An old, abandoned warehouse stands in a part of town most people would never venture. Broken windows and graffiti decorate the exterior of the building. Inside, the once vibrant dwelling that held the promise of employment deteriorated to nothing more than a safe haven for its furry residents and other despicable creatures. Cracks in the concrete walls spread out like strands of gray hair across a sea of once perfect beige paint. Dust covers the gray, cement floors in a light layer like freshly fallen snow. A loud clang and a strong, sudden wind disrupts the dust’s peaceful rest sending it in many directions.
Several cars enter quickly through the garage door. It closes behind them just as fast. A fight club of sorts, the warehouse’s long forgotten purpose opens up to any who dare enter. Many have already arrived. They sit atop old shipping crates. Unusual creatures of the human kind, they wait for a purpose, no one truly believes possible.
One woman, dressed like a throwback to the days of Batman, passes the time by moving her arm in a circular motion. Her sleeve is long and covers her arm down to the fingers. The black material leads to a hand where only the tips of long, blue nails are exposed. She drives her hand down toward the floor, swings it back up and holds her hand over her head in a game that nobody else plays. The display shows off a hidden layer of silky blue material under her arm which flutters as she swings her arm around again. She is an older woman around her late forties. Her head is covered with graying strands that look like snakes among the black hair that once shined in her youth. The most notable of all her features is the sad and defeated look she carries of a broken woman which emulates the weight of why she has come here this day. The black costumed woman known as Gray Widow, breathes in deeply, exhibiting her disinterest. Who could heal the wound in her heart? Her eyes stray across the floor as she watches the blasts of light which intermittently illuminate the interior of the building. She looks at the shadows to entertain her depressed thoughts. The lightning flashes just long enough to unveil one human shape after another that defies all standard dress codes. She finds it nice that the heroes have come. It is a show of respect for her deceased son that he deserves, but she no more believes her Timmy will come back than they do. Yet, she is torn between hope and reality and as she mulls through the current events, nobody believed this day would come. Nobody believed that the woman they all waited on, the one deemed insane by “doctors” and “police” could escape the four walls that surrounded her at will and return just as easily.
It was hard for Gray to show up, because the thoughts in her mind awakened all of the horrible memories of her son’s death. She covered her head with her hands to relieve the pressure of images too hard to process. The voices of those horrible police officers telling her son was killed echoed in her mind. Nobody believed what she had to say, not even her husband. And for sure just as they didn’t believe what she had to say . . . , no one in all of Madison believed that Status would return either. But the new release proved all of them wrong. And so the allies came, they were all expected to adorn themselves in the role he foretold before everything came to a crashing end. They were to transform and become what Timmy knew they could be. For any who stood against her son, death would be their fate. Death to those who took her Timmy. Death to those who killed him! DEATH! DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!
A banging echoed through the large room. The purple-costumed hero with six arms pulled the chain to open the garage door. It rumbled and creaked on its way up. The messenger stood outside, wet from light rain and surrounded by the grayness of a cloud covered sky. She stood as a slight creature whose sculpted body filled the empty space. The elements whipped around her body re-introducing the fulfillment of what transformation meant. Her white hair and masked face matched the black and white costume she wore. A white yang encircled her body. It represented a symbolic upgrade to what the team had used in the earlier days of Status. She said nothing letting the elements express her personal rage. And then, finally, she did it. She raised her arm to the world revealing a golden object for all to see.
Gray Widow sat up. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was true. They found the golden key. There could be no mistake; the prophecies that were once just rumors, now would be put in motion so that her son would return. She didn’t believe it, but now how could she not? If the game had risen from its ashes, then so would he. Gray Widow raised her arms in thanks to the Status Gods who took pity on her pathetic life.
In the ballast of the storm, the blonde woman with the yang on her chest, the one they called Dark Shadow, shouted at the angry air like a warrior bent on revenge. Gray Widow had only dreamed of this day and tears poured down her face as if it were raining inside. For no longer would they hide in shame. No longer would they suffer the humiliation of defeat. And no longer would she be apart from her son. No. From this day forward, they would walk in glory and avenge the embarrassment of their past. Timmy would rise. And he would take his rightful place which their enemies took away. She knew it now and her heart longed to make it happen.
Those who gathered stood uniformly in awe of the sign. They pounded their chests two times with their fists and raised them skyward. In one voice they shouted out the battle cry of old, “Stay Strong! Stay Loyal! Stay Strong! Stay Loyal!”
