seems she already knew what would happen. That confuses me, but it was out of my mind after.
“Mom, I’m a bit hungry? Would you help me stand?”
“No. Don’t try to move. Stay there. Ok! Just let me get your food.”
She walked out in my room. And I heard her steps going down the stairs. I tried to sleep again but I can’t. The moments, the guns, the masks and my father’s face don’t seem to fade in my mind. Tears run down my face. My mother was watching me at the door, so I tried to wipe it and hide my feelings.
“Here’s your food. Eat it.”
“Ok.Thanks. Mom, we need to find dad. Where is he? Does he have any enemy at his company or whatever that could lead to this kind of situation?”
My mom doesn’t seem to speak. She cried but what could she do?
“Are we in danger mom?”
“No, no. We’re safe. As long as you’re with me.”
“But what about dad? Aren’t we going to find him?”
“I called the police and they’re making the move now. I emailed them his picture and the details you told me. They’ll just send me informations afterwards. ”
I ate my food. I took a nap again. After I wake up, I ask mom, whether the police have new informations, but she said, they don’t call her. Days and days, we waited for a call from the police. Days and days my mom went back and forth to the station. But, we got none. They couldn’t search my dad. They could not find clues and footprints. They doing they’re best but it was not enough.
Chapter One: Check In
3 years later and we did not get anything from the police. They dropped the case. It remains unsolved. What a criminal? We forgot about it and moved on. I was 18 at that time. My life was on peace not until I heard my mother’s confession. By the way, my full name is Samantha D. Wolfram. My last name seems to be some kind of a joke, but I’m named that way.
It was a hot afternoon when I got home after my class. My best friend, Lucy, was with me. She was always by my side, no matter what. We were on the middle of the street, when suddenly, I heard my phone ringing. I cannot answer it because my focus is on my way. When we passed the street, I get my phone to see a missed call from my mom. I texted her back to know why. She suddenly replied. This is what she texted:
“Sam, we need to talk. This is about something. Something you need to know. I think it’s the right time to tell you this. Come home early.”
The way she texted makes me feel nervous. I don’t have any idea what she wants to talk about. I mean, I’m turning 18 tomorrow and my life seems to be at peace after my dad went missing. I got no choice but to go home early.
“What is it girl?” Lucy asked.
“Nothing. We need to walk fast. Is it OK for you that I’ll leave you at the corner?”
“Ok! I also need to buy the new CD in town. Just call me if there’s something you want. Ok?”
“OK! See you tomorrow. I’m in a hurry.”
I rushed home. When I’m on front of our gate’s house, my heart beats fast. I slowly entered our house and I saw mom sitting in the dining table, with a weary face.
“Mom, is there anything wrong?”
“Oh, good you come home early”
“Why, what will you tell me? What is it all about”
“Sit first. This is all about your dad.”
My attention was caught when she told me it was about my dad.
“What about him?”
“I know you will not easily understand me but listen attentively to what I will say. Look, this is what I am keeping for almost 18 years. I don’t want to keep secrets but I really think, it’s the right time to tell you this.”
After she says, suddenly, something bothers my mind. I can’t tell what it is, but it really pops up. I did not mind to say something else. I want to hear her and don’t want to disturb her.
“Sam, about your missing father, I..,I really know what and why it happens.”
I’m shocked by what she said. It really didn’t cross my mind, even once. I stared at her and her eyes were full of tears. I saw her trembling lips. I cannot control my feelings and it made me shout loud at her.
“Mom? What? You have lied to me!”
My mom doesn’t speak now. She knows what to do but she didn’t know what to do first. I can see it in her face. She was nervous. I could tell that she was thinking how to make me understand. But, she managed to speak up.
“No, no,no. I did not lie to you. I’m just keeping something. Something that in your younger age, you must didn’t know.”
I stood up. I cannot tend to hide my inner emotions.
“Then what is it?”
I sat down without breaking my focus on her. I’m staring at her.
“Before me and your dad were getting married, he was once a member of a secret society called “MYSTICO”. At first, it has a good motivations . They secretly help people in need. But when their leader died, the successor, Adnan Lutfi, turn the white-background in the group to black. After a year, he realized that what they’re doing is not good. He decided to get out of the MYSTICO group, but..but…”
Mysticos? I never heard the group before. My mom went teary. She shed more tears than awhile ago. I held her hands tightly and I feel the coldness of it.
“But they have a rule that your father did not know. Once you’re a member they will let you become a member forever. They will not let you go. Not until, death comes over. When one decided to get out of the group, they kills.”
I went shock again. I now understood why father has been abducted. (I’m using the term “Abducted” because maybe aliens are the ones who seized my dad. J!)
“So you mean, Dad has been kidnapped by the MYSTICO’s?”
“Yes. At that time I am pregnant with you. So your Dad, kneeled for mercy to let him see you grow. To let him care for you. To let him show his love to you.”
I started to cry. I feel the passion of my father’s love. But I did not get what my mother wants to say.
“And..?Mom, I didn’t get it”
“He kneeled for mercy to let him see you grow. So, Adnan Lutfi, let him, but with one condition.”
