A Guardian In Disguise – T-Minus 14.5 Hours

Brook already had mace in her day sack but went to her room and retrieved the special key ring her friend had carved for her out of some wood, it was shaped vaguely like a dagger and had been a point of discussion with security at the airport but she explained it was simply a good luck travelling gift from a friend back home.

The street where the hotel was located was out of the centre of the city in the hills, the air was hot and sticky, she had hoped that she would miss the rainy season but the air felt electric. Looking around it could have been anywhere east of Russia, there was poverty in abundance, skinny children on the streets foraging for their food in bins and offering out a hand for change as you walked past, stray dogs waiting patiently for the scraps.

There seemed to be people watching here but she just assumed it was because she had just arrived, the elderly gentleman sat on his rocking chair at the end of the street was watching everyone like a hawk, nothing seemed to escape him not even the children trying to take his empty cans from his dustbin to recycle, every so often he would shake his fist at them and shout. Brook thought they were doing him a favour taking them for him, but then remembered he was probably using them to earn money as well. The local cafe was indeed 2 blocks away, the street was otherwise empty and she headed towards it with a determined look on her face, this stopped her from being distracted by the children who had now noticed her and decided she could give them money instead and had formed an orderly queue behind her. The problem with giving to one is that you had to give to everyone and she simply didn’t have the money to be giving it all away to charity.

As she arrived at the cafe there were a few people sat at tables, the man behind the bar gave her a suspicious look as she walked through the door, she smiled and said ‘Hi’ in the hope this would help, the man greeted her begrudgingly, maybe he wasn’t used to women coming in the cafe Brook thought, she sat herself on a stool at the bar and hoped that there was a menu or some way she could illustrate what she wanted. The man slid a menu down the counter to her relief it seemed to be in dual languages and pictures, not quite what she had wanted but on the upside she might end up with something she recognised. Staring at it for a moment there was a little note stuck to the back – “don’t go any further they will find you” a slightly odd thing to read, she hoped it wasn’t for her. Looking at the bar man she beckoned him and showed him the things she wanted from the menu coupled with a horrendous attempt at pronouncing things and a smile the man nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Reappearing seconds later with her drink which had a tropical storm of fruit and an umbrella poking out the top of the glass, this was what she loved about the travelling, the experiencing new food and drink, half the fruit she saw she wasn’t even sure she recognised it. As she sipped her drink about 10 minutes later her food arrived, it was visually stunning, she took a photo, not to post anywhere but for the memory.

Once the man had served her he retreated back to his post behind the bar, watching everyone like a hawk. Brook stayed at the cafe for a while, she looked at the people around here they didnt seem overly friendly but not unwelcoming either. The note had made her think after what Leffe said, she looked at the bar man who gave her a knowing look, she hoped at some point she would find out where the note came from.

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