Sicilian Escapade

“Next,” said Sinclair.

The interface slid the image of a tundra wasteland away to his left, replacing it with a new display window depicting a desert scene; the fierce African sun setting behind the dunes as a silhouetted caravan of camels plodded towards the shimmering horizon.

“Description,” Sinclair ordered, and the voice-activated interface clicked its staccato communicator into action.

“Chapter: Saharan Desperation. You are Jabir, a Saharan tribesman leading your villagers through the harsh terrain of the Mauritanian desert towards the West coast of Africa. You are low on water and in a race against time before your whole tribe dies of thirst.”

Sinclair moved his tongue around the now dry interior of his mouth.

“Next,” he croaked.

The Saharan sunset zoomed off, an Amazonian junglescape taking it’s place; a lush green explosion of trees, vines and snakes. Sinclair shuddered.

“I bloody hate snakes,” he said. “Next.”

The Jungle dissipated into nothingness and the subsequent window skidded to a halt in front of Sinclair. This new luminescent display radiated a Mediterranean vista; a coved sandy beach, clear blue sea, Italian hills and cerulean sky, all viewed through what looked to be the stone walls of an old castle.

“Description.”

“Chapter: Sicilian Escapade. You are Federico Azzuri, private detective, hired to uncover the whereabouts of Monica Sperroni, daughter of one of Sicily’s most feared crime lords.”

“Load,” Sinclair ordered. “Definitely load.”

The image dissolved in front of Sinclair and his eyescreens flickered and fizzed. His whole body juddered as a sharp jolt shot through his system, and Sinclair gritted his teeth and balled his fists. Then everything stopped.

Sinclair blinked. There he was. The stone walls no more than a metre away, and through the roughly-hewn hole the vast, watery table of the Med blinking back at him in the midday sun. Sinclair reached out to touch the wall, the rough texture of the stone grazing his fingers as he dragged them downwards.

In the distance a gunshot resounded. Sinclair spun around, alert, ears pricked.

“AZZURI.”

The deep, guttural cry resounded around the walls and Sinclair took off at speed, his Italian leather shoes sprinting towards the opposite direction, towards adventure.

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Tim Waltho

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