JANNET IS AN EMPATH. SHE HAS HYPERSENSITIVITY TO PLACES AND to people. Jannet is also a synesthete. Synesthesia is a condition or capability of cross-sensorial processing. One sensory experience can trigger another different sensory experience; seeing colors when listening to a conversation, hearing sounds while reading words, experiencing tactile responses when listening to music, and many other types of cross-sensorial experiences. Her empathic hypersensitivity and her sensory crossover experience have slowly but surely increased during the past several years and this combination has resulted in a greatly heightened psychic capacity. In the streets, during her daily walks, on some occasions, Jannet sometimes will intrinsically enables a form of protection shield; she visualizes it as thin paned window, as a barrier for particularly intense sensory experiences. Regarding intense sensory experiences; on rare outings, in the streets of Madrid, the Embajadores sector usually, she might elect to open up herself as an experiment, with care, to open completely, to past or recently past experiences, which may have a strong lingering residual presence.
It is normative for her, when walking about, to just simply experience everyday sounds, sights, impressions, and sensations, in her unique fashion, but usually with some element of filtering or detachment.
Three police investigators are huddled at a table in a large room. This room is regarded as a situation room for one of two units that is tasked with working cold cases for the Madrid police department, Policía General. In less than four weeks, the three have been the recipients of four anonymous computer-typed letters. The letters consist of no return address and no signer and no traceable prints or DNA. The letters have caused a fury of activity within their team, of seven or eight members, because these letters are responsible for providing new leads which have sparked new searches for evidence regarding specific cold cases. The new evidential searches are yielding results. There is, obviously, a keen interest in the sender of the letters but a search for the sender has been deemed too elusive, for now. Even though there has been a tentative review of surveillance camera footage from the locations of the posted letters. This process has turned out to be a time-consuming and useless one and any further search for the sender, of the letters, has been abandoned for now.
There is more concern about the contents of each of the four single-paged letters. Some of the details, which is presented about the cold cases, is new information. There is also mystification about the unusual photographic visual depictions of the original crime scenes, from the past, that is imprinted at the bottom of each of the four letters. The perspective is unusual although beneficial. It is a view of the crime scene hovering from above, as if the photograph was taken from a position on the ceiling looking straight down upon the scene, with an extreme wide-angle lens. The three primary investigators, two men and a woman, are equally impressed and perplexed.
Jannet’s tenure in Madrid has occurred through a series of circuitous paces. The American woman has wanted to spend time overseas, in South America or Europe, for the past several years. But she had been entangled in a looping cycle when it came to making a definitive decision about her various options; in order words, she never really finalized a choice. Initially most of the options involved spending time in one of various possible South American countries. She wanted to visit a Spanish speaking nation because she does have a serviceable competency of Spanish, with speaking and listening, because of her upbringing. Her late father was Hispanic and he was fluent in Spanish.
The end result, of her procrastination, was that Jannet had not traveled anywhere outside of the United States. This dilemma was solved one day, earlier this year, when she was browsing in her favorite bookstore on West Burnside in downtown Portland. She experienced a sudden urge to visit the travel section. When she arrived, in the travel section, she discovered a travel book casually mislaid on the aisle floor. The subject of travel book was Madrid, Spain.
On her current visit to Spain, Jannet elects to have a blend of a tourist and a non-tourist experiences. She has booked rooms in an apartment hotel, in La Embajadores, and she concentrates on getting to know this particular sector of the city as much as possible. She walks, she takes buses or the metro, she patronizes the area businesses, she enjoys the parks, and she frequents the bars and restaurants and cinemas, and so on; as if she actually is a resident and not only a tourist. She does enjoy indulging in some of the more touristy sites but overall she dearly treasures her ordinary everyday experiences of Madrid. She has also specifically made time for a few visits to the LGBT neighborhoods of Chueca and Justicia, which are easily accessed by the Metro.
Jannet had allowed herself the luxury of an access to an internally generated holographic language translation capability during her first week in Madrid. The English translation would simply and invisibly float in front of the person speaking Spanish. Jannet also intuited that the translation capability would work on any language. However, Jannet did eventually suppress the capability because it did not allow her improve her own natural Spanish speaking, listening, and comprehension abilities. She is still nonetheless surprised and a little dismayed at her frequent struggles with the language despite growing up with Spanish in her home and despite her studies in school.
