IGOR STOOD ALONE on his balcony staring out at the scattering of boats floating in the nearby Adriatic Sea. He knew what lurked below the surface, obscured from everyone’s view by the picturesque scene, and he wondered for a minute, as he did so often, “why did they choose me?” The wind from the sea created a steady cooling breeze that offered the only calm in his heavily clouded mind.
He waited, nervously scratching at his elbow with his arms folded across his stomach. Igor knew that his latest project would forever change the city of Split and would define his legacy on the global stage. But the risks were enormous. He just didn’t have any other choice.
It would happen any minute now. He had been warned, and just hoped that he could get through the public inquiries that were already starting to mount, and would likely soon get more intense.
The calm was broken by the loud bangs of the construction site a half mile away, and around the front side of his house which he couldn’t see from the balcony. But he didn’t want to see it anyway. People were surely gathered around in disbelief, wondering not only what was being constructed, but also how a site in the historic district of his small quiet waterfront city had become ground zero for such massive, and modern, new development.
No one wanted it, regardless of what it might be. The protests outside the building never seemed to end. Word of the development was starting to make waves back on the mainland, but he knew he had those officials on his team. Soon he could offer an explanation, one that would take the world by storm and put Split in the dialogue of almost every human being alive.
He waited. The construction noise quieted for a moment and he closed his eyes, took a few deep breaths and focused on the breeze whistling against his ears. Then it happened. His house shook briefly and a loud hum filled the air. It started as a light hum reminiscent of the cyclone warnings that occasionally graced the air, but then the noise progressed to get deeper in tone. It was louder and throatier than he expected. He could feel the intensity in his chest as he tightened up. A photo fell and shattered on the floor in the adjoining room. His heart rate picked up as he looked over the balcony to gauge the reaction of the people walking in the street below.
Everyone froze and gazed toward the sky, bewildered. The hum lasted only ten seconds but it felt like thirty. When it subsided the confused people below spoke to one another briefly, looked toward the sky again in an effort to ascertain exactly what was happening, and then they continued on their way, perhaps a little more cautiously than before. It appeared the people would look the other way this time. He wondered how they would react when this noise would become a part of their daily lives.
Igor walked back inside the house and cleaned up the glass from the ground. He knew he couldn’t make an appearance outside the house, or he would face a constant barrage of questions about what was going on, and what that noise was.
He sat down on the brown leather couch in his front room and took a drink of the whiskey he poured earlier. The ice had melted and left a water stain on the wooden side table. The drink was too watered down to fully enjoy but he needed it. The next one he poured tasted just right.
He relaxed in complete silence, with thoughts of the hum, the questions it will eventually raise, the construction of Hospital Buducnost, and the pressure being exerted by its new board of directors – all the moving pieces that had unwillingly become part of his life.