“I understand your concerns,” Lee said his hands folded in front of him. “That’s why I’m here.”

“That’s funny,” Mr. Charles DeWitt, Senior. said. “It seems to me like you’re there to do nothing while our boy is missing.” He rapidly and nervously tapped one leg on the stained hardwood floor, producing a rhythmic series of sharp clacks with the heel of his cowboy boot. Vice-Chancellor Lee was clearly bugged by this, sneaking a wide-eyed glance at the offending noise every few seconds.

“What Chuck means is, we’re very worried about our son, and we feel like every minute we’re here in your office is a minute we could be spending looking for him.” Charlene De Witt said. Like her husband, she was making a nervous sound–legs crossed, she was popping one stiletto on and off her left heel. Lee observed with pursed lips that, as far as nervous tics went, the DeWitts were made for each other.

“I understand and agree, Mrs. DeWitt,” said Lee in his most conciliatory tone. “But what you have to understand is that Charles Jr.-”

“Hunter,” Mr DeWitt snapped. “We call him Hunter.”

“Oh. He goes by his middle name?”

“He does not go by Llewellyn, no. It’s a nickname he got after he took down his first buck. Now, what are you doing about his disappearance?”

“As the Vice-Chancellor of Occult Affairs, I can assure you that…Hunter…is in no danger,” Lee said. “As I pointed out in my email, he’s merely been confined to the Mirror Realm. We can see him just fine, most often in the 18th-century mirror in the University Museum. It’s getting him to cross back over that’s been a bit more difficult.”

“I don’t see why not,” Mrs. DeWitt said. “Break the mirror. Hunter’s good at that. Took out a Tiffany when he was twelve.”

Mr. DeWitt sighed. “You never would let that do. Your daughter wrecked the car, but no, it’s always about Hunter and that Tiffany mirror. He didn’t know it was loaded, it was an honest mistake!”

“Please, please,” Lee said, hands now outstretched. If he was going to be a marriage counselor, the university really needed to let him charge by the hour. “If we shatter the mirror, that may eject your son into the Shadow Realm, which is even more difficult. We’re also not sure if the mirror is a necessary material component of the spell to return him.”

“So I’ll ask again: what are you doing, other than stalling?” Mr. DeWitt said. The tapping of his boot had increased in both frequency and pitch, and Lee was seriously tempted to unmount the golf club on the wall behind him and Tonya Harding the problem.

“We are waiting for a specialist,” Lee said. “Mr. Darkhollow is the university’s preferred contractor for issues like this. He freed that girl from Stella Delacroix’s amulet last year. And of course the exorcism of the plague demon from the Hatchley Residential Complex stands on its own.”

“What if we, ah…” Mrs. DeWitt began.

“We hired our own paranormal investigator,” her husband said. The tapping of his cowboy boot reached a fever pitch. “They can assist your Mr. Darkhollow when and if he arrives.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. DeWitt, but that’s simply not-”

“We hired our own lawyer, too,” Mr. DeWitt added. “He’s told us just how much the university will owe us if we decide to take my grandfather’s name off of DeWitt Hall.”

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