ZONED OUT:PROLOGUE

“Alfred, I guess this was what you had always wanted.”
“Indeed, Master Daniel.”
I never thought that I could spare my time to date a girl that I have recently fallen in love with. Although, I revere the fleeting moments that I spend to care about her health and daily routine, and pay a tribute to our common traits, these moments also put me in a constant alert of any unusual activities surrounding my life. 
The fear that I have garnered till date from my travel diaries to alternate versions of my life means that at any given moment, someone may force me to jump off a hundred-storied building, or a breaking news broadcast may trigger my superhuman senses to save the people from a building blazed by an arsonist. Whatever the reasons, I have a lot of responsibilities to carry out and may have a hard time even telling you guys of the adventures I frequently run into.
“Hey, sweetheart! Are you here?” 
“Huh? Yeah, yeah. Sorry to keep you waiting.” 
“Keep me waiting? We are on our first day outside Gotham and all your save-the-day troubles and you sympathize with ‘Sorry to keep you waiting!’. It was gonna be our first kiss in this romantic place and suddenly you lose your sense of awareness? Why can’t you just BE YOU for now?”
The first time I came across Nakkali was when I had a business in Pokhara to recruit her to my company. Her stubbornness impressed me and just as Alfred wished me for a companion, I was happy to spend my free time with her. 
“Excuse me, can you bring us two plates of mixed pizza?”, I instructed the waiter.
The waiter bent forward and whispered in my ears, “Sorry to ruin your day, monsieur.”
“What do ya mean by that?”
I had no hell of an idea of what was going on. In an instant, I saw Nakkali disappear and to my utter amazement, there was nothing in the table except for a paper that spelled out ‘DK’. What did that mean? Dangerous Khiladi? Don Key? Or was it the kidnapper’s way of thanking me to take my time in playing a game with him? 
I rushed to the manager’s desk of Hotel Barahi and inquired if he could supply me with a security footage of the area near the swimming pool. I was instantly given access to the footage. 
But, what I saw was hard to digest by my senses. Right after the handshake between my lover and the waiter took place, they left no trace of their physical presence. It was as if they were teleported to a different dimension in the fabrics of space-time.
I requested the manager to provide details about the waiter. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any. Near the hotel’s gate, I saw a green van being parked and four people rushed to the manager’s office.
“Mr. Daniel, we have few questions to ask about the kidnapping of Nakkali.”
“Who are you guys?”
“We are the Mystery Inc. and this is Scooby Doo. We believe that the person who left his signature move is a famous underworld mobster who goes by the acronym, DK. This is his only picture we have on record. Interestingly, we were able to track him to World Peace Stupa some 18 hours earlier and pulled out his satellite image.”
Satellite image of DK in the World Peace
Stupa premises.18 hours ago.
“What on earth is he doing here?”, I questioned my conscience.
“Mr. Daniel, you sound like you know this guy very well.”
“Of course I do, we were a member of the famous BC 24! I didn’t imagine in my wildest dreams that he could go as far to camouflage his appearance to his old buddy and rob off the woman of my life.” I sounded like I was out of breath and sweated all over my body.
I was in a dilemma whether to accept the scenario that DK had put me in. I met him after ten years and this was how he greeted me! 
“Sir. Excuse me, sir. The bill’s amounted to Rs. 500. Would you mind paying it?”, the hotel staff said.
“Shut the hell up!!” I pushed him vehemently.
Kya yaar, maanchhe haru pani kasta kasta hunda rahechhan. Dashain jasto chadko belaama gaadi paauna hamme hamme hunchha, ani paisa tirnu ta bhanda pani jharkinchhan! Khurukka paisa tirne bhaye tirnu natra vhaye yahi Naubise ma jharnus.”

I found myself surrounded by sixteen strangers in the micro bus. They all had an expression that echoed ‘Yo keto ta khuskeko chha ki kya ho?’. 

“What happened, bro?”, I asked the conductor.

“Just pay Rs. 500.”

I paid the bus fare. I realized I was zoning out. Everything around me delineated a tranquil presence. It appeared that time had stopped and slowly my heart was beginning to stop as well.
But the feeling that an old friend of mine made contact with me in my zoned-out world flummoxed my senses. Did he really kidnap Nakkali? Or was it just another dream?
Suddenly, a text message appeared on my dan-phone that linked to a website. I clicked it.
Creative visualization of DK sending the text message to Daniel from an alternate dimension.
“Daniel, save me! Daniel!”, Nakkali cried out. 
“Chh Chh Chh. Sorry pal! Or should I say, 364 Daniel? I wanted to have a long chat with you but alas, time’s running out. I am in an alternate dimension that you have no idea about. If you so much care about her, then come and get her!”
“DK, wait!”, I yelled. The page displayed “PAGE ERROR! THIS SITE DOES NOT EXIST.”
Damn. So, this was real. I guess I don’t have any options left, then.
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