Detective Jacob Umari was not about to spend another late night going through case files of missing person reports, his expertise. He was ordered by his superior officer that a total clean out of the old room had to be done. This was asked of him and a team of twelve other officers and case workers five weeks ago. The task was daunting, but worth the dusty shelves causing hay fever in some of the crew. A whole host of files dating back to the early 1800s had been unearthed in countless old boxes, some made of wood laden with dents, scratches and some covered in old spider nests with dried up, but still sticky egg sacks. It was quite serious work, but everyone had to pitch in. Even if that meant some had to work alone at late night like Jacob.
Picking through one of the old boxes at his desk, a fellow officer knocked on the desk startling him. “Sorry about that,” the man chuckled, Jacob giving him a half forced smirk, “Just wanted to let you know you can head home early.” Looking at his cell phone for the time, “In about ten minutes actually. Tell Abby I said hi.”
Wide-eyed at the unexpected news, Jacob rushed through the last few files and placed them in the proper new filing box labeled – 1850 to 1860 Missing Adult Females. Rushing back over to his desk, he gathered his dark blue coat swinging it around to slip his arms through. Behind the closed doors of the office, down the hall, Jacob could hear foot steps and conversation coming down the way. The night shift was about ready to start.
Slipping into the old file room, where he and the other twelve officers and clerks had been working for five weeks, he looked around back at the shelves he was stationed to work through. There were three boxes left. Signing his name on a clipboard to sign out from this room of his work, he turned back to the three boxes for a moment. Stepped forward and from the corner of his eye to the right, he caught a glimpse of a long pale blond-haired man wearing a trench coat step into the file room.
Startled, Jacob acknowledged the man, “You’re not supposed to be here. How did you get in here?” he had never seen the man before in any of the offices or halls of the Boston FBI agency.
“That box you put your hand on, go through that one last time,” the man asked, directing his gaze to the box and nodding slightly.
“I’m leaving for the night. I’ll work on this tomorrow,” a sense of unease crept up around Jacob as he found his fingers searching in the box of files for him. The urge to go through the pages for just a moment began to excite Jacob.
Slipping out a few pages of old heavy parchment and a few old photos, Jacob’s eyes widened at the image of a long pale blond haired young man in the black and white photograph. “Is this what you wanted me to find?” Reading what was written in cursive on the file: Lowell, Massachusetts. A tingle drifted through his fingers and down his spine as he lifted the file from the box. “This case is closed. Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked calmly, lifting the heavy parchment out a little trying to read the words written in oxidized ink. Upon closer inspection, he saw the words were in ancient Gaelic and Latin. Looking up from the folder toward the tall man again, the only response was a slow nod before he turned away, his black trench coat trailing behind. Running after him out the room, he saw the current night shift crew settling in for the night and the mysterious trench coat man had disappeared. Swiftly looking down the hall both directions, Jacob concluded the man had most certainly disappeared. Taking out his cell phone, Jacob speed dialed his friend Frankie.
“I think I’m going to need your help on this,” slipping the file folder under his coat, Jacob made his way to the elevator. “Could you meet me at the Commons in three days? I know it’s short notice, but I really need your help. This whole mess just got a lot more complicated. I feel her presence. She’s near.” Jacob spoke with nervous speed.
Pulling into the driveway of his house, the car lights illuminating the closed garage door, the porch light clicked on the moment his wife Abby stepped outside. She was keeping their three-year-old daughter from running toward him afraid she may run out into the neighborhood street. Smiling at his wife, he shuffled the collection of folders and heavy papers under his coat making sure none of them fell out onto the damp pathway to the front door.
Abby giving Jacob a quick kiss on the lips in greeting, their daughter Amanda ran back inside giggling as she went, throwing herself onto the tan carpeted floor in front of her brightly colored plastic building blocks and other toys. Closing the front door after he stepped in, Abby eyed the bulging bundle under his coat.
“What’d you have there, sweetie?”
Not taking off his coat, Jacob remembered the strict rule his wife of six years, so far, had drilled into his mind since he began working at the beau in Boston – No work-related material is allowed in this house, not even if your superior says you can. While at the same time, he could not lie to her at any cost since this was the first time he broke that house rule that was so strictly enforced by his loving wife.
Swallowing his nerves, he motioned for Abby to the dining table. Placing the tan folder, which looked to be falling apart, onto the table before he took off his coat. “I had to bring these home because...” he trailed off knowing what she’d say next.
“You had another one of those feelings and dreams again, didn’t you?” Abby expressed worry toward him, rubbing his arm reassuringly. Jacob nodded, “The last time you had one of these moments was a few days after I told you I was pregnant with Amanda.”
Jacob didn’t answer. He just stood there staring at the pile of old papers and the few pages of heavy parchment and photos. Something about the photo made his body shiver. Gently slide out the black and white photo, his hand shaking, he realized the man he saw in the filing room looked a whole lot like the man in this photo. ‘Could it be a relative?’ he thought just as Abby broke his concentration and silence with coffee being poured into a cup.
Since Jacob was very young he had a sense about him that he could feel the presence of the dead. Not exactly like clairvoyance, but something different. This ability to sense a missing person was not just a trait he alone possessed. This trait had been passed down from mother to child for fifteen generations since the 1400s in Feudal era Japan. If this ability went further back than this, family records were probably lost.
Handing him the cup of coffee, “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not sure. I don’t know what’s going on here. Something’s different unlike the other times dealing with a missing person,” taking a gentle sip from his cup, he held one of the three heavy parchments.
“That looks like Gaelic and Latin,” Abby commented looking closer.
“It is and something else, too. Some kind of runes, but they don’t look anything like Norse to me.” As part of his minor studies at Boston University, Jacob took up ancient written languages of Norwegian, Gaelic and Latin. It was only for some extra class credits, something that interested him, but never did he think it would come to any use nowadays. “I don’t understand. How could an ancient parchment be mixed in with these 19th-century photos and hospital papers?”
“Maybe you should take it to a professional to get them tested to be sure they are as old as you think they are,” Abby suggested, as she checked in on little Amanda who was still playing with her toys in the living room.
Looking across the living room at the clock on the wall, “It’s nearly eight o’clock, maybe I could give the professor a quick call.”
Jacob called up the professor on Skype right away.
“What brings you this late to call me, Mr. Umari?” the man asked, pleased to be talking with one of his past students.
“I have this old parchment I found at work,” lifting it up and showing to the camera, making sure the document was in focus. “Can you see it?”
“Yes. I can also see the Gaelic and Latin, but I don’t recognize those rune scripts. Why don’t I come over to your house tomorrow to take a closer look. Is that okay with you and the misses?”
“Sure, professor,” Abby chimed from the living room as she got up to join the conversation in Jacob’s study. “Jacob has tomorrow off for a friend’s birthday party in the late afternoon. You can come over in the morning, say around eleven sound good?” Jacob smiled at his wife, seeing the excitement in her eyes to be part of this possible discovery if anything unique came about these three parchments.