The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 02 (First Draft Finished)


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Excerpt From The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 01

Brad Stanton sits in his pickup truck amidst the wreckage of Electrical Transformer 132. On his dash phone, he's in a conversation with Dave, a fellow electrical engineer back at the Pickering Power Plant. Though Dave and Stanton are good friends, Dave has no idea that Stanton leads an alternate secret life. It is during the course of an investigation that Stanton asks Dave about the explosive power of an overloaded heavy duty super-capacitor.

"How much force are we talking? How many kilopascals?" asked Stanton.

"For a big one? We're looking at metric tonnes per square centimeter at the epicenter. Enough to give you a real bad day if you're close enough," Dave responded with a clinical precision.

"Thanks Dave. I should be back at the shop in about an hour. Give Elena my best wishes on her date tonight, will ya?" asked Stanton.

"My money's on an overnight at his place, but I'll give her your regards anyhow. Chow for now!" Dave said, hanging up.

"So that verifies how they crafted their device. They remotely short circuited the payload, causing the capacitor to blow, which triggered the RDX and then the Nitrogen Dioxide compound..." Stanton noted aloud.

Stanton then got out of the truck again, and headed over to the twisted hunk of metal that was once the outer housing of the transformer unit. He swabbed a sample of the burnt dust from the blast caked against it, and put it into a sealed plastic bag. He then sealed that in an unmarked envelope, which he pocketed for the CSOR Nuclear, Biological and Chemical team.

Though he played ignorant, he was well aware that he'd been watched carefully the whole time. Not by the firefighter crew, but by someone else. By someone with skill and then some. By a professional not unlike himself.


Meanwhile, at the crime scene of the MindSpice bombing, Inspector Tricia Camden and Inspector William Halmand work with Detective Farnham examining the destruction for any clues. Detective Farnham leads Tricia and Halmand to a particular site that has been heavily covered with markers by the technical forensic team.

"So MAZ is still alive?" asked Tricia.

"MAZ right now, has better chances of surviving the next week than her daddy: Gabriel Asnon who is in stable but critical condition at this time," Farnham told them.

"Detective, I assume there's a good reason that you're telling us this?" asked Halmand as he examined the technology amongst the debris.

"That I am. I though you might like to hear something that one of my technical team found. A tech head I recently enlisted onto my team. Let me show you," Farnham led them over to the wreckage of what appeared to be a speaker and PA system. 

On the ground beside it was a car battery someone had jury rigged to the PA system. Farnham clipped one of the leads with an alligator clip to a metal pin sticking out from the wreckage. When he closed the connection, the speakers came to life:

Mentis And The Millions Of Minds... Macill... Mentis And The Millions Of Minds... Macill

The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 02

Unravelling MAZ's Mystery

"Let me get that on recording..." Halmand fished out his pocket recorder, holding the high sensitivity microphone near the speaker, letting it play through several times before he stopped.

"Now that you've heard that, perhaps you can tell me what a Mentis And The Millions Of Minds might be? Don't hold out on me, after all we've been through together," Farnham stood up after disconnecting the alligator clip from the metal lead jutting up from the wreckage.

"Mentis? That's latin I think," Halmand thought about it momentarily.

"Certainly is. Its the root of the word mentor, and generally means mindful teacher or leader of the mind," Tricia responded.

"Impressive. You're up on your latin, aren't you? Personally I thought it was a waste of time, especially when we've got the internet now," Farnham responded, jotting down a few notes.

Tricia ignored Farnham's comment, instead focusing on the rest of the AI's repeated phrase.

By that time, Halmand had already produced his field phone and had just finished a search on CPIC.

"Look at this. Looks like this Macill fellow has quite a lengthy record. Male, single. First name: Habus.  Last name: Macill. Born February 3, 1981, an only child. Lost both his parents in a train wreck when he was three. Raised in several foster homes until he was twelve, at which point he was remanded to a care facility for wayward youths where he got into his first real trouble. Apparently he organized a coupe against the management of the facility and held them hostage for over two weeks as the self proclaimed leader of youths. By the time the dust had settled, there were no deaths fortunately, but Habus accrued a lengthy list of charges from that one incident. Of course, still being a minor, he got a slap on the wrist and finished his stint in the youth care facility four years later. That's when things get real interesting," Halmand said, scrolling down the list of charges for which he'd been found guilty.

