Daniel Torrance parked his car in a garage and began walking to the Doctor’s office where his niece was staying. Abra wasn’t sick, but she needed to stay somewhere while Dan was busy convincing the world Abra Rafaella Stone went missing in Rome. After hearing and seeing mostly Italian for the last week it was weird walking into a city with so much English. The sun bounced off stone facades that looked distinctly European but the signs were all in his native language.
He used the reflection in a shop window to fix his dirty blond hair. Hopefully, he could manage to get a job in this office too. All that experience in hospice cares had to mean something.
Maybe other people would be in a hurry to check on the niece they’ve left with strangers for the past week but Dan had been checking in with a telepathic howdedo as often as he could. Every time he received an exasperated ‘I’m fine’ in return from Abra. Dan didn't even know you could be exasperated over telepathy but the extent of Abra’s gift and preteen angst made it possible. He knocked on the door.
“Can I help you?” asked a young girl that wasn’t Dan’s young girl.
“Yeah, I’m Abby’s uncle,” Dan replied with a smile. The kid seemed to be about 12, maybe younger. While Abra had long legs and curly blonde hair the tween in front of him was a petite brunette with a bob cut. She seemed like a good kid though. At least Abra’s been hanging out with someone her own age.
“My name’s Nina by the way,” the girl said as she led him to the room where Abra was staying.
Abra didn’t so much have a room as she had one of the hospital beds with a curtain drawn around it. Before he could alert her to his presence, Abra burst through the curtains and threw his arms around him.
“I missed you too.” he said with a laugh then he asked, “What have you been up too?”
“Don't be angry,” Abra said taking a step back.
(Oh shit) Dan thought.
He knew Abra heard it but her response elicited much worse language than that. “I sort of joined a gang… I think.”
“What?” Dan roared.
“Well I met this girl and she was like 14 and she was helping this other girl who was like, 10 and she had lost a necklace and I found it for her. You know, our way.”
“And that led to joining a gang how?”
Abra had her hand at her mouth. It was the same thing her grandfather and Dan’s father, Jack, often did when he was upset. “Well the necklace was a dog tag for Twilights and the 14-year-old asked if I could find other stuff and that she would pay me. And, well, I ended up finding her a bunch of drugs that had been stolen and it turns out that the 14-year-old was the head of a major crime family and now I'm on retainer as a finder.”
Dan sent a thought. (This entire time I've been checking in and you’ve been saying I’m fine.)
“I was fine. The only time I did anything remotely dangerous I had two guys helping me out.” She defended.
“When did you do anything dangerous?” He asked. He knew the answer though four days ago when he had that bad feeling and he felt himself being blocked.
“I’m sorry.” She said, her voice muffled by the hand on her mouth.
“I hope everything's alright.” Said a man with glasses and a lab coat. Dan hadn't noticed that Nina left but he guessed she had gone to get this man.
“You must be Dr. Leo Theo,” Dan said holding out his hand.
“Just Doctor Theo, I don't use my first name. And you must be the psychic. Forgive me if I hesitate to shake your hand.” The man had a bored expression on his face and Dan was sorry for the bad first impression.
Before he could apologize, a guy with silver hair and an eyepatch walked in. “Holy shit, Leo Theo?” he had a goofy grin and nodded at Abra before he started laying into the doctor.
(Does she know this guy?) Dan wondered.
(He was one of the guys protecting me when I was helping a girl who was kidnapped by hunters.) Abra thought back.
Before he could ask her what hunters were, a dump of information entered his head. The new power was much less pressing than the fact she got mixed up with a bunch of superpowered people looking to kill a specific other type of superpowered people. Wasn't that situation exactly what they were trying to escape when we ran away from the True Knot?
Dan stopped glaring at Abra for a split second and noticed that another man had walked in. He was shorter, with black hair and intense eyes. He did something with his hands and Dan assumed it was sign language, though not the ASL he occasionally saw back in the States.
Nina noticed the attempt at communication. "I'm sorry Nick, I didn't catch that," she said sweetly.
Nick repeated it and it was the platinum blond who responded. "What's happening is that it turns out Theo's first name is Leo."
"AnD WOricK Is mUCh bETteR." the shorter man said with a manic smile.
Instead of trying to find a comeback Worick regarded Abra again and with a nod towards Dan asked, "Is this guy your dad or something?"
"He's my uncle."
"No kidding." he turned towards Dan and extended his hand. "My name's Worick Arcangelo and my friend over there is Nicholas Brown. We're the handymen in town. We work 15 blocks away from here."
Dan thought he heard Theo mutter something about how they'd have to be close with how often they do stupid things but Dan stayed focused on Worick. "Dan Torrance, nice to meet you." As soon as Dan took the other man's hand a thought came to him and it wasn't Dan's thought.
(Is he psychic like his niece?)
Since the cat was out of the bag Dan went for it. "Yeah, we're both psychic. I call it the Shining."
Worick pulled his hand back immediately. "You read minds?"
"Never on purpose." Abra cut in.
Worick seemed friendly enough but Dan realized the implication of what Abra meant when she said 'He was one of the guys protecting me' and the part of Dan that was angry the way his father often was woke up.
"Question for you," Dan said cooly. "When Abr... Abby told you that a woman was being held hostage by a group of insane supervillains, why did you bring her along?"
"Something tells me this is a discussion we should have sitting down. Would you like to come back to our office? Maybe have this conversation over tea?" Worick asked, defusing the tension.
Dan was about to reply, No! You guys are clearly nuts and I want answers now! But something stopped him. A feeling that going to the office would be a good idea and Dan learned to trust those feelings. Dan also had a feeling that he would have been better off in America fighting the True Knot than bringing his niece to this hell hole of a town. But now they were in Ergastulum and Dan definetely felt like needed something with caffeine.