“What? What condition?”
“When your 18th birthday comes..”
I started to feel nervous. I think I’m getting the point. The whole point of the story.
“When I become 18, are they getting me?”
My mom bursts into tears. She doesn’t know what to say. She cant find a way to save me. She did not speak up. I cannot believe the things that my mother confesses. But what should I do? It comes from my mom and I don’t think she will make this kind of joke to me. These are all true. I want to go shouting but I can’t. These were planned before I was born. I can’t change it nor run away to it. I stood up and run outside our house. I leaved my mom. I need some time to breathe to find the missing link between the incidents that I know just right now. I did not know where to go. So I run on the street without directions with tears flowing. I don’t know why these are happening to me. I don’t want to be away from my mom. She’s the only one who can take good care of me. The only one who knows me the best. I sat on a bench in the park, with my mind soaring about everything. I cannot find my center. I cannot concentrate. I lose my focus. Hours and hours passed, but I’m still sitting in the bench. My mother did not tend to find me, cause she knew, I will be taken away from her. And she knew that I need time to catch my breath. The sky is getting dark just as my life is getting into the dark. I don’t know who will get me or what kind of people they are. I look at my wristwatch to find that it was 10 minutes before my birthday. It was 11:50. I tried to sleep in the bench cause it might be a dream. But I cant. My mind is still soaring and I cant find a way to get it’s wings. I closed my eyes but a guy who might be 30-50 years old appeared in front of me. I did not know him. But his face was familiar. I tried to recall everything. I tried to smooth things up. But I really don’t get a hint. He speak up with a low, modular voice.
“Excuse me mademoiselle, but, how may I help you? Why so lonely? Is life getting you down?”
I did not know why he knew I have a problem. Maybe it’s because my face was weary at that time and was full of tears.
“I’m fine. There’s no need. But thank you for your kindness.”
He stared at my eyes and I stared at him also. He really looks familiar.
“I know that you are in a problem. I know that. I see it in your eyes. But, I know a place where you will be free from your worries, where fun-filled fantasies, keep you in your toes. Where worry and agony are things you forget and all your darkest secrets show.”
Very poetic! But I don’t get what he’s saying and I don’t know him. Why do I listen to him? But the way he speak, the way he convinces me, makes me fall into him. I’m believing to him now. Does he know where I could find my true self? Well, I guess so.
“Are you sure? “ I asked.
“Yes but leave your family and friends aside and let the onyx be your guide.”
The Onyx? What is it? This makes me confused. What does he mean by it? As far as I know, onyx is a precious stone.
“Are you in?” he asked with a devilish laugh.
Kind of creepy! But he does know where I could find the answers to my questions. I would like to say yes, but i heard the voice of my mother. I looked at the back and I saw her running. She was gasping. But the man makes a hole in the ground. A big bright white light shines upon it and I could barely see my mother. My mom was shouting, but I could not hear it.
“Sam! Sam! Don’t go with him!” my mother shouted.
But before I could run to her, the man held my hand and let me jump to the hole. I could not resist because his force were so strong. I fell down to the hole and he jumped also. I could not see the world now. It was another dimension. We twirl and twirl and twirl before we could land. I closed my eyes and when I opened it, a beautiful, peaceful but dark world is where I am in now. How could the dark becomes beautiful? I don’t know but that’s what I saw. It was not really dark but partly dark. You know what I mean? It’s kind of dim. On the left side of me was a beautiful garden full of flowers but on the opposite side was a big and tall building that is named the ONYX HOTEL. The sign of the hotel was full of lights around it to let all the people see. The onyx? It was been uttered by the man. And speaking of the man, I could not find him. I am alone. Where could he be? I walked closer to the hotel. All the lights were turned on. I could really see how big and tall the Onyx Hotel was. Maybe 30-storey high. Suddenly, I heard a voice whispering to me.
“Come in! Welcome to the Onyx Hotel!”
It was not really a whisper, I realized, it was the Hotel System. How modern! I walked inside the hotel and saw a woman at a table. She smiles at me and said:
“Welcome to the Onyx Hotel Sam!”
How did she know my name? As far as I remember, I did not meet here in my entire life. It confuses me.
“Would you like to check-in?” she asked.
I did not mind to ask for her name. That don’t matter to me.
“Yes. I would like to. But I have no money?”
She smiles at me again.
“Oh! Don’t worry! You’re the 100th guest in this hotel and we have a promo. You’re free of expenses.”
I was convinced. How lucky I was. Without even thinking, I agree to check-in in the hotel.
“Yes. I would like to.”
The woman grinned and starts to type my name in her computer. That means I’m already checked-in. I saw it in one of the LCD monitors hanged above the table. But for how long? I asked the woman.
“How long is the free service?”
“Did you not know the policy here?”
I swayed my head, left and right. I did not know the policy. I looked back. I looked everywhere for a policy board but I found none. I looked at the front but the woman had disappeared. Where is she? I looked all over place where I am in, but found no sign of where she could be. So mysterious! And again, how long should I be here? Do you know?