"That's better than what I've got. Mentis And The Millions Of Minds is a poem written by Allison Trendel, a resident of the Leeds Care Facility in north Toronto," Tricia added, hard filtering the criteria from her internet search.

"Just a hunch, but what are the chances that those two names are connected? Allison and this Habus fellow?" posed Farnham thoughtfully.

"What was that name?" Halmand asked.

"Allison Trendel, with an E, like Grendel," Tricia responded to Halmand's question.

"Oh, right. Let's hope the similarity ends there," Halmand typed the name into the CPIC search interface.

"Bullseye! Looks like Allison was at one time a successful legal assistant, when she got mixed up with Habus. Apparently years after his stint at the youth care facility, he started his own... ideology for lack of a better word," Halmand began.

"Don't keep us baited with your breath, Halmand. So this Allison joined I'm assuming?" Tricia confirmed with Halmand.

"That she did, along with over a hundred and fifty other people initially. Turns out their proselytizing became known for its invasive and aggressive nature, eventually catching the attention of Provincial and Federal investigators. They opened an official investigation when the daughter of a prominent politician joined the group. Apparently she began sharing sensitive family information with Habus and his followers and they started using it to puppeteer due process through said politician, even trying to expand their grip onto other members of office. They improved their tactics, luring in more followers, eventually getting up to a thousand before they were busted in a series of raids throughout Ontario. It says here that Allison was deemed unfit to return to the public sector and was permanently housed in the Leeds Care facility for the Mentally Ill, while Habus served five years in Penetanguishene, " Halmand orated for his peers.

"Thanks for the help, Farnham. I'll put your candy in my report," Tricia smiled as they she began the trip back to their car.

"That means you're leaving I take it? Where to?" Farnham asked.

"With any luck, we can get out to the Leeds facility to see Allison before they stop accepting visitors today and get a good head start on this," Tricia said as she continued.

"Thanks for the tip, Farnham," Halmand said, quickly catching up with Tricia.

"You two kids go on ahead without me. I'll just stay here and clean up the mess," Farnham said to them as they left.

"You do that, Farnham. We'll talk again tomorrow and let you know what we've found so far," Tricia said as she disappeared amidst the crowd of first responders that were now preparing to leave the site.

The Pursuer And The Pursued

Stanton started his pickup truck and pulled out onto Kennedy Road, driving north where he'd need to take the westbound 401 back to Pickering and the power plant. He drove casually, only looking in his mirror when he needed to and for his own specific reasons.

On the top of his mind was the fact that he'd need to drop off the package for the special operations group, so their team could perform a chemical analysis of the device. Once he'd done that, he'd need to start going through the Hydro company's roster to see if any field technicians had been out to service transformer 132 at any point recently. The locks and keys they used for the boxes were the privilege of technicians and operators, though it wouldn't be too difficult to forge one Stanton assumed. They were seriously tough locks, but they were nothing that a professional couldn't handle and from the signs so far, a professional was definitely involved.

Getting your hands on Nitrogen Dioxide was a fairly trivial matter, though in the kind of quantity one would need to make a sizeable device, it would certainly raise some flags. Whomever had procured the material components for the bomb had likely done so with several different identities in order to avoid the alarms that were now in place for tracking such transactions after the turn of the millennium. As far as RDX went, one would certainly need a license to buy such an explosive, and though it was available for industrial purposes such as civil engineering and demolitions, RDX was a carefully tracked explosive due to its ease of use and its yield. RDX could even be found in the warheads of many military class munitions.

Stanton knew that it was likely going to be a long night and upon seeing a coffee shop, he pulled into the parking lot and found a spot right outside of the front door. He got out of his truck, and made his way into the shop as the vehicle that had been following him since he'd left the site of the blast pulled into the neighbouring strip mall and parked in front of a convenience store. The driver then got out of the vehicle and went into the convenience store at roughly the same time that Stanton had entered the coffee shop.

"I'll take a large double cream, double sugar M'aam," Stanton ordered his coffee.

A moment later, the lady brought it to him and he paid for it. He then turned and walked casually out of the side door, with his coffee in hand.

This seemed to have caught the attention of the man in the convenience store, who immediately left and began jogging over to the coffee shop. As he got closer to the shop, he slowed and walked casually, looking into the store for any signs of Stanton. He then glanced at Stanton's vehicle quickly, certain that Stanton hadn't somehow circled back.

