Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta incident. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta incident. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

Lemon slices

   She cut a slice of lemon and put it on the edge of the glass. One of the waitresses came in a second and grabbed it, taking the drink to its table. Working on a bar wasn’t the best paying job ever but no one ever get bored during a shift. Bronwyn had been working there for almost a year and she had already witnessed every single kind of thing you could see at a bar. From the beginning of a fistfight to a couple falling in love. She had seen first kisses and last dates. She had even been a shoulder to cry on for some people.

 It wasn’t like she had looking for that specific job or anything. The reality was that Bronwyn had not found a proper job in the two years after she had graduated college. She had a diploma that made her a professional engineer but she had never been able to work as one. Every single company she had sent her CV to, turned her down because she had no experience. But how could she gain any experience if no company would hire her? It was the eternal struggle and it got worse as time went on. She was desperate and there’s when her friend Alicia gave her the idea.

 Alicia had been dating a guy who owned a bar. The place was not very big but it had a very good location. As Bronwyn’s friend, Alicia offered her a job in her boyfriend’s club. She told her it would be nice for her to have at least one paying job in her information and that it would only be for a short period of time. Bronwyn wasn’t very convinced by that. She really wanted to find something that suited her better but Alicia reminded her of how much time she had spent looking for that. Besides, it would be fun for her to be a bartender.

 The first thing she had to do before taking the job was studying a little bit about the drinks that she would have to serve. Alicia gave her a copy of the menu of the bar and Bronwyn looked for the appropriate way to do those drinks. She practiced by watching videos online and failing once and again. She dropped several mixers to the ground before she could do the shaking moves the right way. The rest of the things she had to learn were quite easy and it was just about remembering the right ingredients and the amounts of alcohol she had to use.

 She practiced a lot because she wanted to be really good in her first job. If she was going to do it, Bronwyn had to feel she was doing the best thing she could do. The very first day she worked on the bar, she impressed everyone with her moves, despite being very nervous about something she hadn’t realized she had to do: talk to people. She had always being kind of shy but talking to half-drunks and people in almost darkness was much easier than doing it as if they were outside.

Her first day was an absolute success. Alicia came around late to watch her for a bit and then congratulated her on how much energy she put into doing the drinks. Bronwyn couldn’t really talk much because she was always focused on making the drinks properly and not missing one thing about them. She supposed that, in time, she would be able to do them without thinking that much. And it was true. After only a month in the bar she began to be more relaxed and even made friends with the other people in the bar and some of the clients.

 Besides, she found out people could give her tips and some of them were really good tippers. It was very clear for her where they came to, but it was pretty obvious that Alicia’s boyfriend had attracted the right crowd to the bar. They dressed with expensive clothes and paid for several drinks that large groups would consume. Some nights it was truly insane, seeing these rich youngsters drink and drink and their wallets never feeling a single thing from all of that craziness. For Alicia that was simply incredible, as were the tips she received.

  The place had two levels: the lower level was where the bar was located also had a lounge area and a small dancing floor. But the true dancing area and full club experience was upstairs. Lights there were even more scarce so all the waiters had to act as security officers also: they couldn’t allow any bottles or glasses upstairs, only in the tables and the bar in first floor. It was a difficult task for everyone and Bronwyn tried to help as much as she could by always being attentive of the stairs and the people going up to the second floor.

 There had been several times in which people tried to go there with their champagne or whisky bottles and one night in particular they found out why it was so dangerous for that to happen. A very drunk client grabbed his vodka bottle and hid it in his pants. The lights, or lack of them, helped him go unnoticed until he reached the stairs. Bronwyn thought he looked very strange, so she told a waiter to follow him and just see if he was hiding something under his clothes. The waiter did as she said but finding the guy wasn’t easy upstairs.

 It only became clear what he wanted to do once a girl screamed upstairs. Bronwyn almost dropped a bottle when she heard the noise. She ran upstairs automatically, as well as many other people. When they got to the second level, they realized the drunken man had broken the bottle and was threatening a woman with it. The waiter that had gone behind him was trying to convince him to lower the bottle but the he launched himself at the waiter, trying to cut him. Someone, a big guy, grabbed the drunkard before he could do any harm and put him on a lock.

 The bottle fell to the floor and the big guy took the man downstairs. The lights were put on and everyone was asked to leave the scene of the aggression, except for the workers, the drunkard and the girl he had threatened with the bottle. They all waited for the police, who arrived shortly and took the man away. The girl then explained to the officers that she was his ex-girlfriend. She could only guess that he had followed her into the club and had been waiting to do something all night. She was trembling a little bit as she told her story.

