Miss Lyme and her friend Anala Gupta were sitting in Miss Lyme’s basement that had been converted to a metalwork studio. Anala was a goldsmith and a professional jeweler by trade, and while Miss Lyme like to work with silver clay and was a capable metalsmith, she used her talents to make artwork.
“Maggie,” Anala said after she soldered a gold bracelet, “You have a fine work space here.”
“Yours is far superior to mine and is a delightful place to make the finest of jewelry.”
“Because that is my livelihood. Yours is a mere indulgence…”
“I used to teach it, or have you forgotten already?”
“Will you ever go back to it?”
“Not likely. I was blacklisted as a journalist when I began teaching, which lasted a year or so, and then I began my consultancy business as it was more lucrative, and in tune with my talents and strengths. Metalworking is the way I express myself creatively, although when I began to dabble in it, it was the way I thought out my cases when I was infiltrating the Circle in the Sky.”
“It is a pleasing solitary undertaking.”
“I never quite ever did it alone. My former boyfriend Hunter Colby used to watch me before he partook in it himself, though he would make art pieces, while I made jewelry. It was the way we spent quiet time together.”
“It sounds lovely.”
“Is there any improvement with his condition?”
Miss Lyme shook her head sadly. “No.”
“I am rooting for him.”
“As am I, yet nothing I can think up has helped.”
“It is possible that you need to find a new perspective elsewhere to ponder it.”
“Yes, but perhaps I ought to consider a trip to Latvia to go watch the White Wagtail. I do enjoy watching their beauty and grace.”
“I’ll join you. I would love to meet one of your former boyfriends to compare him to your current one, and it would be more interesting if he is conscious.” Anala got up to stretch her legs, and went over to the shelf to pick up a book that caught her eye. “This is a fascinating book, yet I do not recall seeing this in your collection before.”
“I lost my original run of them when I was forced in bankruptcy, and just recently re-acquired the entire set. That is Eugenia Voight’s book on the sculptor Edmonia Lewis. Ms. Voight was a scholar who studied female artists and wrote biographies on them…”
Just as Anala was about to reply, there was a loud banging at the front door.
“Ah, the frantic sound of a client.”
Miss Lyme nodded as she pulled her black turtleneck sweater. “Yes, I will have to see what the tintinnabulation is about this time.”
She walked up the stairs and answered the door where a cowering man in a business suit looked wild-eyed at her.
“Welcome to the Path to Paradise,” she said, “Where the greatest of fears are chased away with the kindest form of bravery.”
“You’re the Red Queen?”
“I need you to read the Tarot cards for me.”
“An economic crisis plagues you? Come inside for a cup of tea and we’ll discuss your impossible quandary with sensibility.”
“My name is Barry Stone, and I work for a banking president in New York City. Hatfield and Littlejohn,” the client said as he began to compose himself, “To be precise, I am a speechwriter and personal liaison to the press for my boss.”
“I am listening,” replied Miss Lyme as Anala sat beside her and listened intently.
“My job was simple: try to negotiate positive coverage regardless of whether the reporter was just a reporter, or was affiliated with either La Nuit du bas or the Circle in the Sky.”
“I see, but how would be in the business of discerning them?”
The man smirked. “My graduate thesis was on those two groups.”
“That is very intriguing.”
“I went the Bonhomme School – a private university in Somerset, Pennsylvania, which, you may be aware, are something of renegades who have a tangential connection to Queen’s Heights.”
“They are a tiny school founded by one the sons of the celebrated Hughes Brothers,” replied Miss Lyme, “It was Ethan Hughes’ son Morgan who opened it, and it is still in the family. Ethan’s eldest brother Hammond was the famous science fiction novelist married to Dr. Verity Lake and he lived in the Heights.”
“Ethan was an architect who designed his son’s vision, while the youngest brother Dr. Garret Hughes helped found the university’s psychology department that was similar to the one he guided in Queen’s Heights.”
“And you went to school there?”
“For both my undergraduate and graduate degree, but as you know, they are unconventional, and part of our education is to be aware of such cabals who wish to subjugate us.”
“But you took your talents to a bank.”