The man continued along the side of the store and around the corner, passing the door through which Stanton had left the coffee shop. As he approached the back corner that would lead to the back of the store, he heard what sounded like a staticky handset radio. The man pulled a heavily modified nine millimeter fire arm from his jacket under his left arm and leveled it as he rounded the corner.

There, on a small cylindrical garbage bin, sat Stanton's phone. It was set to speaker phone and a recording of some kind was playing back over the speakers. The man quickly turned but by that time it was already too late. Stanton had the man's firearm firmly under his control, and quickly with one motion, removed it from his grip. With his other hand, he forced the man against the wall, pinning him by his throat, with the gun against his forehead. The man's face was turned away from Stanton.

"Both hands up high where I can see them! Start talking now. If I don't like what you have to say, then this here gun of yours is going to do some talking of its own," Stanton spoke in a firm voice.

The man quickly raised his hands, unknowingly telling Stanton that the gun was loaded.

"You're getting slow old man," the man said to him in a somewhat familiar voice.

Stanton forced the man to look at him, and was caught off guard by the face he saw.

"Foller?!" Stanton responded, shocked to see his face.

Foller immediately took advantage of the distraction and forced the gun away from his head, grasping it with his other hand after he'd delivered a solid punch to Stanton's lower left jaw, purposely impacting the lymph node at that point.

Stanton's eyes began to water as the pain shot through his head from the punch. Taking only a tenth of a second to overcome the effects, he quickly brought his knee up into Foller's groin. Foller winced in pain, but hung onto the gun, forcing Stanton backwards over the garbage bin as Stanton's speakerphone continued its staticky babble.

Stanton was now bent over backwards against the garbage bin, as Foller worked the gun up trying to get the business end pointed at Stanton's head. Stanton with his right leg, kicked the garbage bin out from under the both of them, rolling over its side and onto the cement surface, throwing Foller down full force onto the pavement beside him. Foller's shoulder hit the pavement and he cried out in pain, but still held onto the gun.

Stanton got to his feet, holding Foller's body in place as he twisted the gun, and Foller's arm into a locked position. Any further and Foller's arm would dislocate.

"Uncle!" Foller cried, tapping the ground a few times as he released his grip on the gun.

"Stay on the ground face down. Why the hell were you following me?" Stanton backed away enough so that he was beyond Foller's reach.

"Things are different now, Stanton. Its a whole new game out here and to tell you the truth, there's no room in it for you old timers..." Foller spoke, his face to the pavement.

"You're not exactly a spring chicken yourself, Foller," Stanton responded, having caught his breath.

"The ten years age difference between you and I in this business, is the difference between making or breaking an investigation. Its the difference between life and death old man and you know it!" Foller lay unmoving as he spoke.

"Really? I guess so, judging by your current position. Experience pays its dividends well don't you think?" Stanton responded firmly.

"There's a lot more riding on this than the life of an AI, or even the life of the parent of that AI, Stanton," Foller responded.

"And who would that parent be?" asked Stanton, unsure about that to which Foller was referring.

"Where've you been old man? Still locked up in that Nuclear Power Plant? Too much time around all that U-235 and the radiation's messing with your head..." Foller replied sharply.

"...It's U-238 at the reactor. U-235 is weapons grade uranium and we'd better not have an issue involving that. What's the matter Foller, gave up on being a poor engineer so you could be an even worse soldier?" Stanton challenged Foller.

"Asnon. Gabe Asnon. He's the parent of the AI in question," Foller responded.

"That's progress. Now what AI are you talking about?" Stanton demanded.

"MAZ. The AI that got fried in that bomb blast. Don't you read the news anymore?" asked Foller sarcastically.

Stanton moved closer and began searching him, tossing everything he found from Foller's pockets in a pile a few feet away as he kept the gun focused on him.

"I'm still with special operations. No need to go through my stuff. We're on the same team old man," Foller responded while Stanton cleared everything from his pockets.

Stanton checked Foller's identification and when he found his driver's license, he read the serial number carefully. Stanton did some quick math in his head with the last two pairs of five digits and then, with the resulting modulo, counted that many letters up from the first letter in Foller's license number and compared the result to the next number in line.

"Alright. You check out. Get on your feet and pick up your stuff slowly," Stanton ordered Foller.

"So what'd you find?" asked Foller.