Jannet had developed a habit of avoiding areas, during her lifetime, in which she perceives the presence of a particularly intense jolt of heavy energy, as she characterizes it. This presence of heavy energy, from her perspective, could initiate the onset of an intense and complex mix of sensorial responses, on her part. In Portland she can instantly become aware when she is nearby or when she is approaching a particularly traumatic energy zone or area. These areas tend to be locations where a traumatic human and/or natural event has occurred and Jannet can detect a massive residual effect emanating from such areas; so she normally avoids those areas. Frequently her initial contact is in the form of a visual projection that will form in front her. This projection is usually in the image of stop sign or a warning sign, these holographic advisories allow her the option to bypass the potentially upsetting scene/location.
It was somewhat regular during her first week of explorations in Madrid, and during her first ever trip outside of the states, that she would encounter holographic advisory signs. It was outside her usual norms if she elected to bypass the advisories and to investigate. Nonetheless she did tentatively decide to investigate, on a few occasions. This happened because she posed the question to herself, ‘what is it like to actually be present in such distressing situations or locales? And what might be discovered?’
Jannet experiments spontaneously, one day, in the La Lavídes neighborhood. She takes an incorrect street on the way to an ethnic restaurant, which she is curious about, and she encounters a holographic stop sign. Her natural instinct is to turn around but she elects to move forward. This assertion leads her to an alleyway and that leads her to the rear of a seemingly abandoned building. She seamlessly closes her eyes and allows herself to be present in the location that she is standing behind. This process involves a form of psychological stepping back and she simultaneously erects a large holographic glass window as a membrane between her and the experience of this location. The initial edge of the experience has a bitter metallic taste and the atmospheric pressure, around her, thickens. There are random amplified urban and human sounds, and there is then a crystal clear vibrant visual of a scene from the past. When she wonders about the when, the where, and the why of this scene, the information is provided, it is floating in the air, in large block letters.
Jannet has several of these distressing but illuminating experiences during her tenure in Madrid and she journals about them. She discovers that if she desires visuals to accompany the texts, then a visual image will impress itself on the page of the journal entry. So far, she has elected to send four of these entries, in the form of a letter, to the Madrid police, because she felt that the contents of the four particular journal entries, did potentially illustrate circumstances of a serious commission of a crime.
On the second to last day of her last week in Madrid, Jannet is startled. She is at the bathroom mirror in her rooms, dreaming of a frittata and café con leche for breakfast at a nearby café, when she sees in the mirror a dark silhouette floating behind her. She quickly turns but there is no one and no thing behind her. She searches her rooms; there is no one and nothing to be found. So back to mirror, for some final cosmetic touches before departing, and there is the figure again. Floating. It is dark, dark, hue. This is a silhouette of a human figure, very similar to the one floating figure that she saw days ago in the storeroom at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales. This figure is more complete and has some amount of dimensionality or depth, although not much, and it moves, in its upper body regions, in a similar fashion to that of a breathing living person. She turns quickly behind herself again and there is emptiness behind her and then turns back to the mirror and it is there again visually. But soon after it starts to fades. She watches it fades to nothingness, she watches this unusual process, in the bathroom mirror.
On the last day of her last week in Madrid, Jannet is frantic. During 7 weeks, in her exquisite apartment hotel room, she had developed a smooth routine with the anonymous letters, there were 4 sent to date. However, there is a fifth letter, it is sourced from an especially vivid experiential walkabout near a strange residence a few blocks from the Plaza de Santa Ana, in the Huertas district and not far from the popular Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol locales. But today, her last day, she has misplaced the fifth and final letter and she reasons that it has to be somewhere in her rooms. She does scour her rooms several times but no luck. Then her phone sounds.
“Senorita Russman?” A thick voice is inquiring.
“Si, soy yo.” she replies in a breathy voice.
“I also can speak English; this is the carrier for DHL. I am here for the parcels.”
“Can you up from my rooms?”
“Yes. The room number is?”
“I am in room 319, at the end of hallway. And thanks!”
Jannet has three parcels ready for pick up, they are items purchased in Spain. She has two bags for the airport, a carry-on and one large rolling bag that will be checked into baggage. She also has her large over-the-shoulder purse. Her technology equipment is tucked into the carry-on. But Jannet is frantic. She has to deal with the DHL man and then soon after, she must catch the van shuttle to the airport; and still there is no sign of the errant letter.
The process with the DHL man is rapid despite the number of forms to sign. He places the parcels in his two-wheel handcart, bids goodbye and leaves. As soon as he leaves, her phone rings again.
“Senorita Russman?” This is the hotel manager, Adaluz, inquiring.