 After that, the big guy revealed his identity: it was Victor, Alicia’s boyfriend and owner of the club. He had been there just by chance and had been able to intervene. However, he wasn’t in a very good mood. He told everyone it was a shame that they hadn’t realized he was going up there with a bottle. He told them that they should be much more perceptive about who went up the dance floor. He told everyone he was very disappointed in them. After saying all that, he just left, leaving everyone to clean everything before leaving.

 Bronwyn thought she was out for sure. After all, she had left her post only to see what had happened upstairs. People could have stolen drinks or even money. She was certain that Victor would call her to tell her she was fired or not even that, maybe someone else would tell her. The next day of work, she was really nervous about that but no one ever came in to say anything. Furthermore, every single person that had been working in the club was still there and some of the also thought that they were going to be fired on the spot.

 Apparently, Victor was a much kinder guy that he looked like. That was a good thing for all of them because it wasn’t only Bronwyn that needed the job but every single one of them. From then on, they assigned a waiter to the stairs area to check on people and eventually Victor hired a security guy to do that job. The tips eventually got even better and Bronwyn realized that working as a bartender was not bad at all. She earned good money, she was good at it and she would make friends every night. The conversations she heard sometimes made her laugh, and some other times almost cry.

It was such an experience to be there with all those people, hearing their problems and the reasons they were happy about. It was funny to see the groups of friends dancing all together and it was also great to see love flourishing between two people, whoever they were, or seeing friendship be so active in men and women. Eventually, she stopped working there when a company finally decided she was good enough for them. But Bronwyn never forget the lemon slices she cut and the drinks she served at that club.

viernes, 28 de agosto de 2015

In their minds

   Joanna let her tray fall flat to the ground; make a very loud sound and spilling everything everywhere. Everyone around her stopped right where they were and looked at her, as if she had exploded herself. She had fallen to her knees and was grabbing her head, saying something very fast over and over and over. Some people tried to get close and help her but they would suddenly get a horrible headache. One teacher started bleeding through the nose and young girl fainted. But after a couple of minutes, Joanna fainted and she was taken to a hospital. Everyone in the school talked about it for days and concluded, very fast, that she was just insane. It wasn’t unheard of that students could become crazy and that’s what everyone thought had happened to Joanna.

 But in the hospital, the doctors did not find any anomalies on her brain or anywhere else. Her body was in perfect shape except for the fact that this was the third time she was admitted for a similar event. However, this time seemed to be special as, a full day after the incident, she was still sleeping and the doctors could not do anything to wake her up. Her mother, father and brother came in and tried to help the doctors but it was useless. Joanna would remain sleeping and also mumbling whatever word or words she had thought about just as the incident happened. Her mother stay in the hospital with her a whole week until finally Joanna woke up, as if nothing had happened. She was scared. She had no idea what had happened and the fact that a week had passed her by didn’t help to calm her down.

 The doctors checked her up one last time but couldn’t find anything abnormal. They asked Joanna’s mother to get her to a psychiatrist in order to help them with her problems at school. He had said it as if Joanna had done something awful to one of the students or something but the truth was that every time something happened, Joanna suffered the only real injuries. The nosebleeds and fainting were nothing compared to what she described as a massive headache, where she could hear many voices inside her head. But these voices were not random ones but the voices of her classmates, her teachers, her family… Something was very wrong with her and it was Joanna who first said so in therapy.

 She went to the psychiatrist two times per week and her parents decided to home school her, at least for the remainder of the school year. It was obvious she wasn’t ready to be with other kids and seeing them everyday after what they had seen her go through was clearly not the best idea in the world. And the truth was she didn’t miss anything about school. After the first incident, when she had started screaming in gym class, every single one of her so-called friends stopped talking to her. They only looked at Joanna as if she was a freak and made noises and mocked her. So she was happy to get rid of that.

 Her parents did not know this. Only the psychiatrist knew and she had told Joanna that it was very normal to see fear as a reaction when people didn’t know what was happening. In their sessions, they always talked about the voices in her head and that, once she had realized they were the voices of her classmates, she could choose to hear one of them over the others. And that made her even more nervous. When she let the tray go in the middle of the cafeteria, she had happened to break in the thoughts of a boy she had always found mysterious and handsome. And inside of him, he heard the most awful things, thoughts of suicide and of killing others. He felt guilty and alone. For her, it had been very painful to hear him in her head, so she let the tray go and screamed.

