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   Chapter 4 No.4

Ria, are you ok? By Bruno Maiorana Characters: 5875

Updated: 2018-04-10 12:02


Treasure hunting was a job that required a certain degree of expertise in at least twenty different fields and I was fine with that because I actually loved the learning process. My ultimate goal in life was to totally understand the universe, and anything that brought me closer to that was welcome into my life.

As a treasure hunter, I had to be at the top of my game as a graphic designer, a web designer, a researcher, a rock climber, a geographer, a detective, a sailor, a pilot, a miner, an archaeologist, a lock picker, a hiker, a cyclist, geologist, anthropologist, paleontologist, and all while juggling everything that came along with being a girl in her twenties living in Vancouver.

6 - Peter

A silhouette wearing a hood was visible in the mirror. My chest tightened, my heart rate quickened, and a shrieking sound rang in my ears. The girl closed her eyes and pressed her book against her chest.

Instinctively, I got off my lane and pulled over, giving only two second's notice that there was a car behind me. The girl shook in her seat but didn't open her eyes. I took a deep breath and looked back. The silhouette had disappeared.

"He's gone, " muttered the girl, tapping on the book with her fingers in a nervous manner. I wanted to speak but no words came out of my mouth. Reality was starting to feel like a nightmare. I checked the back seat again but there was nothing there. The girl looked at me.

He's gone. Her words resonated in my head for longer than I would have liked them to. She kept tapping on her book as if expecting something to happen.

"We should go, " the girl said, looking down. After waiting for a break in the traffic, I got back on the highway and drove away, occasionally checking the front mirror to make sure whatever was sitting in the back seat before didn't return.

I turned on the radio but an unintelligible sound came out of it. The girl, who moments ago I had found extremely attractive, was now nothing but creepy. In fact, the whole situation seemed to be right out of a Twilight Zone episode. I turned off the radio and got lost in thought, struggling to come to terms with what had just happened.

Neither of us bothered to introduce ourselves or start any kind of conversation for the duration of the ride, let alone mention the mysterious third passenger. She continued to tap her fingers on her book nervously as I kept driving on, regularly checking the back seat.

We entered the city but she didn't show any sign of wanting to leave the car or even seem to have a place to go. After thinking about it carefully, I broke the silence and said: "If you need somewhere to stay, you could come to my parents' place."

She looked at me as if expecting me to go on.

"I'm sure they won't mind the company, " I continued. She looked down at her book, then at the back seat and then back at me.

"Otherwise, let me know where you want me to drop you of

f." She looked down again and was quiet for about ten seconds. A chilling breeze rushed into the car. Maybe I should have just stayed home today. This must have been what they called 'The Butterfly effect', where a butterfly shakes its wings and a ghost appears in the back of your car.

"I'll go with you, " she finally said.

7 - Ria

Vancouver is beautiful any time of the year. All things considered, it's an outstanding place to live. Here, I've got pretty much anything I could ask for: mountains, beaches, city life, and most importantly, an international airport.

My grandpa migrated here from Guandong province in China, escaping the famine and political turmoil of the early 1960's. His wife had left him when my mom was only three years old and he took care of her ever since.

When I was in primary school he passed away, so I don't remember much about him, but mom mentioned he was the quiet type, which is weird for a Chinese. She also revealed he used to be a government official during the Mao administration, and that he didn't agree with the things the government was doing at the time so he gathered his wealth and fled to Canada, where he was granted political asylum and started his own immigration consulting firm. Using his influence and contacts both in China and Canada to provide assistance and documents to those wealthy enough to afford a way out from the difficult political period the country was going through at the time.

It worked tremendously well for him because in China people tend to have large extended families, so every customer that was satisfied with my grandpa's service would then bring his distant cousins, in-laws, close friends and recommend him to everyone they knew.

Then something happened, some poor investments I think and he lost most of that small fortune he'd amassed "smuggling" rich Chinese people. All he was left with were two downtown properties, one of which is the one I'm living in now and the other one being the one I'm charging rent for and using that money to support myself while out of work.

Vancouver, having the most overpriced housing costs in North America means that, in a financial way at least, I'm set up for life thanks to him.

My memories of my grandpa are rather vague. I remember this unusually solemn and quiet old man whom we would visit once in a while. There would be a rising tension in the air every time we saw him. I would sense Mom's nervousness though I didn't see why she needed to be so worried about anything, so I picked up on her emotions and started to feel nervous myself. We were still super polite, bringing a gift for him all the time. I used to show him the things I had done at school. He would tell me how much I had grown up and we would all pretend to be a jolly family for around two hours a month. After we left his place I could tell how relieved Mom was. And I was relieved because she was relieved.

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