Welcome Status Gamers!
Wave Entertainment is pleased to announce the return of Status! After a long hiatus, we’ve rolled out Status Rises (vs. 2.0), a brand new upgrade for the extraordinarily popular Status game. Navigating the minefield of drama surrounding our first release, we have completely revamped the Status experience into something unique and really cool. While this has been a year of challenges, we have survived and transformed. In fact transformation is our motto and we are asking you to do the same. Become your better self! The self you have always dreamed of.
Status Rises may be played on our new app via smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Status is designed to keep you in control anywhere, anytime. We are so sure about our product that we are issuing a special offer just for former Status players! Check out the offer below for more details.
Wave Entertainment has not just produced an upgrade, we have introduced a whole new shift in the game paradigm experience. Transform, grow in power, and become the hero you always dreamed of being from the safety of your technology. Based on your unique attributes, Status Rises will create a special hero just for you.
Here are the game changers! Noobs no longer enter as zombies. For those who want to play free or build up experience before becoming a paid player, you will enter the city as Thieves or Civilians. Paid players start out at the lowest levels as well, but once you have statused up with enough points, you will be able to convert to a Superhero and start putting your cash and points to work to build up power. Power is determined by Status Points and the higher your points, the more power you have.
Big, beautiful fortresses have replaced Caves from the original game which will give you a place to congregate with your allies. You can upgrade fortresses with in-app purchases. No more contracts for the most popular people, since Status Rises is all inclusive. We have also done away with rumors as gameplay. From now on we concentrate on the best people can offer with your sole goal to become the most powerful superhero in the world!
Looking to make money and gain lots of Status points? Battle hordes of civilians and thieves, while recruiting players to gain loot and status. Join the big time by completing a bounty hunt and bring in some cold, hard cash. Use the money for your own purposes, but don’t forget to purchase your very own costume. Wearing it in public will grant you bonuses and put you out front and center as you play in real life as well as virtually.
Determine who you will be? Protector? Villain? You decide, but don’t do it alone or you will be fodder for any quorum on the hunt. Remember, Status is about making friends. Whoever joins your quorum whether they be Citizens, Thief or Superhero will only make you stronger. So grow your army and prepare for battle. One day you might just find yourself the most powerful player in the whole entire Status city!
Oh and if power isn’t enough, this year’s winner will have an opportunity to meet with a major comic book developer. They will design a new superhero team based on you, the players, and publish a brand new comic book series based on the characters you help develop. This could result in money, fame and more power to the lucky heroes who end up on top. Find your true self! Fight your way to the top! And transform in order to win a chance at this awesome opportunity!
Stay Strong, Stay Loyal,
PS: ALL former gamers who register for Status Rises become part of a quorum and make it through the initial stages of the game will receive their previous Status points free for ninety days. At the end of the ninety days you must convert to a paid monthly or annual membership in order to maintain your status.
If you are reading this, know you have found me.
Death is not an end. It is a beginning.
Mrs. Dunn looked outside her bay window waiting for the boy to arrive. She found herself staring into a gold, framed, full length mirror. The reflection captured her age and weariness. Skin weathered like leather left out too long in the sun and a head of salt and pepper hair that had lost all of its luster made her feel older than she really was. In the background of the reflection, hundreds of photographs encased in plastic dangled from the ceiling. Suspended by thumb-tacks, the photos cluttered the interior of the room. Each picture capturing a moment of her son’s life they hung staccato like stagnant wind chimes. Mrs. Dunn would never forget her son, even if the rest of Madison did.
She studied her worn down facial features, which had aged more in the last year than any other time in her life. Most people freshened up for a guest, but she had no desire to. What did it matter what anyone saw? One annoyingly large strand of gray schlepped over her sleepless eyes as she tried to improve the mess. She gave up on it quickly and traced the curvature of her downturned mouth with her finger. She could remember the last time she wore make-up, but not the last time she smiled. Time had stopped when the police broke the news about Timmy’s death. She didn’t cry or show any emotion that day, but Mrs. Dunn made an internal promise never to smile again until she saw her son in this life or the next. She waded through the lines on her face with the tips of her fingernails, tracing the age and the stress. The mirror proved what she already knew. Her life up to this point had amounted to nothing more than failure.