"An inexperienced special operations officer who has it out for old men," Stanton replied sarcastically, handing Foller his gun.

"Cut it out. I meant at the transformer. What did you find?" continued Foller.

"I'm sorry, who put you on this case?" asked Stanton as he picked up his phone.

"That's classified and on a need to know basis only," Foller replied.

"Well if you need to know, then you're going to tell me. Otherwise, I found a lot stuff blowed up reeeal good. That's all you'll get," Stanton walked around to the driver's seat.

"Let's just say I received my orders from the same office. Different tasking, same office," Foller told him what he could, getting in the passenger seat.

"Alright. Fair enough. The device was built by a pro. Someone with engineering knowledge who used one of the capacitors as the detonator. Military class explosive coupled with Nitrogen Dioxide. Most likely because of security hurdles and cost, meaning they may have limited finances," Stanton told Foller.

"Or maybe that's what they wanted you to believe, old man. My car's by the convenience store over there," Foller replied, pointing to where his vehicle was parked.

"I know. If you'd have turned out to be playing for the wrong team, that would have been my second goal after taking you down," Stanton admitted to him.

"Let's just start playing for the same team?" Foller responded.

"I always have. So what makes you think that the way that they crafted that bomb was just a decoy to mislead investigators?" asked Stanton.

"You said it yourself. The bomber appears to have been a professional. They must have had access to RDX one way or another and that takes both resourcefulness and finances to finagle," Foller continued.

"But if it was someone with sizeable finances and no experience, and they had access to RDX in the first place, the whole device would have been RDX rather than Nitrogen Dioxide," Stanton retorted.

"Regardless, I'm going to be keeping an eye on you. Orders are orders. So maybe we can work together on this?" Foller said as he opened the door to Stanton's pickup truck.

"From a distance. Now get out of my truck," Stanton ordered Foller.

"I'll be watching," Foller responded, putting his right finger to his eye.

"So will I," Stanton responded before Foller managed to get the door closed.

Stanton left the strip mall parking lot on his way back to the power plant as Foller watched.

When Stanton was gone, Foller got into his car and pulled out his field phone and dialed a number.

"What does he know?" without a greeting, the voice on the other end of the line asked him.

"He's still way back there in the dark. I don't think he has any idea," Foller answered the man on the other end of the line.

"Keep it that way," the voice on the other end of the line responded and then hung up.

Allison Trendel

Inspectors Tricia Camden and William Halmand sat at a table in one of the private visitation rooms of the Leeds Care Facility, just north of Steeles Avenue off Bayview.

"Tic Tac? It'll help with the end of the day dry mouth," Halmand held out a small container of mints for Tricia.

"Thanks," Tricia accepted the container, shaking it over her other hand and retrieving two mints from inside, which she then popped into her mouth.

At that moment, the door opened and one of the orderlies escorted a woman in her early forties into the visitation room. Both Tricia and Halmand stood up to greet the woman.

"Inspectors? This is Allison. Allison, this is..." the orderly began.

"I'm Inspector Tricia Camden Allison," Tricia introduced herself.

"I'm Inspector William Halmand," Halmand smiled curtly once.

"Is it noisy out there?" asked Allison, her face looking a bit fearful.

"It can be at times," Tricia answered diplomatically as they all sat down.

"I'll be back in fifteen minutes," the orderly let herself out and closed the door behind her.

"How are you feeling today Allison?" asked Tricia.

"Something happened. Didn't it?" asked Allison astutely.

"Things happen everyday Allison, but sometimes bad things happen and we have to figure out how, why and who," Tricia responded to Allison's question.

"You didn't say what," Allison observed.

"You were friends with Habus Macill, weren't you?" asked Halmand, diving right in as Tricia barely visibly smirked at him.

"Mentis? I still hear the voices. Especially when its noisy," Allison replied, her face void of expression upon the mention of the name.

Halmand began to take notes of that fact as Tricia continued.

"Did you hear voices today, Allison?" asked Tricia.

"Lots of them. Especially in the late afternoon, even though it was quiet in here. Even though I had lots of my medicine," Allison told Tricia.

"When did you start hearing the voices, Allison?" asked Tricia.

"When I first met Habus. He has a noisy mind. Noisy people always around him. With noisy minds..." Allison described for Tricia.

"Did you hear his noise immediately when you met him, or did it take some time?" asked Tricia calmingly.