“My boss was paranoid about them both. He knew he had to do business with them, but in such a way that he didn’t have to be blackmailed or subjugated himself. I was his secret strategist, showing him how to avoid becoming their servant. I was fairly good at the job, but as I never was in either cabal, I didn’t know things the way you know them. I have both of your books, and they filled in gaps, though I understand both your books are required reading there now.” He looked at the walls nervously, until he saw something familiar on the wall and pointed at it. “They had that prose on the wall in one of the buildings at the foyer. I always thought it was odd, and never thought about it until I seen it just now.”
“That was Alena Love’s second to last musing,” Miss Lyme said warmly, “It was inspired by Hammond Hughes.”
“I had no idea who said it, but that it has a connection to a Hughes makes sense.”
“Alena was particularly fond of him as he was as eccentric and sensitive as Verity. He wrote later they were discussing what the best way to start a conversation was and how to set oneself apart from the others honestly and without gimmicks, and that was her answer to him.”
“I guess I missed that nuance back then.”
“Yet you are here because there is something else you missed.”
“I am not sure who is behind things or why, but someone has figured out my real job within the bank, and is trying to isolate me.”
The man took out his smart phone, swiped it several times, and then gave it to Miss Lyme, “That is my brother Nevil. He is the black sheep of the family, and a musician, who is sporadically employed. That’s him getting into a drunken brawl, and somehow, someone thought to record it, post it on social media, and now a newspaper is running an article about it.”
Miss Lyme read the article. “Mentioning you, though there is no reason for the connection.”
The man took the phone back, and then swiped several more times before giving the phone back to the Red Queen. “Then, forty minutes later, here is a video of my ex-fiancée having a row with her husband who is accusing her of having an affair, which I seriously doubt, but again, this hidden video goes viral, and another major daily reports on this non-story, and again, out of the blue, mentioning me, and even speculating that the ‘other man’ may be me, even though I live in another state, and haven’t had anything to do with her since she and I parted on good terms because our careers took us in different directions.”
Miss Lyme watched the video linked in the article, read the article, and returned the phone to her client. “It is a coordinated attack, and an opening salvo. It is a game of Go where the point is to surround you until you have nowhere to move.”
“Both newspapers are fronts for La Nuit du bas.”
“Yes, both had once been properties of the La Croix family, until they were killed in a plane crash a few years ago, and then both were sold to separate La Nuit-backed media companies, which makes this attack more insidious than you realize. Usually, they will pick a single media company, and have them disseminate information as to insure a highly-choreographed campaign.”
“Will you take my case?”
“Yes, of course, Mr. Stone. I will need to know of anything that your employer had asked you to do recently, and I will begin to make my inquiries from there. I would strongly recommend you stay here until I can get a firmer handle on your case.”
The man nodded as he kept looking at the musing that until minutes ago, was a mere quaint enigma.
You can just start at Hello
There are so many people spinning around the world.
There are so many faces to meet on your journey in life.
But some of those faces move you speak and you want to open up your heart so they can hear the chords of your heart roar their name.
How do you start talking?
How do you show who you are to those faces?
Should you be clever, funny, witty, wise, profound, gushy, or detached?
It is not the words that guide you.
It is the motive in your heart that brings you to the places you want to go.
You don’t need a plan or a script.
You don’t have to fret about the first word to say.
Because all roads begin at a single word.
Hello is the word that takes you everywhere you want and need to go.
It is such a simple word to say.
But it is the key that unlocks new worlds as it touches hearts.
Just say hello and your heart will take care of the rest…
As Miss Lyme was in her office making phone calls, and scouring her databases for information, her client burst in looking ashen.
“What has happened?” she asked.
“I just got a phone call from a journalist wanting to know what I had to do with funding some group to fund their use of a biochemical weapon that creates some virus! What is happening?”
“Who is the reporter? What group or virus did he mention by name? What did you tell him? Just write down everything that’s transpired so that I have information I can verify and follow.”
Mr. Stone sat down quickly wrote down everything as he then gave the notebook to Miss Lyme as he looked desperately at her.
“Nonsense, we will clear the matter up in a day or so. Whoever is behind this attack on you is in a desperate bind as well, and wishes to terrorize you because if you were rational, you would be able to easily figure out the scheme, its motives, and who was behind it.”
“I can’t even think straight.”
“That is the entire point of this exercise. Do not answer your phone or check your email. If you behave impossibly, this tintinnabulation will explode out of the control in short order, which is the point of this charade. I am sensible, and your tormentor doesn’t want sensible reactions. There is a guest bedroom, and I advise you lie down and rest. When it is time for action, I will let you know.”
