"Ruth?" Anna Goldberg stood at the bottom of the stairs. "Ruth? Come down here."
"Yeah Mom." Ruth's voice sounded from her room. "What?"
"Come down here. We need to talk. I'll be in the kitchen."
Anna waited, listening to her daughter as she made her way noisily downstairs.
Ruth looked at the diagrams and medical texts on the kitchen table. "Mom! Do we have to do this?"
"We do," said Anna. "Sit. You need to know this."
Ruth sat and glanced at the diagrams in front of her. "We covered this stuff in biology."
Anna shook her head. "There are things you still don't know. Things they won't teach you."
She patted her daughter's arm. "Now. You told me, this boy, he's interested in you?"
Ruth made a face and nodded her head. "Yeah, he's been nosing around me all week. Every time I turn around, he's there."
Her mother pursed her lips. "Well, remember that girl, Jenna? We can't let him do to you what he did to her. Can we?"
Ruth shook her head. She was too busy studying the diagrams in front of her to answer. "These," she said pointing to what had caught her interest, "these are--"
"--pressure points," said Anna. "And these," she continued, her finger touching several points on the diagram, "are paralysis points. You need to press carefully though. Do it too harshly, you leave bruises."
"That wouldn't be good," said Ruth.
"No," said Anna. "There's little value in getting caught."
She pointed to another diagram.
"See here? If you inject enough air, it can kill. It's difficult though. It can take a lot of air to get the bubble just right."
She pointed to other vulnerable areas. "Here, a little and you can cause a stroke. There can cause severe tissue damage."
Ruth grinned. "Oh, he wouldn't like that, not there."
She continued looking through the information in front of her.
"Slivers of glass? We actually have some?"
"Yes," said Anna, "we have. It takes time, you need to be patient. But, one of those in the bloodstream...one day it reaches the heart." She shrugged.
Ruth looked up. "Dad," she said. "He died of a heart attack, didn't he?"
Anna spoke quietly. "Yes, Ruth. He did. It was necessary."
She pulled her shawl more closely around her and looked at her daughter.
"Now you know how black widows got their name."