 The psychiatrist thought that Joanna was internalizing a lot of anxiety and had created this “power” in order to get attention. She thought Joanna had channeled a huge amount of feelings into one single event and now she thought she heard people’s thoughts. In the following sessions, the doctor tried to get Joanna to understand that what she heard was just herself. She had created this great power but now she had to let her go in order to get better. Joanna did as the therapist said and followed her every advice. She began doing yoga to relax the mind and started talking to her mother and father in order to have a better connection to them, as a real family should be.

 The truth was they had always been a little bit too private. Her parents were the kind of people that think that their children should be shielded against everything, even the fact that the parents are humans and have feelings and failures too. It was hard for them to tear down that wall they had built around their two kids but day by day, they made progress and Joanna started to get better. She was smiling again and soon she had finished her school chores and exams. She did it sooner that her classmates in the actual school, so her parents and the therapist agreed that the best thing would be for her to get some responsibility.

As summer was beginning, her mother found her a job as a lifeguard in a public pool not very far from home. Joanna was not thrilled about the idea but decided that she could use the money and maybe it could be the beginning of her working life. The first day, it all went perfectly. She helped many children to their parents and even saved one girl that had fallen by accident. Many people praised her and thanked her. She saw many people that she knew from school but decided not to say a word to them. That was the past for her and she did not want to go back to it. That evening, she told everything about her day to her mother and she was happy that her daughter was so much better now.

 But then, it happened again. Joanna was in her post, looking at the kid’s pool when a gorgeous young man came in. He was very handsome and his swimming gear was perfect on him. Joanna smiled to him and he smiled back and then she could hear his thoughts. Only that this time, it wasn’t painful. She didn’t collapse or scream. She had learned to relax so the voice just came in and she heard him think that she had beautiful her. She went a bit red on the cheeks and decided to try it out with other people. She saw a mother with her child and heard her think about the father of his son and how worried she was he may not come back from his next business trip. Apparently, she though he was cheating on her.

 It was the best thing that had ever happened to her because she realized that her gift was not something awful and hurtful but a great way to know what people were thinking in order to make their day happier. She brought balloons for kids that were sad and tried to cheer up many people by doing fun activities like exercising in the water. She was glad to be of help and for people to finally like her as she really was. At night, she would write it all in a journal and even thought of telling herm other but she stopped short because she realized it would be too much of a crazy story for her to believe it. If she said anything maybe her mom would think she needed more help or something more permanent to help her and Joanna did not want to go to any more doctors.

 She did, however, go to her therapist one more time. It was her last appointment and she wanted very thing to go great but she had the feeling she had to tell someone about her powers and how now they were just good and under control. But the therapist was an adult and adults did not take these things as good things, always afraid of everything. She went through the whole session without any reference to her powers until the phone rang and she couldn’t resist knowing what it was about. She realized the therapist was talking to the boy she had heard in school, the one with suicidal thoughts. Joanna had described him to her. He was called Evan. And he was her next appointment.

 Without any hesitation, she asked her therapist if Evan was going to be ok. At first, the woman seemed surprised but then she calmed down. Joanna asked her if she believed in her powers now. She read her man and asked her why she was thinking Joanna was unbalanced. The doctor smiled and told Joanna that Evan had serious problems, because he had already tried to kill himself only a few days ago. Joanna went the rest of the session trying to pretend everything was fine but the truth was she remembered how Evan had felt in school and needed to see him herself. After the session, he was there and, crazy as it sounds, she talked in his mind, asking him to join her in the hall.

 She had no idea if that could work but moments later she heard Evan apologize to his mother and the doctor, saying he really needed to pee. He stepped outside and joined Joanna. They looked at each other. Evan was a little bit scared and shaken and Joanna was too but also hopeful of what her powers could do. Then, she just hugged him tight and he responded the same way. They did not say a word, only Joanna left another message in his mind: "call me soon". She left and he went inside. And they both felt better about themselves because they had realized they were never alone.

jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015


   Although it was supposedly summer, the island was covered by ice and some snow too. Only a few patches of green were seen from the plane but once in the ground, those patches proved to be really small and sad. A car came to pick up the three people that had arrived: a security official, an expert in virus and pandemics and a botanist. It took them only fifteen minutes to reach the northern part of the island, where the vault was located. In the past, there was only one smaller vault where all the seeds that could be found in the world had been stored. Wanting to expand the collection, the owners of the vault decided to expand to living being, although they kept them in a special substance for the body not to rot or decay with time. It was a very delicate an expensive endeavor.