“Yes, hi Adaluz.”
“The airport van is here. A bit early, que no?” She does speak English but slowly & very deliberately.
“No hay de que. I will be down in 10 minutes?”
“Muy bien. I will inform the van driver. And do you need help with your baggage?”
“No. Wait. Actually Adaluz, I think that I would like some help.”
“Ok. Right away. Gracias.”
There is time for one hastier sweep of the rooms in the apartment hotel and it yields the same results, that is, no final letter to be found. She reluctantly rationalizes that the letter must have been included accidentally in one of the three parcels that she packed and sealed for shipment back to the states. She chastises herself for not quickly reopening the three parcels when she had an earlier opportunity, prior to the arrival of the DHL man.
Despite the rationalization, Jannet obsesses over the matter in the elevator to the lobby with the porter and her baggage. After she has perused and paid the final hotel billing and tipped the baggage helper, she offers a thoughtful goodbye and thanks to a gracious Adaluz, who is the manager and the adult daughter of one of the owners of the apartment hotel. She obsesses again, about the missing letter, on the drive, in the van, to the airport and again in the sluggish long customs’ line at the airport. She must have appeared nervous to the official there because she was chosen to have her bags thoroughly searched. Subsequently after she has checked in at the ticket desk and checked her large bag, and because her mind is distracted she then slips and falls on her way to sit down in the waiting area. She is not hurt, although slightly embarrassed, and she is actually more dismayed by the severe scuff on a recently purchased pair of pricey European boots.
Jannet is anxious to return home, to Portland, and to retrieve her parcels to verify that the letter is not lost. Finally, she boards the plane, the flight leaves on time. It is a direct flight to New York City, La Guardia airport. She has less than an hour layover and then a second flight, on the second leg of her travel to Oregon. She has a reservation with an airport shuttle upon her arrival at the Portland International airport. Once she is home in Portland, and only then, will she start to relax.
Impressions of Madrid floats through her mind as she traveled by plane back to the states. Jannet recalls Madrid as an impressive European capital. It is probably as impressive and distinctive as any of the other great capitals on that continent. The juxtaposition of modern and traditional architecture, the massive public structures, the parks, and the churches are striking. She finds the food dazzling, although she is a little cautious of some of the more exotic seafood offerings, and she finds the atmosphere of the dark cozy bars and restaurants to be inviting. To her, it seems a city of yellow and brown facades, and sparkling greens. It is a great city for walking, especially in the city center. She appreciates that most people dress up in Madrid, especially because she enjoys clothing although she is generally quite casual in her attire. It seems to her to be a city of grace. By far, her favorite part of the city is the vicinity of the Gran Via in central Madrid, which features early 20th century Art Deco styled architectural buildings, and an endless array of shops, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.
It has been the same maid, who has cleaned Jannet’s rooms, at the apartment hotel, three times a week for seven weeks. Therefore, the two women did have several cordial exchanges. The maid, today, anticipates a large tip upon entering the room, soon after the long-term occupant has departed. She is not disappointed. She has hoped for seventy Euros, at least. There is an envelope on the small table which is positioned near the front door. It has her name on it and it contains hundred-forty Euros. The maid is extremely pleased but also notices a second envelops that is gently stuck behind the first one. It is easy to separate the two envelopes and the second one is already sealed with a mailing address and with sufficient postage for mailing. It does not have a return address. The maid, after the completion of the cleaning of the rooms, descends to the first floor of the hotel, uses the hotel address stamp to stamp the envelope and she puts the letter in the outgoing mail basket.
It takes about two days for the fifth letter to arrive to the police. The fifth letter is received by the three investigators, in general investigations, whose primary assignments are cold cases, that is, unsolved cases that have been reopened. The investigators are two males in their mid-30s, Umberto Chaves Ramirez and Carlos Jon Reyes. The third investigator is a woman; she is recently 51, Mari Belen Miramartes. Mari Belen, who is sometimes referred to as Mabel has taken over 20 years to earn investigator level while her male counterparts have achieved the distinction in only ten years. Nevertheless, the three are a companionable, coordinated, and highly effective team.
The team had received and had investigated exhaustively the four previous anonymous letters which did consequently lead to the discovery of new information and eventually to some solid arrests related to some of these cases. This followed much painstaking gathering of collaborating evidence and interviews. Now with the arrival of the fifth letter, with a return address, the investigators can potentially discover the identity of the person who is responsible for the letters and the person who is the source of the revelatory details about these crimes.