Now Jones may just have been working the Viper Security Systems gig to pay his way through college since a twisted ankle on the practice field cost him a scholarship, but he took the job seriously. Seriously enough to have a go at investigating reports of break-ins and trespassing, anyway; he hoped to get good references for a future career in criminal justice.

Most of the work was collaring drunk freshmen hog-wild with being out from under the apron strings for the first time in 18 years. But the recent rash of calls from Schumann Hall was puzzling. The people there, Engineering and Physics mostly, tended to work long hours and a lot of calls had been coming in about intruders in the building post-9pm, when the doors were locked.

Jones would get the call, respond, and find that the caller had no memory of any intruder.

He suspected crank calls at first, at least until Dr. Chandraputra had called–there was no mistaking that accent. There was also no mistaking the fact that Chandraputra resolutely denied ever having placed the call. Viper, as the security contractor, had access to phone logs; Jones checked and found that the call had indeed been placed. Confronted with that information, Chandraputra had grown quiet and confused.

More calls arrived, gradually building until there seemed to be one every other week. The descriptions were similar: someone was rustling about the building, likely a freshman, likely a girl. They were always more annoyed than scared, and more than one had promised to shoo the offending interloper away before Jones or one of his boys could arrive.

“It’s…I remember placing the call,” one Physics adjunct said when grilled by Jones. “If I really think hard there are…snatches, you know? Images. But the more I think about it, the more I realize there’s a gap, like the time was ripped right out of my memory.”

By then, Jones had resolved to stake out the building himself. If nothing else, he could trust his own memory.

Or so he thought.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!