Mr. Stone looked sad as he nodded and left, just as Anala returned with a notepad and sat down on the sofa in the office.
“He is terrified.”
“I have found out much about the newspapers who have printed those peculiar canards.”
“I am listening.”
“They are both La Nuit properties that are in much debt, and there is a rumour that they both may be sold to another La Nuit company that specializes in squeezing assets by selling their real estate holdings. It seems as if there are factions within La Nuit that are at odds with one another.”
“That is a very telling common thread.”
“Is it enough?”
“It gives me a map to the motive, here is the problem,” Miss Lyme noted, “Two embarrassing videos crop up within the same hour at two different newspapers – neither of which are owned by the same company, and the one newspaper that should have debunked both stories was completely left out of the loop and caught unawares.”
“The Somerset Ortgeist. While it is not owned by the Hughes Dynasty, they are neither a La Nuit nor Circle-owned paper. They have always been neutral and many of their students graduated from Bonhomme, and I am willing to bet, someone there would have been a cohort with Mr. Stone.”
“You think this is significant?”
“It is crucial to understanding this peculiar dilemma. Whoever benefits the most from this scheme managed to distract the Ortgeist. When I called the editor, she had no clue that one of Bonhomme’s alumnus was being targeted by other newspapers. She has assigned a reporter to look into the story, but they are having an uncharacteristically busy news day.”
“Do you know who is behind this complex game?”
“Mr. Stone’s ex-fiancée’s current husband is a likely player. He set up an argument with her in order to film it, or he was set up by someone else who did.”
“He is with La Nuit?”
“Or he is an affiliate to someone who is, but I have nothing as of yet to confirm or refute that theory. They are all about theatre, and this game reeks of it.” Miss Lyme took her laptop and loaded the video of the argument as Anala got up and came over to watch. Miss Lyme studied the video intensely before stopping the video and pointed to a hanging coat that was barely visible in the video. She enlarged the frame, and then typed in the address of a web database as she began scouring images before nodding confidently.
“What is this image that has gotten your attention?”
“It is a tactical morale patch.”
“I have never heard of such a thing.”
“They are military emblems to boost morale, always an inside joke to keep the insiders feeling smugly superior to the outsiders who do not know their Shibboleths.”
“Is it a clue?”
“It is a red herring used to confuse me, as whoever is setting this up knows that my grandfather Douglas Oxley was a renowned professor studying militaries.”
“You are certain it is a false clue?”
“Yes, I am. It is peculiar for a banking scandal to come along with the threat of a deadly virus, and a smear campaign, and someone with a coat that has a morale badge. It is overkill.”
“Meaning it is all a choreographed siege.”
“So how do we find out?”
“My cousin Danny had done stories on morale patches when he was a journalist in London, and he may know something about this peculiar one. Even though it is a false clue, whoever planted it had to have insider information all the same, and we can begin to see how this man is connected to this game. We can pay him a visit to see if there is a nuance to this one we need to know.”
“Maggie!” Danny Leo said happily as he greeted his favourite cousin with a hearty embrace, “It is great to see you! You are looking as lovely as ever.”
“I always like to visit my absolute favourite cousin,” she replied as she touched the sleeve of her form-fitting white dress. Danny turned and smiled at Anala. “I see your partner in mischief has come for the wild ride.”
Anala shrugged her shoulders as she gave a cherubic smile. “Each time I come, I am inspired in my goldsmithing, and come up with a bold new line. When I rescued that group of hostages from a king’s secret dungeon, I created one of my most popular line of bangles with chain links that open in various ways. One can sit and wallow about all the injustices in the world, or one can do something about it in such a way to bring levity and bravery to others.”
“Wallow? That has never been a Carrington trait. We are a family of proud adventurers.”
“Most of mine family is of the same ilk, save for my cousin Najina who wallows that she has not yet found a way to become enviously wealthy without having to earn it as she believes her beauty should have already done its magic trick.”
Danny chuckled. “Oh yes, I have heard about your cousin. She has quite the reputation in New Delhi, and, like many others, I have sympathy for your uncle Ritesh Gupta, especially after she auditioned for a reality show…”
Anala shook her head grimly, “Many still talk about the unfortunate incident. Needless to say, she did not make it to the program.”