Everyone she knew called Timmy’s death a suicide, but she was convinced deep down of a cover-up. She tried explaining her reasoning to the police, but they didn’t listen. She told them how her boy embodied perfection and there was no conceivable way her son could’ve taken his own life. He had everything. A beautiful girlfriend, a bright future, and all the friends one could want. Popularity, she decided, has its dark side. Those who made him popular brought him down.
She spent hours describing the boys who bullied Timmy. The police took notes, appeared to care, but nothing ever materialized. Who wants to prosecute star football players? The local media and all of Madison celebrated their abilities and created Gods. Their popularity made them greater than the law. And she knew that the policemen who interviewed her, worshipped those two horrible creatures, because they satiated some deep, seeded hope that they could accomplish what others had failed at. She understood it and despised them for their feeble minds. Nobody other than her cared that Timmy endured years of torture at their hands. Football players, the words made her brain ache.
She hated John Hauser the most. The kid had little in the brains department, but every ounce of his dense matter focused on making her son’s life miserable. And to think he was just the sidekick. Donny Catrano, the boy who girls swooned over and boys dreamed they could be, pulled the strings. He hated Timmy, too, and Mrs. Dunn held him just as responsible.
And then there were the girls; two of them. Horrible witches. Jenny, the cheerleader who lied about her pregnancy to gain Status points. And Charlotte, Timmy’s ex-girlfriend who turned on Timmy and all of her team. She used Timmy to gain fame and then stuck him in the back by becoming a traitor. Mrs. Dunn then watched them walk down the street hand in hand. It irked her to no end that Charlotte and that stupid monkey, John Hauser were dating. She wanted to hurt them all even if it meant at her own peril. Such is the way of revenge. She wanted Charlotte, to suffer though. Where others she dreamed death, Charlotte she dreamed destruction. ‘Miss Popularity’ would come to know the pain of ugliness.
Those four used Status to cover up what they did to Timmy. They were responsible. Somehow they made it look like suicide and used Timmy’s own gun on him. But they weren’t smart enough to do it on their own. That’s what made the teacher who Timmy loved so much, Bob Brookes, the worst of them all.
Brookes was a disgusting man. He had been caught luring innocent girls into his house. All of Madison knew he took advantage of them. Not that the girls were innocent, but how did he get away with it? When the picture of Brookes and Charlotte surfaced on Status, she couldn’t believe it. Disgusting pig, she thought. But she had to give it to him, the man was smart.
He married a cop. The same one that had started investigating the rumors about what he had done to those girls. Very convenient. That’s when everything made sense. It took a while, but she eventually realized why the police ruled her son’s case a suicide. The police were protecting Bob and those bullies. In a way she admired the enemy. They had been very deliberate and careful to leave no stone unturned. That made them formidable. Bob Brookes and those kids orchestrated one of the greatest cover-ups ever in order to win. They won at Timmy’s expense and they ruled Status.
Mrs. Dunn pulled a stick of bright red lipstick from her pocket, pressed it hard across her lips and painted up from the corners of her. She extended the thick red lines toward her upper cheeks. She had one hope for revenge, and he would be here shortly. If the golden key contained what they said, then she would join them fully. Mrs. Dunn turned around to her little Timmy audience and showed off the fake smile she had just painted. “I’ll save the real one for you, dear.”
She brushed her fingers across the dangling photographs as she passed underneath them and picked up a large, empty golden box lying at the foot of the stairs. She read the shipping label. Recipient: Gray Widow and carried it upstairs so she could change before her guest arrived.
Looking like a cross between Bat Girl and an overweight Cat Woman, Mrs. Dunn felt better in the shadows of the warehouse. The roar of an engine outside her house made her cringe. He’s here, she thought to herself. Finally.
She stopped in front of the mirror and studied her new look. The black, skin-tight pants made it hard for her to breathe but gave her a good chance to that time had not been kind. With a little exercise and proper eating, maybe she could become something more in some man’s eyes, she wondered? The painted smile fit well with the costume. It completed her false, yet disturbing look.
She peeked outside the window. Mrs. Dunn couldn’t remember the last time a male had entered the house. After Timmy passed, her husband left because he couldn’t handle their son’s death. They argued so many nights over what actually happened and eventually Mr. Dunn gave up and walked out.
She put her hand over her heart. At first she thought it was her Timmy and almost smiled. They looked similar in a lot of ways. As the boy walked up the front walkway, she noticed he was more muscular, but he had beautiful red hair just like her boy. The knock at the front door made her nervous. He rang the bell again with some impatience. She hesitated as her hand touched the door knob. Finally, courage. She opened it and the setting sun blinded her so badly, she had to shield her eyes. His face was silhouetted, featureless, but she could see the small golden Status box in his hands. She forced out the words, “Thank you for coming.”
