Luz loved the rain.
It was soothing, pleasant.
The thunder and lightning were majestic. They could have been frightening for anyone, but for Luz, there was something to be admired in them.
She liked the sound of the first drops falling from the sky when they hit the ground, and she loved the sensation of them hitting her skin and wetting her hair.
Luz loved the rain along with all the things it brought with it every visit.
But tonight, the thunder only confused her senses, she could not hear her opponent's movements so clearly.
For the first time, the water was not providing any kind of comfort; the drops hurt every time they hit the scraped skin on her back and blurred her vision as they mixed with the blood gushing from her eyebrow.
She miserably tried to get up from the ground, but her body only screamed in protest.
Everything felt wrong, her arms and legs began to feel heavy.
Everything around her faded into shadows.
A part of her just wanted to lie on the cold concrete, hugging herself, and try to find some comfort in the stillness. She wanted the pain to stop, she wanted to get back the warmth she had lost so long ago.
She wanted her mother to hold her, to wrap her in her arms, making all her insecurities vanish into thin air, and only then, wrapped in the love that only her mother could give her, would she finally feel safe again.
She just needed her mother to kiss her forehead and with sweet words help her convince herself that all this was not her fault; that she had tried and didn't have to be so hard on herself .
A sob escaped from her throat, and suddenly the rain and her blood were not the only things clouding her vision.
"Oh well... this is pathetic."
She was asking too much, wasn't she?
Why did she bother to keep fantasizing?
Why couldn't her stupid mind stop flying to scenarios so far from reality?
"Do yourself a favor..."
Luz brusquely wiped her tears with the back of her hand, ignoring the stinging this caused in the cuts on her face.
"...don't get up anymore."
But she could also imagine what her mother would say if she simply gave up now.
No matter how much her body hurt now, nothing could compare to the pain she would experience if her loved ones were hurt, just because she wasn't strong enough to stop it...
What about all the innocent families in the city? How many families would be torn apart? How could she allow something like that to happen to them?
She swallowed a few drops of rain as she tried to cope with the slippery floor.
Her ears caught a sharp little tick-tock, again they were going to throw explosive spheres at her, she had to get out of the way before...
The warm rays of the sun hit Luz directly in the face, waking her up abruptly.
"Ugh, Mom! Five more minutes!"
Luz tried to hide in her blankets uselessly, as her mother was already sitting on the edge of her bed, gently pulling away from each layer of cloth.
"Nop, you've slept enough. If you don't get up you'll be late for school."
"Mom, the fun of living close to the school is being able to wake up late and still be on time." Luz groaned, rubbing her eyes.
"Maybe, but today you're going on a trip to B&B Corp, remember?"
Luz opened her eyes at the mention of the school trip.
"The trip was supposed to be on Thursday..."
"Mija, today is Thursday."
"Ah! Mom! The bus is going to leave me!"
Luz got up quickly. How could she forget the school trip? She had been excited since the announcement in her class. B&B Corp was one of the most powerful and important companies in the city (and the world) and almost always had the best technological advances in almost every scientific discipline.
Although Luz mostly enjoyed reading fantasy novels or epic tales, she was still intrigued by the company's work in the area of genetic manipulation. Rumors of animal hybrids resulting from twisted experiments and complicated conspiracies that argued that B&B Corp was developing biological weapons for the government, were always circulating on the Internet.
Luz could not believe that all the rumors were true, but in her mind, she did not rule out that some of them were. The company had always been shrouded in an aura of mystery, yet schools had always gotten guided tours to the labs themselves and no one had ever seen anything truly incriminating.
But maybe Luz could find something, after all, she had always been a very good observer. So she definitely couldn't miss this trip.
Luckily for her, her mom already had everything covered. Breakfast was already on the table when she went down to the dining room, and her lunch and extra food for the trip were already packed in her backpack.
"Remember Luz, no pranks, any attempt to surprise your classmates, don't touch anything that is not authorized, and do not separate from the group." Her mother told her seriously after taking a sip of her coffee.
"I know, Mom. Please don't worry I’ll be totally fine...”
"Cariño, remember that you are under threat from the director. If something like what happened at the art museum happens again..."
"I will no longer be allowed to go on excursions, I know." Luz completes the sentence somewhat discouraged by the warning. What happened that day was honestly bad luck. But for this occasion, she promised herself that she would only observe so nothing really bad could happen.
"But I promise you I will be on my best behavior, zero problems!" she assured her mother with determination as she took her last bite of her toast.
" Hmmm Ok, I trust you, Mija."
Everything was going much better than expected.
Despite the fact that no one had wanted to share the bus seat with her or the simple fact that she was the only person in her group who couldn't talk to anyone about how amazing B&B companies were, Luz had stolen the spotlight from the tour.
From time to time her tour guide would ask questions that (to her pride) Luz was more than happy to answer. Because she knew that camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from sand, that an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain, and that fleas can jump 200 times their own length.
To the jealousy of her classmates, the guide had been more than delighted that Luz was such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable girl about animals, so he had given her several compliments with each of her answers.
And as if it couldn't be better, the guide decided to reward her by giving her the great privilege of feeding a unique species of lizard, used and bred in B&B Corp specifically for tissue regeneration research.
Oh, her classmates must have been jealous now, the lizard looked particularly adorable for an experimental reptile. The guide had taken the specimen out of one of the many glass boxes where there were at least 5 specimens on display in each box.
Luz wasn't even listening to all the explanations the guide was giving at this point, she was going to be able to touch and feed a rare specimen! It was almost in her hands!
And then she felt a tingling in her wrist and saw this bright, hairy legged spider on her arm.