"It took time. I was with his first Cloister back in 2000. When he was only a hundred people. I couldn't hear his noise at first, but then after about six months, I started to hear them all the time," Allison explained to Tricia, seemingly excited by the memory.

"So it took six months from not hearing... him or them at all, to hear him the first time?" Tricia confirmed as Halmand continued writing.

"We used to stay in the Cloister on weekends and all night, there would be voices speaking. People talking in their sleep. A constant babble of what sounded like nonsense to me. I spent three nights a week and two weekends a month at the Cloister for six months. And then, one night when I was sleeping at home, I began to hear them again. As if they were right there beside me. The only thing is that I wasn't at the Cloister. I was in my town home near York Mills Road and Yonge Street. Yet, I could hear them all talking in their sleep as if they were right beside me," Allison recalled the that moment.

"Did they say specific things to you?" asked Tricia.

"Not really. It sounded like a crowd at first, and then it got to the point where I could focus in on specific voices, or they were focusing in on me..." Allison started to tremble.

"What's the matter Allison? Did they do something to you? Did they hurt you?" asked Tricia.

"No. Not my body, they didn't hurt. They hurt my mind. Gave me headaches... made me feel like I wanted to die..." Allison recalled, curling up as she spoke.

"What makes you think they did that to you Allison?" asked Tricia compassionately.

"I was working at the law firm at that time. I was in charge of all the case files for the entire law firm. I had access to everything. One day, the voices started telling me that I needed to take one of the case file folders, and put it all in the paper shredder... all of it..." Allison recalled that day.

"What happened then?" asked Tricia as Halmand wrote quickly trying to keep up.

"I told the voices that it was wrong to do that... I refused... and then... I started getting migraines... unbearably painful. And depression... like my feelings at one moment were calm and happy and then the next moment I felt like I wanted to die. Like my head was going to explode..." Allison told them, hanging onto her head as she remembered.

"What makes you think that it wasn't your own health issues Allison?" asked Tricia calmly.

"Don't you believe me?" Allison asked Tricia.

"I want to Allison, but I need to ask you these questions. They're difficult questions, but talking about them might help you, and save a lot of other people," Tricia assured Allison.

"A week after I'd refused to shred the files for Calder case, I felt much, much better... I could think clearly. I wasn't constantly depressed, but then the voices ordered me shred them again... and I refused again... and this time it was a hundred times worse..." Allison began to sob.

"Its alright Allison. Nobody's going to hurt you here," Tricia assured Allison.

"Night after night I was hunched over the toilet, thinking I was going to vomit... but I never did. My head was pounding and I felt like I should slash my wrists..." Allison recalled her experiences.

"Did you try going to see a Doctor?" asked Tricia.

"Yes. I did. He prescribed me painkillers. Codeine I think... I took them but it didn't help completely. I felt numb and depressed all the time... my headache still pounding but not as painful..." Allison recalled.

"And then what happened?" asked Tricia.

"Then, about a week later, it all stopped again. It was quiet for a while and I really got a lot of work done at that time, which was good because one of the partners in the law firm had pulled me aside and told me that I needed to pick up my pace or I could lose my job. Of course, I did my best but when I was sick, but I just couldn't concentrate on anything. When I eventually felt better, the voices told me once again that I needed to shred the files... I remembered the pain of what I'd experienced when I didn't do what they'd said, and so I grabbed the entire case folder, and waited until after both the partners, the receptionist and file clerks had left that afternoon for golf, and I took all the files of the Calder case and shredded them. Then I took the shredded documents in a black garbage bag and dumped them in the bin behind the office tower... That night, I felt like I was in heaven. Like I was the of the best health that I could be. Like I was twenty again... That same feeling continued for a week..." Allison explained to Tricia.

"Until...?" Tricia asked without interrupting.

"Until it was found out that the Calder files were missing. The partners held a firm wide meeting, with all of the employees and we were each individually grilled about it. The Police were called in, and they interrogated us, but at the end of the day, they didn't have anything to go on. So fortunately, I kept my job. The voices continued but from that time, they didn't ask me to do anything again, though they got stronger and stronger. Then, about a year later, one of the partners decided that he was going to run for office. That's when the voices began telling me that I needed to do them favours again..." Allison looked up at Tricia.

"What did they ask you to do?" asked Tricia, leaning back a little so as not to intrude in Allison's space.