He entered the house with a brash confidence and spoke as if they had always known each other. “This was buried underneath the cushion just like he told us.”
“That’s my Timmy. Always kept his word. His room is upstairs to the right. I still can’t go in, but I know if it’s anywhere. It’s there.”
“Of course, but it’s not the right one.”
“What do you mean, it’s not the right one?” Mrs. Dunn’s anger rose with her voice.
“It’s a decoy. There is a map that we have to follow. I’ll show you.”
He followed the pictures up the landing and stopped at the top of the stairs to study two photos that hung together at the very top of the stairs. The first one portrayed a young boy named El and a young Timmy at the playground in front their favorite monkey bars shaped like a giant rocket ship. They both gave thumbs up to the camera, and Timmy’s arm draped over his best friend, El’s shoulders.
“Timmy told me about this photo. He used to go with El to the park and they would play together.”
Then he pulled the other photo closer to his face and studied it. Timmy’s old girlfriend, Charlotte, kissed Timmy’s cheek. Timmy looked surprised and shy, like a person who had just received a kiss from a star he had idolized for many years. His facial expression was priceless. These were sweet memories.
“Smart. You put a couple of the traitors up here.”
“Yes. They remind me every day of what they did, said Mrs. Dunn as she made her way up the stairs.”
The boy slapped the two photos together in anger and turned down the hallway to Timmy’s room.
Timmy’s room was in a state of disarray, just like it had always been. The walls were painted black and filled with neon-colored superhero and supervillain posters. Countless videogames and comic books showed years of committed play and reading.
Mrs. Dunn watched from the hallway. The redhead put the golden box down on a cheap bench press with plastic weights. He unhinged the clasp and pulled out the velvet lined mold which once held the gun that Timmy owned. He pulled a document from the box that a password. He sat at Timmy’s desk and plugged in the key. He pulled up a file that requested a password. He typed in S-T-A-T-U-S. The file opened and revealed a hand drawn treasure map. The redhead printed it out and presented it to Mrs. Dunn who marveled at her son’s ingenuity.
The boy followed the instructions around the room. He faced the bed while standing in front of the bench press and then walked forward three steps. He followed the posters of Storm, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman and Superwoman until he reached an 8x10 of Charlotte.
He smiled at Mrs. Dunn and punched through Charlotte’s smiling face. Inside, he found a smaller, golden box. One opened he held up the second Iron Key. A replica of the first the young man sat down and repeated the same steps he performed before.
“Did you find it? Is that what we needed?
“Then I can count on you to contact everyone?”
“Dark Shadow already did. They know what’s coming. It has all been foretold. I’ll be visiting you quite often, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t.” She paused. “Then it is true, isn’t it?”
“Yes ma’am. It’s true. We’ll see him soon.”
“I hope you don’t mind, but I haven’t seen Timmy in so long. You know why I painted this smile on my face?”
“So that you and he know what I will look like when I’m truly happy.”
“Very beautiful, Mrs. Dunn.”
She looked at him oddly, cocked her head, “Can I kiss you?”
“Yes, Mrs. Dunn. You can.”
“Come here, please. I just can’t go inside. You understand.”
The figure stepped just outside the doorway so she could reach him. Her hands felt the skin on his face. She ran them over his smooth jaw line and through his hair. She touched his cheeks and then she gently cupped his ears. Pulling him down, she kissed him on the head, then the lips, but not in the passionate sense. She stopped after she kissed both sides of his cheeks.
Emotion overwhelmed her, but she choked back the tears. “My name is Gray Widow. I prefer Gray.”
“I know your name, Gray,” he said gently. “I will not take on a name, not until he takes my place.”
“She handed him a set of keys. This was for Timmy. I bought it for his sixteenth birthday.”
He took the keys in his open palm, but didn’t question it. “Thank you, Gray Widow.”
She mustered up all of her strength and steadied her voice, “Stay Strong, Stay Loyal.”
The boy straightened up like a soldier and responded, “Stay Strong, Stay Loyal.”
He went back into the room and sat down in front of Timmy’s old computer. It took a couple of seconds for it to boot up. He plugged in the golden iron key and then opened a file. The manifesto of Timmy Dunn opened silently on the screen. There were twenty numbered lines. Each one a prophecy to prove he would return. The boy read out loud to Mrs. Dunn the last poem her son had written before his death.