 But something had happened recently: one of the specimens brought in for the collection apparently contained an unknown virus than had already killed two of the scientists working in the vault. No one in the world knew about it because the place had been properly sealed and no one that was inside during the incident had been let out yet. They had enough food for a year inside the vault and it was imperative that they solved what was the virus in order to let them go. That’s why the owners of the vault had decided to call for help and received some from private parties involved in the creation of the collection. They couldn’t ask a government entity or everyone would know.

 Doctor Patel was a renowned botanist, dedicated to find a way to feed every single child in her native India. She had travelled all over the world in order to find every type of seed and nourishment that could help her achieve her goal. And, although she had not revealed it to anyone, she thought she was fairly close to achieving that dream. Ironically, one of the elements that she needed to complete her task was kept inside the vault and it was just days before she applies for a visit that she had been summoned due to her expertise with plants. She knew everything about them and it seemed that the people from the vault believed that a plant had something to do with the virus that they were experiencing.

 Then there was Fred Connor, also a world-renowned scientist but in a very different field. He had studied the use of several types of viruses as weapons and had also learned every tactic used by the governments that had used biological weapons against someone else. Viruses as weapons were no joking business to him and he was too well documented not to take one case seriously. This one of the vault one particularly intriguing, as the people working there had not been able to say if the virus that they were facing was from a botanical or an animal origin. The fact that it came from a rare animal had not been confirmed. He was eager to study this apparent new virus and neutralize it.

 Someone less excited about this trip was the taller black man that joined the two scientists. He was no science man or had anything to do with any studies or viruses or animal and certainly not plants. Mister Fox, as he liked to be called, was a private security agent that had been called to assess the situation in the vault. His role was not about helping anyone in any way. His orders were to shut down the place completely if he found out that whatever was inside could be dangerous for human life and, more specifically, for the investments of many wealthy businessmen that had put a lot of money to make the vault in order to get their taxes lowered. Fox had the authorization to use force, if necessary.

 When they arrived, one of the local scientists that did not work in the vault greeted them and told them to get inside. They were a bit nervous but he told them it was the only room that hadn’t been exposed to the virus as every shipment went in through a door in the other side of the building. The vault was built underground, so the building you could see in the exterior was only a very small part of everything that was the vault. Inside, they felt a bit less cold, maybe because the space was very small and their bodies helped each other to feel a little bit better. The local scientist, called Jorgen, told them that they could talk to the people in the vault via an intercom system that even video feed.

 It was Connor who sat down in front of the screen and asked Jorgen to dial the code of three numbers. There was no tone or ring, only silence. That was until, almost an entire minute later, someone answered and an image in the screen appeared. They seemed to be in almost darkness and the person that had answered could not really be understood. As the image got better, they all realized that he was wearing a mask in order to breath a bit better. But the mask had the disadvantage of masking his voice too. He then started communicating in sign language and Doctor Patel translated, as she had learned the language when she was in medical school. The person on the screen said that three more were dead and that only him and another one remained.

 The four-person team decided to suit up with special uniforms that were originally created to enter radioactive areas. They checked every single centimeter of fabric before entering the elevator, as any hole could bring the virus into their bodies and to the surface. No one knew if it could die in the cold but the fact that it had survived the trip to the vault wasn’t a very good reference. Only Connor and Jorgen had worn these kinds of suits before, the other took some time to put them on and he tried to help them. When they were ready, Patel communicated with the people below before they entered the elevator.

 The elevator was a very small space too.  On the instructions of Jorgen, everyone practiced how to properly breathe inside the suits. They had oxygen tanks that could last up to three hours but it wasn’t a very good idea to be there all that time. The plan was to go there and just check on the survivors and help them decontaminate. Once they had done that, they could put them in quarantine in a special room and then go up to call for help. After that, they could go down again in order to investigate everything they could about the virus. Fox was not so glad about the procedure, as he didn’t want to stay longer than necessary. His boss wanted news fast and helping people would only delay that.