“But we did make it to Toronto to ask you about this morale badge,” Miss Lyme said sweetly as she took her tablet and swiped it to show her absolute favourite cousin a clear image of it. “Do you know anything about it?”
Danny nodded, “That’s a very dodgy one.”
“Because represents two groups: the official military one, and the secret group of neo-fascists called the Foresight Bundle.”
“I have heard of them,” said Miss Lyme, “But as they do not have affiliations to either the Circle or La Nuit, I do not know as much about them as some of the other fronts backed by those cabals.”
“The Bundle began about ten years ago, when several US soldiers were dishonourably discharged. They murdered a Jane Doe, which our Jane Doe solved as part of her second article, but while their original leader is in jail, they are still operating as far as I know. I recognized that morale badge, and found out it had its origins in the division the founding member of the Bundle. He appropriated it as a secret code in his group.”
“And now they have some plot that is targeting my client. Of that I am certain.”
“They need money to stay in business. That’s why their founding leader killed that Jane Doe: she was tricked into bankrolling them until she stumbled upon the truth. Unlike other groups, they like the finer things in life.”
“Anything finer thing in particular?”
“French cigars. There aren’t many, but they smoked Robuste Chaud, which isn’t just expensive, but very hard to procure.”
Miss Lyme and Anala looked at each other and smirked. “I do believe one of the Feather Duster may have a clue for us. Arjana happens to be working for someone in the Parisian arm of La Nuit who is one of the owners of that peculiar brand of cigar. Perhaps the link is more intimate than what would first appear, and Monsieur Abdou Faucheux would have much to gain if Mr. Stone is out of the way as that company is hardly on solid footing itself.”
Anala nodded. “I am certain we will discover that Robuste is a money-laundering front for the Bundle.”
“I wish I could come along,” said Danny as he grabbed his blazer, “I’d like to see how this case of yours ends, but Jane Doe is going undercover for her latest story, and she won’t be checking in until tonight.”
“I am sad that you cannot come along, but we must make a point of doing a case together,” Miss Lyme said warmly before she and Anala headed for the airport where Miss Lyme’s private plane was waiting for her.
“Arjana! How wonderful to see you,” Maggie as she gave the beautiful and svelte African woman in the maid’s uniform a big hug and kiss as they entered the Faucheux mansion in Paris, “You radiate even more these days.”
Arjana pulled back while holding Miss Lyme’s hands, “Maggie! I am so happy to see you. You look beautiful in your yellow dress. It means a solution is just around the corner.”
“We are trying to cut a problem off at the pass. You know Anala.”
“We have met once before.”
“Arjana is quite the Renaissance woman,” Miss Lyme said proudly to Anala, “She specializes in Picassiette mosaics, speaks six languages fluently, and when she is not working as a translator, she is a professional welder.”
“A welder?” gasped Anala.
“Oh yes,” giggled Arjana sweetly, “I am autodidactic by nature and the strangest things catch my attention. I learn, master, and then I work in the field to learn more.”
“She makes her own cars to drive, too.”
“Wow,” Anala said impressed, “You can build motors, as well?”
“It was a challenge until it became child’s play. My brothers were all jealous at first, but now I make each one a new car for his birthday every three years.”
“And when you are not making cars, you are having another sort of escapade as One of the Feather Duster.”
“It is a fun and delightful adventure and more entertaining than watching television or surfing the Internet,” Arjana replied, “I watch the buffoons pretend to be important, and after I finish laughing, I tell Maggie, and then after we all laugh for another good long time, we protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable for their games. It is like watching a play except I do not sit around and do nothing – I can make a difference by jumping right on the stage when the actors are too busy remembering their scripts and fixing their costumes.”
Miss Lyme smiled. “I need to know Monsieur Faucheux’s role in this current farce.”
Arjana led both women to the den where she pointed to the computer. “I already keyed in his password. All of his files are there.”
“Thank you,” the Red Queen said politely as she went through the files. “These are for blackmailing people within La Nuit.”
“It is how he maintains his wealth,” replied Arjana.
“Now, this is very interesting,” Miss Lyme replied as Anala looked at the computer screen, “A Mr. Renforth Arvin is part of that very dubious group of neo-fascists who is connected to this case.”
“Who is Renforth Arvin?” asked Anala.
“The elder brother of the man who staged that fight with Mr. Stone’s former flame, according to this file. His is the first file, and is marked a priority.”