You must make the change in life
To become more than those who bore their strife.
We cannot let them rule,
Lest we become the fool.
Follow me and my sacrifice will have reason
Though I rest, it shall be but a season.
Go! Prepare a place, for Havoc will rise!
So that we may finally put an end to our enemies’ lies.
A child's laughter echoed through the thick, white mist. Like a morning fog, the clouds carpeted the concrete floor, pushed only by the footsteps that moved through them. Bob could hear the child’s giggles as he tried desperately to find the source of the laughter. He swiped his hand sideways in an effort to clear the encircling mist that drifted as high as his waistline. He followed the sounds, fearing that the girl would be hurt if he wasn’t there to help her. She moved like a rabbit. The game was not fun, and the longer he searched the more Bob’s frustration grew. Somehow she managed to elude him every time he got close.
He called out, “Where are you, little bunny?”
"I love you, Daddy!”
Daddy. The word exploded like a cork on a shaken bottle of champagne. Daddy. How does a gamer become a daddy?
“Find me, Daddy."
Bob decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He quickened his pace to a jog and pushed the mist with his hands like a swimmer. "Where are you?" he called.
"Why can't I find you?"
"I’m running away because bad people are following me, Daddy."
Footsteps ran by him and the wind from her passing kicked a swirl of mist into Bob’s face. He swatted it away and then lunged for her. He narrowly missed.
"Who? Who is following you?" he called out. A bead of sweat slid down his face and a large drop moved in slow motion as it fell from the tip of his nose to the ground. He watched in amazement as the fog separated from the force of its splash. A tiny water droplet magnified and turned into a thousand shards of glass. Bob covered himself for protection but didn’t need to. The glass formed a bridge leading to a place he remembered.
The old cave looked just like the one in Status he visited last year. The giggles slipped into the darkness of the cave. He suppressed the fear that raged inside and took off to retrieve his little girl. He remembered the long, dark tunnel and the large, double doors leading to the theater room. He could feel fear ripping into his soul. Going any further went against every fiber of his being. Despite his hesitation, he had to save her.
Cobwebs decorated the inside of the tunnel. The old paintings that Timmy created stared at him. They depicted the fall of Bob’s students—his teammates. The first painting memorialized the battle between Charlotte and Jenny. Medusa stung her prey with poisonous snakes and sucked the life out of the limp cheerleader.
“Charlotte versus Jenny. Jenny the loser,” Bob said out loud.
He moved to the next painting and cleared the cobwebs so he could see it more clearly—a hulking part-badger, part-human, part-beast decorated with rhino horns on each shoulder and each elbow. The battle looked brutal as the victor clearly held the loser in his large hands. Broken stones from unlucky buildings littered the street in the painting from the hard-fought battle. The loser’s red, white, and blue costume was torn and accompanied by an equally ripped cape that tangled around his legs.
“Donny,” Bob muttered.
Bob gulped as he approached the last portrait. It hurt him to look at it. The wasted life gnawed at his soul. Bob pinched the bridge of his nose to reduce the throbbing pain in his sinuses. It took a couple of seconds to get up the nerve to look, but inside he knew he had to face his fear. The avatar with red hair, dressed in a skin-tight black uniform—Timmy. Emblazoned on his costume, above the yang symbol hanging from his chest, was the word “Havoc.” Timmy stood proudly, like a hunter who’s bagged his prey, over a large half-monkey, half-man. He arrogantly blew the smoke rising from the barrel of the golden gun in his hand, a replica of the weapon he killed himself with.
Above the paintings, he recognized the face, but she looked quite different. Beautiful now and slim, she was once an obese woman. While it matched the original painting, this new woman watched over the depicted scenes with a calm and pleased look on her face. She posed like a superhero. The words “Dark Shadow” were written down the side of the portrait. All of the scenes represented Timmy’s plan, which, however, never materialized. The boy had died over a game, a game that Bob had been fighting in the end to win.
"They’re coming, Daddy. All of them. Even him."
Bob suddenly remembered why he was here.
“It’s over!” Bob shouted. “It’s all over! I never wanted this! None of it!”
“Yes, you did, Daddy. You wanted to win.”
The little girl giggled and ran to the great hall just beyond two heavy doors. If it were up to Bob, he would be willing to lose Status and give up all of his points to bring the boy back. Through the doors, he pushed hoping that Timmy would be on the other side.