 Once the elevator opened, Jorgen told them to follow him. It wasn’t long before they found a large room and, at least, three bodies pilled up there.  All three visitors stopped to look at the bodies and Connor said that he had never seen anything like that before. He had being in the presence of several victims of biological incidents and none of them looked like these people: these one had no visible eyes anymore, their skin had a purple hue and their bodies seemed boneless, like puppets. Doctor Patel realized they had dirt beneath their nails and that they were barefoot. Then, there was a crash and Fox pulled out a gun and pointed in the direction of the noise. One of the remaining scientists had dropped a tray.

 It was Jorgen who reacted first, very angry that Fox had brought in a gun inside one of the pockets that was supposed to hold medicine for the wounded. No one noticed when he put it in and he ordered him to keep that thing deep in that pocket if he didn’t want to have a real problem with the local government. But as they quarreled, they hadn’t noticed that the scientist that had dropped the tray was trembling. A scream by doctor Patel came just as the man’s skin started to bleed and his eyes seemed to melt inside his head. Then his body collapsed. Like the others, he was barefoot. The team ran towards the elevator and pressed up. As the machine moved slowly, they were panting.

 Once up, they were not able to speak or move. It was Connor that said that the other scientist was probably contaminated as well. He was about to remove his helmet when Fox stopped him and told him not to remove it, as they could have been contaminated. This statement by Fox surprised them all but no one said anything to him. They just headed for the chemical showers, which would clean up very single trace of the pathogen of their suits, if they had it at all. As they showered together, they discussed the horrible nature of the virus and how devastating it looked. None of them could believe something like that was real.

 They were not paying attention when something crawled in the showers. It had entered the elevator when they did and it decided to crawl up in a corner and just stay there and wait. After all, it had a way of waiting, a certain patience. It was the creature they had brought in but it didn’t look like it anymore. And it was getting near the cold, were it could finally feel much stronger.

miércoles, 11 de marzo de 2015

The Shadow

   Weapon of choice? Well, he never really needed one. Every single job he was asked to do, he did it with his hands. He had learned most martial arts techniques and many other ways to kill without the use of weaponry. It was dangerous when he encountered armed victims, but nothing that speed and wit couldn’t solve. People were always scared when he appeared, apparently out of nowhere. He was practically and urban legend, the silent assassin. His real name was Gideon.

 But that name had been long forgotten, as he was not that person anymore. Now, he only went by his nickname, Shadow. It suited him, as every person that hired him knew of his skills and ability to make anyone his victim. Not even the strongest or smartest had escaped. He collected bounty for his work and disappeared, never working for the same person more than once in a year. If he was to attract the attention of the authorities, he had to keep his outings to a minimal.

 The rest of the time, he just kept on training and lead a quite life away from all the turmoil of the city. Thanks to his grandparents, he owned a farm, which sold milk and other diary products to local stores. In the farm, he lived only with the animals and no one else. He had decided, long ago, that he didn’t want to endanger anyone else due to his secret life. Besides, he had never felt a connection with anyone so pulling the plug on romance and a relationship wasn’t all that difficult.

 One night, the Shadow was hired to kill a corrupt policeman hat had escaped justice for too long. The wife of a fellow policeman had hired him for the job, as her husband lay in a bed in the hospital, in a coma, due to the actions of his former partner. The Shadow located him fast, in a warehouse, where he was supposed to receive payment for his help from a criminal group. He wouldn’t be able to attack right there but he would follow the subject quietly and then kill him away from all the fuss.

 But that wasn’t possible. The moment the man arrived at the warehouse, he was ambushed by many criminals and finally killed by a shot on the head. The Shadow, seeing something was off, was about to leave silently but then he realized the place had been sealed and then a hoarse voice called at him. Knowing he had nowhere to go, the Shadow remained where he was and asked the voice who had hired them.

 Then, someone else appeared from behind two thugs. It was the woman that had hired him to kill the man that was now lying on the floor, his brain all over the place. The woman identified herself, and her husband, as the head of a criminal organization. She had hired the Shadow to capture him and not to kill anyone. He thought of his chances but knew he wouldn’t be able to defeat so many men, without at least one pulling out a gun and killing him. He asked then, what it was that she wanted.

 The woman, called Helena, told him that he had killed his son a year ago. He really didn’t need any more information than this because he knew who it had been. A young man who he had been hired to kill related to a rape. He proceeded to tell the woman about this but she refused to listen, telling him the man who had hired him was dead, as well as his lying daughter. The Shadow then asked her to kill him fast because he didn’t like to chat without reasons to do so. But the woman kept telling him that she wanted revenge, because her husband had been shot in pursuit of him, only a few weeks ago.