“And yet the Bundle uses Robuste as a front to fund their operations. Why blackmail Mr. Arvin? To get a bigger piece of the profits?”
“Perhaps it is greed, or something an emergency has arisen requiring to cover the expenses quickly.”
Arjana nodded. “Faucheux has invested in a winery that hasn’t been accused of fraud.”
“That would do it,” replied Anala.
“But that would leave Mr. Arvin in a bind,” said the World’s Most Dangerous Woman, “They would need to replenish those funds themselves, and would go to a bank to cover their immediate debts, did not want the bank to do any digging and discover the connection between Mr. Arvin, the Bundle, and Robuste – or La Nuit, whom they would not want to be made aware of their games and vulnerabilities. Mr. Arvin knew of Mr. Stone through his brother’s current love, and saw an opportunity to find a bank not affiliated with either cabal, but to make certain their expert was removed or too distracted to see the ruse or who was behind it.”
“And so they began a campaign to discredit Mr. Stone.”
“Mr. Arvin went to a La Nuit bank, they would have forced him to use one of their banks with much higher interest rates where they had enough to blackmail him and keep him in place by making him do their bidding on far more dangerous games. He was trying to secure the best deal without being pressured or threatened. He must have heard about Mr. Stone through his brother’s significant other, and began to plot.”
“And then he planted the seeds of distrust in him, and they had their fight where Mr. Arvin recorded it.”
“He choreographs the optics, in such a way as to place Mr. Stone in the crosshairs, clearing the way to line his own coffers at La Nuit’s expense.”
“It is a risky way to become wealthy.”
“What about the virus?”
“That would be something the Bundle would seek, and Mr. Arvin most likely thought connecting Mr. Stone to them and their plans would make him panic. It did, but he came straight to me instead. It was the only flaw in his plan.”
Arjana nodded. “He needs funding to feed his ego and gain fortune. He thought he had so many wrinkles and tangles, that no one could follow the trail to him.”
“And yet we did,” replied Anala as she looked at Miss Lyme. “The remark about his single mistake in his plan reminds me of one of the musings on your wall from Alena Love.”
“About perfection? Yes, it is one of my favourites, as it reminds me to not become obsessed with flaws.”
“Mr. Arvin was obsessed with hiding the flaws of his plans to the point of having one that would be his undoing.”
“And that is the reason it is about to all unravel. I have a red dress to put on, and we have a scheme to stop as soon as our plan lands.”
“What should I do?” asked Arjana.
“Make a copy of these blackmail files, email them to me, and I will go to La Nuit with them to humble them and your now-former employer. You have cars to make and beautiful artwork to create. Your job here is done.”
The Persian Carpet weaves the riddles of time and space
For the Persian Carpet is wise enough to keep inside its very fibres the intentional mistake.
For only the Creator can be without flaw.
A beautiful carpet.
Intricate, complicated, colourful, and beautiful.
But one wrong.
So not to offende the Creator…
The two women arrived at Mr. Arvin’s office building as Miss Lyme wore her usual red dress to signal that the game was now over. He worked in a high-rise, but when she entered the building, there were screams of “The Red Queen!” as people began to run.
Anala whistled. “They know of you.”
“This place is crawling with La Nuit members. We must remember to keep a note of who is doing the running as they must have their own sins to hide.”
The two took the elevator to the top floor where the running and yelping continued while Anala used her smartphone to videotape those doing the screaming for future reference. When they reached the boardroom, Miss Lyme flung open the door where there was a meeting take place.
“Mr. Arvin, we have much to discuss,” she said sternly as the other executives in the room began to tremble and blanche, “You cavort with fascists who wish to unleash a virus on those who they erroneously see as inferior to them.”
“What are you talking about?” he said angrily.
“The Foresight Bundle. You and your brother are both members.”
At this comment, the executives ran out of the room.
“You’re going to destroy me!”
“Nonsense, you’ve done that to yourself.”
“Those brutes always want more, and I can’t do anything unless I keep them happy!”
“No denials?” asked Anala.
Miss Lyme looked unimpressed. “I do not care one whit about their demands or needs.”
“Don’t care?” shrieked Mr. Arvin.
“Or, as your defeated kind once said, ‘me ne frego,’” Anala quipped defiantly as she realized Mr. Arvin had no inkling about the Black Shirts or even the roots of fascism in the first place. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders, though she knew the effect was not lost on the Red Queen.
