Carter brings her into his office and makes her sit on a chair. He starts asking her all the same questions Dwayne and Lee asked her, trying in vain to trigger some memories.
After almost a half hour of questioning, he gives up and leans back in his chair. He sighs and looks at her thoughtfully, trying to analyse and evaluate the situation. In his entire career, he has never dealt with a case like hers. Missing children, kidnapping or fugitive kids running away from abusive parents or for the fun of it were easily closed. A few minutes’ research on the computer and he would find their parents’ names and information in no time. She has no record of any kind, or at least not under the name she claims. Her prints are not in the system and she has no memories to help find her parents, he thinks. He looks at her again, examining her carefully, as if some clue would jump into his eyes. The girl is Caucasian and roughly four feet tall. She has amazing clear blue eyes and short fiery red hair, he says to himself, writing it in his report at the same time, trying to trigger his own memories from the missing children list. He doesn’t remember seeing her face in any of the pictures, but it comes to his mind that it may be a good place to start looking. “Wait here and don’t move, Saïna. I’ll go and get some pictures,” he says, walking out of his office and leaving the door open.
Saïna stays seated and wrapped in the blanket as she looks around. Many police officers are roaming around the place, a few civilians are complaining about some belongings that were stolen from them, another one is complaining about how his brother destroyed his motorcycle, and at a nearby desk right across the hallway, a criminal is proclaiming his innocence while trying to pick the lock on his handcuffs. The officer in charge is distracted by his partner asking about some papers they forgot to fill out. Interested, she pays more attention to him and to the criminal.
The officer is a Caucasian male, six feet tall and very athletic. He has brown eyes and short black hair, and the label on his desk reads ‘Det. Portman’. What’s a Det.? she thinks, shifting to look at his soul. His soul is a very muscular, humanoid canine with long white fur. Almost everything about it is canine, except for its capacity to stand on two legs rather than four, and its hands, which are pawed and clawed, but with four fingers and a thumb.
The criminal is a thin Latino male, with long brown and curly hair. His soul is a Caucasian male and as she examines it, the soul shifts to face her, terrified.
For the first time, feeling the need to get closer to the soul so she can communicate with it, she instinctively steps into the sub-dimension of the souls, reaching through the darkness to stand right beside Portman’s desk. A little surprised by this newly discovered ability, she looks around and notices everything has stopped, as if time was paused. Every living host and the furniture from the real world now look blurry and transparent, while each soul is fully grown, with the host beings hovering around their heads. She quickly acclimates to this new environment, knowing that as long as she remains within the confines of this dimension, time in the real world progresses at a mere fraction of its usual pace. She could spend days wandering around and talking with souls while a mere second would go by in the real world.
She smiles and inhales as she feels the power she has within this dimension, then looks at the soul, realizing why they are all so scared of her. Why did the police arrest your host? she asks.
Because he ran from them, the soul answers truthfully.
She doesn’t question the veracity of its answer, knowing instinctively that a soul can never lie to her. Why did he run from them? she asks, curious to find out more.
Because he attacked a man and beat him to death before running away with his wallet, the soul answers.
So your host is not innocent, she judges.
No, he is not.
What will he do once he picks his handcuffs and frees himself?
He will try to take the officer’s weapon and start shooting at everyone for the fun of it.
Why would that be fun? And why would he do that?
He’s on drugs and currently out of his mind.
Why do you let him do this?
Are you implying that I can influence my host’s actions?
Indeed you should, she says with certainty.
Even if I wanted to influence him, I doubt he would listen. His life is a mess and he’s sinking deeper and deeper in his addiction. I can only await his death to move on to a better life, the soul explains.
Do you want me to free you?
You can free me?
Yes, somehow, I know I can, she says, certain of her answer, yet unable to explain how she actually knows it.
What would happen with him?
If you give yourself willingly to me, he’d just die here, on this chair, she answers.
I don’t want him to die prematurely. Can’t you just switch me with another soul?
I could, if it’s also willing to swap places, but who’d want to do that?
Never mind that, then. Thank you for offering. I still want to see how this will turn out… But how can you be talking with me, and what is this strange place? it asks.
This is some sort of sub-dimension of my own creation, she answers, finding the information suddenly sprouting from her locked memories. I have the power to do so, but I can’t remember how or why, she explains.
Well I wish you luck with that, it says.
Killing people is not a really nice and good thing to do, is it?
Indeed, it’s a very bad thing to do. I hope he won’t kill too many, it says, with a glimmer of compassion.
Should I try and stop him?
If you can, but I suggest not using any of your powers. The humans are not really open-minded about that kind of feat and if you display anything out of the ordinary, it will cause you a lot of trouble, it warns. You shouldn’t stare at us like that, for instance. It spooks us and quite frankly, it’s kind of terrifying to be examined by you, as if death was looking upon us, it explains.
Thanks for the advice. What’s your host’s name? she asks, considering it could be useful to know.
His birth name is Nera Pena, but everyone calls him Nick.
Thank you, she says, ending the conversation.
Returning to reality, as time suddenly starts flowing again, she jumps off her chair and stares at the criminal picking his handcuffs. A second later, he reaches for the officer’s pistol and pushes him to the ground before cocking the weapon.
Without thinking and almost faster than Nera can move, Saïna drops the blanket, grabs a glass ball from Carter’s desk and throws it at him with all her might. The ball explodes against the back of his head, causing him to shoot a bullet on the floor, roughly one inch from Portman’s face. Stunned, he collapses to the ground. Everyone in the office is startled and the officer gets back on his feet with great reflexes, jumping on top of the criminal to immobilise him and to take his pistol back. A few colleagues gather around to help while everyone else hides in panic. “It’s fine! We’re fine!” yells Portman to avoid a greater panic. He handcuffs the unconscious criminal and looks around, noticing Saïna as she wraps herself with the blanket and goes back to her seat.