 Fed up with it, the Shadow decided to engage the men. He was too fast for most of them, although a couple of bullets burned his skin. He finally toppled down one of the men, took his gun and shot Helena straight to the head. With the same gun he downed another couple of guys and, as they regrouped, he broke a large window and escaped through there. He never knew how but he made it back to his home, sleeping in the barn instead of the house. If he had been followed, they look there first and he would notice.

 But no one came. He woke up to the licking of one of the cows and decided to cure himself in the bathroom. They were only scratches so it was rapidly done. He decided to lay low for a couple of weeks or more, in order not to attract attention and destroy both his lives. The radio news informed about the incident in the warehouse and attributed it to a dispute between criminal groups. They also informed of the detention of several policemen and others related to the criminal gang.

 The Shadow, who went by the name of Barney in this town, decided to turn of the radio and instead work on his animals. He spent all day grooming them, changing their spaces and giving them fresh new food. He even had time to fix one of the milking machines that had not been working correctly. He did that for the following months, never suiting up again in order to take on a mission. He had enough money now and didn’t need to kill anyone else to live decently until the day he died.

 Anyway, Barney had other dreams. He wanted his products to be sold all over the country and, honestly, he wanted a life of peace. The incident in the warehouse made him realize that he couldn’t afford putting his life at risk for reasons unknown anymore. It just wasn’t worth it. So he put it all behind and, for a good year, he was at peace with himself and the world. He hired new employees to help in his small factory and the business grew better and wider, buying more cows and buying new equipment. It was all going too good.

 One night, after closing the factory, Barney decided to go through the books and check his financial state. He did it every week because it distracted him. The people working for him were well paid and were all every honest and trustworthy but he just needed to be distracted by something. Too often, before going to bed, he recalled all of those times he had killed people. It was something awful to live with; even been convinced that most of them deserved their deaths. The others were just victims and he did know he was a murderer.

 Then, after he had finished doing the numbers and he recalled one more murder, he heard a knock downstairs, in the small store he had put up. Maybe it was the wind but the knock sound grew louder and it was obvious someone was there. He went downstairs but did not open, instead going through the back to surprise his nighttime guest. He grabbed a shovel to do so but was himself surprised when it was a young girl, who screamed like crazy when he almost slammed the shovel on her head.

 She started talking loud, like crazy, saying many words in a single second. Barney lowered the shovel and tried to calm her down, asking her why she was there. Asking her if there was some kind of problem. She shook her head negatively and said she had come to speak to him. Taking a look around, Barney invited her inside through the back door, to the kitchen. He poured some tea on two cups and told her to speak freely.

 The girl then told him her name was Florence. She had been looking for him for the last couple of years. As she put it, she was a clever girl and put it various clues together to get there, because she knew Barney was actually the Shadow. Barney spilled some of the tea on him as she said this. He automatically looked around, expecting people to come in from everywhere but that did not happened. Florence then confessed that her father had hired him two years ago, to kill her rapist.

 The Shadow was shocked but then he remembered the woman in the warehouse saying she had killed of that family. Florence explained that the men had tampered with the gas supply in her home, so to create an explosion. She was the only one in her family to notice the smell, coming down the house and then coming out to check the gas register. She was there when whole house exploded and she saw, before passing out, the men who had killed her family.

 The Shadow looked at her and understood instantly. He told her that he wasn’t accepting any requests or jobs in the meantime and that she should go and look for other family members to help her, if that was what she needed.

 But Florence was confused. She told Barney that she had no need for help as her family money was on an account that she emptied the day following the explosion. She had changed her name and, since the tragedy, she had been looking for him only to thank him and to ask a small favor, which had nothing to do with death or revenge.

 The Shadow didn’t even ask. He only stared at her and she started to cry in silence. Florence then said she had survived two attacks on her life, out of pure luck. And now, she wanted to learn how to defend herself. She wasn’t going to seek revenge but, if someone else did, she wanted to be prepared. And who better to prepare her that the legendary Shadow?

 He finished his tea and, without any word, he left for his room when he tried to sleep but couldn’t. In the morning, he realized Florence had not slept a minute, instead making breakfast. They didn’t say a word, not until she followed him to the backside of the barn, where he showed her a small space where he did a demonstration of his skills. There, the first relationship he had had in years finally began.