The Fourteenth Cookie

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5. Embraces, doubts and unseen devices

In virtually no time, the little boy booked himself a flight and the two of them found themselves together once more. Regrettably, from the first few moments they were reunited, it became clear that there was something different about the cookie. Something had occurred during all those tests, the examinations, the probing. The cookie’s way of thinking, her approach to things and to a certain extent her reactions to the little boy, were not the same as before. The boy became sure of that and felt the change in her, right from the start. They were times when the boy would recognize his good old cookie, but most of the time he felt she had turned into someone else. She may have appeared pretty much the same to all other people, but not to the boy. He instead became convinced that her whole thinking process was different from before. He could not pinpoint exactly what had happened, of course. How could he possibly know what was the reason behind all this, the underlying cause of her change?

She frequently seemed distant, lost in her own thoughts, as if she was secretly worried about something. The boy’s efforts to remedy the situation or to simply find a quick solution which would help them, proved to be in vain. They were entirely fruitless. In a matter of days, it became more and more evident that the cookie felt troubled by something serious. By something, because of something, about something…the little boy couldn’t exactly tell. But that unknown something was going to put her at risk and by extension put him at risk too. Regardless of any changes in her mental state and her thinking, the cookie had continued to care deeply for the little boy and he had definitely noticed that. At no point did the boy feel her attachment to him had changed. That was something clearly positive, at least. They had remained as close to each other as ever.

All these thoughts of doubt and angst were accentuated and reached their pinnacle, the day a strange-looking man rang the door bell. It happened at a time of the day when the cookie was not around. His visit didn’t come as a complete surprise, nonetheless. It was a prearranged appointment. The cookie had told the little boy that on a specific day a man in a uniform would come and ask for her. He would have a quick look around the flat and then leave. When that was to happen, the little boy was to simply let the man in, make a note of what he said and afterwards tell the cookie what had taken place. The visit by the unknown man may not have been unexpected, but the affair had a strange vibe to it from the start. When the man arrived, the story went from having strange vibes to being totally bizarre, perhaps also a tad creepy.

So, the man had rung the bell. The little boy opened the door and came face to face with a spine-chilling-looking man. “I was told to be here at 10 o’clock today” said the man. Told by whom, was not clear. “I’m afraid the owner of the flat isn’t here, but she left me instructions on how to proceed, so please do come-in” said the ever-polite, little boy. The man smiled briefly and entered the flat. The uniformed man looked very peculiar, but at the same time had something clearly professional about him. He was not just a man off the street. He didn’t seem like a random person, he was there to do a job. A job which, it felt like, he had a lot of experience in doing. The boy closed the front door and looked at the man who seemed to know in advance exactly where everything was. He moved confidently but not abruptly, walked into the kitchen and in one of the corners, high above everything else and very close to the ceiling, found the relatively small electronic device he was looking for.

The device in question was not hidden or concealed. It just looked as if someone had simply placed it there to be out of the way, tucked away as to not spoil the aesthetics and the ambiance of the place. Hardly anyone would have noticed it had been there. The man turned his head around and gave the little boy a fake smile. It was a very peculiar grin which instilled pure panic into the little boy.
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