Instead, Bob saw a scene he couldn’t grasp. On the stage, Timmy's Havoc costume, the one he wore the day he died, lay draped over his reclining chair. Someone must have put it there to make some kind of statement. Bob recognized other items on the chair—Timmy’s raincoat and the Golden Ray-Bans he also wore on his last day.
Non-descript music played around him. Havoc’s black costume rose and swayed. It greeted Bob with a bow and danced a windless ballet. The little girl he had been chasing through the fog sat on the floor watching the performance. She appeared to be entertained by the specter and grace of the dance. Every spin that Havoc performed excited her. She clapped like a child at a circus. From behind, the girl looked so much like Bob’s wife, Tracey.
Bob sat next to her and watched the mesmerizing dance. The music reached a crescendo, and the costume fell in synch with the dramatic sound. A cloud of glittering dust fell from the ceiling, reflecting a multitude of colored lights, as the costume slowed from its spectacular spinning. So much like Status, Bob thought. The girl clapped and cheered for more, and Bob clapped along, but really he just wanted it to end. He just wanted to be free of it. The costume, the blood, the guilt . . . he wished it would all disappear.
When the dance ended and the costume returned to its place on the recliner, Bob turned to the girl hoping to finally see the beautiful face of his offspring. His smile turned to horror. Her face, fat and slovenly, was that of a 50-year-old woman. This wasn’t his daughter. It was the horrible Principal Reed who had taken the name of Dark Shadow in Status. The same one who said she loved Bob.
"Headlines, Bob. Pshaaahh!" he remembered her favorite saying.
The words pierced Bob like daggers. As he rose from the floor, he staggered to gain his balance. But then felt a presence that scared him more than Reed. The feeling of dread overtook him, consumed him, and then spoke to him in a whisper he remembered all too well, “SSStatusss.”
Bob sat up sharply in bed and looked around his dark room. He reached over his wife Tracey’s hip and then slipped his hand down to her stomach trying to get some security.
“Are you okay, honey?” she asked in a sleepy voice.
Tracey laced her fingers with his and fell back to sleep. It felt so real. Bob’s hands trembled. Just a dream, he thought. Her torso gently rose and fell in rhythm with her breathing. Bob wasn’t ready for kids. Not now. Then he fell back to sleep.
They have bound you, but you must use this time
wisely to grow in strength.
Dr. Ken Lee rubbed his eyebrows so hard that dry skin fell into his black-rimmed glasses. He rubbed a tissue on the lenses to clean the flakes. He repeated this process as many times as he played back the recording. The audio on the computer contained answers that he subconsciously knew he couldn’t comprehend. Lee tapped his pencil on the screen in anxious frustration. He looked at the television set mounted to the ceiling. The blank screen offered no insight on how to handle the matter.
This was a complicated decision and he needed to think it out. She asked, “When?” every time they met. Could he release her and let her go back into society without any reservation? Dr. Lee wondered. Was he ready to let her go? The answers to these questions presented infinite possibilities, but choosing the wrong option could be dangerous for everyone. Other doctors observed the patient's behavior and gave opinions, but the responsibility for making a recommendation fell squarely on Dr. Lee’s shoulders. He sighed and hit the play button one more time hoping to get clarity.
“I hate Bob. I hate him like I hate waiting for tomorrow. Like I hate being in this place. I hate every inch of him. The way he smells. The way he walks. The way he plays Status. Did I tell you he is a cheater?! Do you hear me?! Cheater! Cheater! Cheater! I hate him more than anything!”
The hospital had recorded Dorothy Reed when the police first processed her in. An interesting case, she made great progress since then. Her transformation was incredible, one that he had never witnessed in his career. Physically, she had lost an incredible amount of weight and mentally, she appeared whole. This woman who had become so engrossed in an Internet game that she could not separate the game from reality now looked happy, healthy, and vibrant.
Dr. Lee pulled a handkerchief from his laboratory jacket to wipe the sweat off his brow. It wasn’t just about her health. He didn’t want to let her go because they had become close. He didn’t want to keep her for the same reason. If not for pure restraint, Dr. Lee thought there might be something more between them. She weighed heavily on his mind even when he left work. Lee challenged himself. Would this decision be based on unbiased actions or had he let his guard down and fallen into an unprofessional trap? I’m a professional, he convinced himself. I can handle this.