“They’ll kill me if I don’t deliver them each a Mercedes!”
“I have informed the authorities of their plans, and now federal agents are introducing them all to a holding cell. They will be too busy fighting for their freedom to worry about what kind of cars you can afford them. My concern is my client Mr. Stone…”
“They’ll kill me,” Mr. Arvin screamed, “Why did the moron Stone have to come to you? He was supposed to think he was smart enough to handle it himself! The Bundle will kill me…”
“Mr. Arvin, you have nothing to fear from the Bundle…”
“The hell I don’t! They’ll kill me!”
Before either woman could say anything else, a screaming Mr. Arvin grabbed his suitcase, smashed a window open, and jumped to his death just as security ran in and saw the scene.
Anala shook her head. “He feared murder by the Bundle so much that he saved him them the trouble.”
“He panicked when he saw me because he forgot that Mr. Stone had me as an option. He had planned everything meticulously.”
“Not quite. He allowed Faucheux to blackmail him.”
“The stress was too much for him. The police were supposed to be here in a few minutes to arrest him.”
Anala sighed. “And now they can remove what his left of him from the sidewalk. So much spectacle, and yet Mr. Arvin dies for no reason at all.”
“It is a dreadful end to any man, yet his fate was entirely avoidable.”
“He wished to harm your client and shame him into a grave. The human race has much to answer for, Maggie.”
“It does, yet the answers they give are as maddening and nonsensical to the questions they create. Do you need a ride to the airport?”
“Yes, if you do not mind.”
“Of course not. I do have to fly off to Toronto, but after I send you off back to India before then. I do cherish our time together.”
“As I do. It is never a boring visit. We must make it a point to go to Latvia to see the White Wagtail. After witnessing something as distressing as this turn of events, sweet birds would restore much serenity.”
“I will give you a list of dates when you return. Let us leave this depressing scene. My client is safe, my fee will be paid by his employer, and there is no reason to stay here.”
Her case was over, and she had one more stop to make before she returned home. She still wore her red dress as she made her way to the nursing home in Toronto where the staff knew her by sight, but did not understand the significance of her dress or the nature of her job. They greeted her warmly as she made her way to the room carrying not her usual briefcase, but a large bouquet of white roses.
Miss Lyme placed the flowers inside the vase beside the stand next to the bed, and sat down in the chair as she sighed sadly at the comatose Dr. Hunter Colby. She picked up his hand to feel his wrist as she did whenever she visited him. She would always begin by asking if he had enough of her, or did he wish for her to stay. His pulse would race until she asked if he preferred for her to stay. He wished for her company, and she complied. This time was no different.
“Hunter, I’ve come to see you again. Your father is doing well, though he wishes you were out of this horrible state, as do I. You and I worked on quite a few cases together when I was infiltrating the Circle, but why you cannot awaken is a mystery still beyond me. You indicate that no one is artificially inducing this condition in you. You express a strong desire to awaken, and yet, there is nothing I have been able to do to pull you out of this wretched slumber. If you awaken, I would be more than happy for you to stay with me. You’ve expressed as much yourself. Do you know why you’re stuck in this vortex?”
She felt his pulse and sighed. “You’ve no idea, either. I’ve asked my mother, and have spared no expense looking for an expert who could shed light on this horrific travesty. This is profoundly unfair. There must be some solution.” She shook her head. “It is beyond odd, Hunter, that this should happen to you, given we interviewed more than one person this way – and I had never done it while I was infiltrating La Nuit du bas. Hunter, I am going to ask one small favour from you. I am absolutely convinced someone is inducing this state. I have moved you to the finest and safest facility outside of Queen’s Heights, and I am trying to convince your father to move you to into a facility in Queen’s Heights because if there are dark forces harming you, then it is in your best interests to be there so no more harm can be done to you. If there is some way that you are being harmed, try to take some sort of note of it. I don’t think it is a hypnotic suggestion, for what it is worth. If there is a common person, phrasing, anything at all, try to remember. You know I will do my absolute best for you.”
She watched him sleep as she wondered how to undo the damage, and bring peace to his troubled soul as he was a kind-hearted man who did not deserve to be stuck in the horrific prison of sleep. All she could do was talk to him with kindness and fondness, knowing it lifted his spirits, yet it always felt like failure, no matter what she said or how kindly she said it to someone who touched her heart and moved her soul.