"They wanted me to share the contents of his daily itinerary with the followers of Mentis. I refused the first time they asked, and I went through a week of utter hell once again... The second time they asked, I did as they said. I'd copy the itinerary to a text file every day, and sent it to one of Mentis' followers by email. That's when I started noticing that when I was reading the itinerary, the voices would speak what I was reading, aloud, as if they were there to see it..." Allison told Tricia.

"You mean they were spying on your computer?" confirmed Tricia.

"No. Because this initially started happening when I was reading the itinerary from a print out I'd made for the partner's secretary," Allison admitted.

"So you're saying that they were seeing exactly what you were seeing? At the same time?" Tricia confirmed what she was hearing.

"No. I'm saying that they were looking at the itinerary through my own eyes..." Allison told them, almost pleading with them to believe her.

That's when the voices in her head began once again.

"You've been talking again Allison... haven't you?" the voices asked her.

"Noooo... go away!" Allison suddenly grabbed her head, shaking it violently.

She felt a tingling feelings in her abdomen, and near her privates, followed by the gushing sensation of hormones being thrust into her system from her glands. A moment later, she was in the height of a serious panic attack.

"Make them stop! Make them stop!" she screamed as the migraine headache arrived.

The depression set in as well, and she suddenly felt that all was lost. That everything in her life was  without hope. She felt that she was merely a walking meat stick of despair.

By that point the orderly arrived and began urging Allison onto her feet.

"Nooo! Nooo! Get them away from meee!" she screamed as the orderly pulled her out of the visitation room.

A Nurse then addressed Tricia and Halmand.

"I'm sorry but we're going to have to cut this visit short. Allison has been having delusions coupled with anxiety attacks and she's going to need at least a week or two to recover," the Nurse told them.

"That's alright. I think we were done here anyway. Is Allison going to be alright?" asked Tricia.

"Eventually she will, after she rests for a bit," the Nurse replied.

"Does Allison have any family in the city?" asked Halmand.

"Let me check her file for you. Just come with me to the reception desk and we'll have a look," the Nurse gestured as they could hear Allison's screams down the hall.

Tricia and Halmand followed the Nurse to the desk, where she checked the computer for any information of that kind.

"She's got a brother living in Bloor West Village. Would you like his contact information?" asked the Nurse.

"If you could, please?" Tricia asked.

"Here you go. I'm sorry, but Allison really has some bad days and perhaps something you said to her might have triggered her?" the Nurse told them, indirectly blaming them for Allison's reaction.

"We're sorry. We were just following up some loose ends to a case from 2000. I guess we don't really have much. We'll check with her brother. Thank you," Tricia addressed the Nurse as she turned and left.

"Have a nice evening. I'm sure it will  be better than the one Allison is having," Halmand added as he left.

They waited until they were out the door and in the parking lot before they spoke.

"So you got the same feeling about that Nurse, right?" asked Tricia.

"I sure did. She was hiding something," Halmand observed.

"Not only that, but she said it would take a week for Allison to get better. Now either Allison still has regular episodes with these voices, who then punish her for a week at a time, leading the care facility to believe that her episodes generally last a week. Or, the Nurse knows that the standard punishment time used by Mentis is a week long," Tricia pointed out.

"I didn't catch that, but I certainly saw the way she regarded Allison's case. She had an air of distaste for the woman," Halmand added.

"This is like the Ron Forseth case all over again, but this time we have a modus operandi," Tricia opened the door to their car.

"Want to grab a quick dinner and discuss this more? I'm not flirting. I figure if we keep this fresh on our minds we'll have something more by tomorrow," asked Halmand.

"I suppose a quick bite wouldn't hurt, but not too late. It's going to be an early day tomorrow," Tricia reminded him.

"Oh yeah. Those orientation meetings. I almost forgot," Halmand said as he got in the car.

The two of them drove off to find a restaurant at which they could finish their long day with a healthy meal.

Inside the care facility, the same Nurse who'd given them the contact information of Allison's brother, left an extra-long length of bedding and sheets in Allison's locked room. Enough to tie to the sprinkler pipes on the ceiling for a suspension hanging.

Allison lay in bed all night looking at them. The sheets and the pipes.

To be continued in The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 03

Credits and attribution:

Artwork: Amy WongWendy PuseyGhastly, Brian Joseph Johns, Daz3DUnreal Engine...