CHAPTER XVII: Time is the key

Pic: Greubel Forsey

* Music during reading (to feel better the atmosphere of this chapter I recommend this song in the background)

A key? What does he need a key for, and how it could help us to get out of here? Putting the newly found object in my trouser pocket, I was attempting to link it to the situation that awaited me in the living room. I sat on the stool, trying to get my head to think as fast as possible to find that magnificent idea that could save us. My main plan was thwarted when the man assigned to watch after me confiscated my phone, by examining my bag before I crossed this door.

I got up and began to go through all the shelves and drawers searching for something that could serve us in some way when I heard screams and shots in the living room. Desperate and terrified, with nothing to protect or defend me with, and with no way to help Alex, I curled up on the floor, covering my ears and praying that all of this would end as soon as possible. In moments of despair, we all become believers.

‘‘In moments of despair, we all become believers.’’

The seconds seemed like minutes and the minutes like hours. Watching how they tried to force the door, the most emblematic moments of my life began to pass before my eyes. You never consider living something like this in the real-life, those things happen with fictional heroes played by Hollywood actors or with people who live in that criminal world, but not with ones that worry about daily stuff like what shampoo to buy this time. Your mind does not fully believe what is happening, you think that it is a nightmare from which you will wake up at any moment. The only thing you feel is fear. Seeing how the bathroom door, my only «shield«, was opening, I closed my eyes with the hope that it would make everything easier and less painful.

«All clear,» I heard, opening my eyes and watching some men dressed as policemen approaching me. «Are you OK?» One of them asked me, bending down, while the medical team entered to check how I feel.

«What happened? Where is Alex?» I said, trying to get up.

«Everything is fine, don’t worry, please,» one of the nurses answered me while taking my blood pressure.

I was still sitting on the floor when I saw a familiar face entering the door and quickly approaching me.

«Thanks God you are okay!» Petra, our cleaning lady, came up to me, ignoring the warnings from the policeman and gave me a big hug. At that moment I finally felt that everything was really over, and I burst into tears.

«Petra, where is Alex?»

«He’s gone … They’ve taken him away…»

«What are you talking about?! Who has taken him? Alex ?!» I got up, trying to locate my fiancé, but the policeman standing at the door stopped me. «I want to pass! Where is he? Alex?» I kept crying and calling him with the hope that he would answer me.

«Calm down, please,» the man who was blocking my path quickly grabbed me and sat me on the stool, but I still had time to see a body lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the hall.

«I want to know what is going on …,» I said desperately.

«We got a call telling us that something is wrong here,» the policeman replied, looking at Petra. «The bandits refused to surrender. One person has died during the gunfight, three have been injured, two of them policemen, and two men from the gang have been able to flee, taking Mr. Suarez hostage. Don’t worry, we will find them, but if you feel up to it, we would like you to join us, so we can take statements.»

«Yes, of course,» I woke up with a clear idea that every minute could be decisive for Alex’s life, despite having a cloudy mind, as if I were drunk.

«Follow me, please» the uniformed man guided me through my house as through a minefield where any step could be lethal, while I observed the investigation team looking for clues and pieces of evidence.

All of us players in the game where time rules; if you manage to make it become your accomplice, you have everything to win, but never forget that this advantage will only last as long as it sees fit because you can gain time, but you can never beat time. I entered the police station knowing that rule.

«All of us are players in the game where time rules; If you manage to make it become your accomplice, you have everything to win, but never forget that this advantage will only last as long as it sees fit because you can gain time, but you can never beat time.»

«Good afternoon. My name is inspector Aguirre, I am handling this case. Take a seat, please,» said a middle-aged man with a coffee in hand, pushing my chair away. «Tell me, how long and how did you meet Mr Suarez,» he continued.

I started to answer several questions for many of which I did not have the answer, realizing that I hardly knew Alex beyond what we have experienced these last months.

«Do you recognize this watch?» The inspector handed me a wristwatch with a black leather strap. «It’s the “Tourbillon 24 Secondes by Greubel Forsey. A luxurious not very common Swiss model. We found it on the sofa at your house, and it is still not clear whether it belongs to Mr. Suarez or one of the kidnappers.

I looked at him in surprise, picked up the watch, and began to analyse it. It was an elegant and classic design with a slim case in rose gold and a black dial, where you could see the mechanism protected by the sapphire crystal on the bottom and back. «Tourbillon 24 Secondes» was the perfect example of that detailed and meticulous work of Swiss watchmakers who paid tribute to the craftsmanship and delicacy of each of its pieces. I have never seen so unique and refined watch before. About to return the Greubel Forsey to the inspector, I noticed numbers and a key drawn on the strap. I remembered Alex’s words and the key I found in the bathroom, which I still had in my pants pocket.

«Yes, it belongs to Alex,» I lied, «it is a gift from his father. «Do you mind if I take it? It is very important to him.»

«Yes, of course.»

«Inspector, I’m exhausted, I need to rest,» I said, hoping that he would let me go so that I could begin to figure out what was happening.

«Of course, we will notify you of any news. Would you like one of our men to join you?»

«Don’t worry, I’m fine, thank you very much. Do you mind if I make a call?»

«No problem, you can find the phone on my office table.»

I dialled Marta‘s number, who upon hearing my voice did not need any explanations, told her that I would tell her everything once we meet, and I took the path to the hotel where she was staying.

Sitting in the Uber, I was looking at the luxury watch trying to understand why those numbers were written on it and what did that key open. I needed a clear mind to guide me, that of my best friend; Friends are the guides that the Universe sends us so that we can see everything that we are not capable of seeing on our own. Approaching the entrance of the hotel, I put the two precious objects that could take me to Alex in the hidden pocket of my purse, and when I did it, I noticed a small piece of paper that had been there since last July; Something that I forgot about, but that came back to me just like the last time — when I needed it the most.

«Friends are the guides that the Universe sends us so that we can see everything that we are not capable of seeing on our own.»