The gloomy streets writhing in narrow and dark alleys were lashed by heavy rain colored tar, while the windows of the buildings emit a warm glow of light, some so far away to look like stars hidden under the black mantle of the clouds. Krasnya and Neckar ventured discreetly into one of those tight alleys, ignoring the intense smell of mixed rubbish and smoke, heading towards a little local inconspicuous, at the corner between the end of that road and the intersection with a bigger street. Usually Berlin spent her nights there. Being the kind of person who didn’t like trouble, she had chosen to hide in a seedy bar so as to be worthy to be called nightclub. Unfortunately, although it was never her intention, Berlin had the incredible ability of being always in the wrong place and at the wrong time; in all the worst things that had to happen, she was always there to see. That made her an excellent informant and at the same time the target of many.
They found her at the counter, in the corner of the local as usual; as always she was exploiting her long blonde hair to hide her face. She had a glass still full of cognac in front of her.
“Berlin! Long time no see!” Krasnya caught her by surprise suddenly appearing behind her; before Berlin could turn, she had already banged her head on the counter, holding her locked in that uncomfortable position. Under pressure from the bony hand and thin arm, slender but full of nerves, Berlin had no chance to fight back.
“what the ... Krasnya! Dearest Krasnya! What are you doing here?” she replied, terrified.
“visit a friend, don't see?” she replied with a kindly hypocritical tone.
“weren't you in prison?”
“they let me go out because of lack of evidence. Moreover, I was innocent, and you know it well, don’t?”
“Certainly! And believe me, I've done all I can to get you out! I even talked with psychologists to convince them that you were telling the truth”
“pity that psychologists were always to me, and I've never seen you one time in those parts”
“what? You'll not be thinking I forgot about you !? Of course not! I would come to find you many times”
“yes, yes … of course” Krasnya increased her strength in the arm holding her head blocked above the counter.
“ughh! ... Krasnya, they were dissecting your brain to figure out if you were a psychopath! They couldn't get me in, especially knowing that I was your friend. I tried to approach you, really, but at night you were underneath a bunker and at day you were into a lab”
Krasnya narrowed her eyes at the memory of those continuous transfers. They were coming to her at six o'clock in the morning, if she was sleeping they dragg her until she was wake, then they kept pulling her up to the van; if they found she awake, they hitting her so she couldn't react. That's because the third day they tried to bring her to the lab, she had reacted by breaking a chair on a guard and attacking the other, forcing him to run to the emergency room. When they could close she in the van, parked inside an underground cell because she couldn't see the outside environment, she had to wait half an hour before the doors opened, already inside the labs. The van had no windows, except those near the driving seat, that she couldn't see.
“go on ... ” told Krasnya after that dramatic memory.
“the best I could do was to make sure of your state of health through a guard, which I've offered a bribe”
“ah yeah? And did tell you how I was?”
“he just told me that you were fine and that the doctors were taking care of you”
Furious Krasnya pulled her up and approached her for whisper to her ear.
“bet they haven't talked about endless interrogations. About sadistic and insane psychiatrists. About electroshocks. And about all other wonderful tortures that have inflicted on me ... for a crime I didn't commit!” she lifted the coat sleeve, showing a wrist deeply marked by a black scar “they tied me to a chair with iron wire and every time I said I was innocent they beat me, or electrocute. And you know, in the end, to make them happy what I had to do? Confessed. Yeah, I told them that I killed that sixteen-year-old boy by shooting him to the head and then throwing him in the river … even though I've never owned that gun, never saw that boy and that night was out of this damned town. When I told them that, left me in peace” her contemptuous look could have fulminate anyone who had been, for mistake, in front of her “seen how they do it? Torture if you're innocent, if you're a killer, leave in peace in your cell. Isn't sadly ridiculous?”
“I'm sorry, Krasnya. I've done everything possible”
Neckar intervened “sorry to interrupt your friendly conversation, but we're here for informations. Maybe you could help us”
Krasnya left the grip, allowing Berlin to sum up a normal position. The informant looked at Neckar, imagining what he would say.
“Marquer is again in circulation”
“I know” Berlin's reply was so passive that it seemed like the recorded voice of a computer.
“why? Why isn’t he in prison?”
“everything happened so fast … after the release of Krasnya, an anonymous denounced Marquer and they began to question him immediately. After the questioning, though the evidences were overwhelming, Marquer's contacts with the bulk of the government forced the judges to declare him not guilty”
Krasnya looked up to the sky, with an angry smile of contempt “as usual. Inside the innocents, and out the guilty”
“Krasnya is right, Berlin. How could they released him when it was all against?”
“that's how thinks justice”
“that's why we're here. To clean up things with justice”
“if the justice which you are talking about is the one in your head, Krasnya, I doubt you’ll can find an agreement”