See Jack Hunt

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Chapter 22

ALG office.

Saturday morning, July 14th . . .

We dropped off all of our equipment last night, along with our quick versions of the story for Billtruck to interpret. He had all night to take the film and run it through the different software that we have at the office. After that we all headed back to the loft and crashed out.

This morning we’re doing the post-mortem inquiry. That is to say, we’re going back through the tape, looking for any interesting occurrences, trying to find evidence of the paranormal. We figure, with everything else that happened, we might just have ourselves a bona fide haunting in that house.

Billtruck and Ricky have reviewed the tapes and nothing raised any flags. The Full-Spectrum camera’s film is taking a bit longer to load up, but the Thermal Imaging camera and the Standard camera seems to show nothing of consequence. The only freaks running through that house last night were us. Mostly me, in fact.

So my job, when the film is ready to scan, is to click my way through the few hours that we had the cameras on, and see if anything comes up. I think they just gave me an easy job so I’d stay out of the way of the real work—monitoring the EVP from the wireless microphones.

They’re using all sorts of complex devices and filters to sift through the 12 different recorded tracks made by the wireless microphones. The files, Billtruck said, were much bigger in the attic microphones and the master bedroom.

This, doesn’t make sense to me.

All of that vibrating and rattling upstairs should have had all the mics going nutzo. Not one or the others, but all of them. I have a whole mess of questions for them, but they seem content to let the filtering software work its magic while they head out for Mexican food at On the Border. They offered to take me, but I’m actually looking forward to some alone time.

Ms. Josephine is coming by later, after she tends to her shop. She probably has all kinds of rituals to do, and spider legs to mix into soups and various other concoctions I don’t want to imagine.

My right hand is on the mouse, just clicking my way through the segments of Standard and Thermal video. I’m looking at the staircase, and the second floor hallway, from the living room. It looks different on the flat screen in front of me. It looks like some place I’ve never been. Then I see me walking by.

And I’ve got to admit, I look pretty good in black-n-white, and green-n-grey. I’m a warm spot in an otherwise cold picture of the house. This could be blueprints it’s so sketchy and unnatural. But, it is as close as our technology will get to tracking our invisible monsters.

I’ve clicked through about fifteen clips of video when I think I see something. It looks like there is a shadow of somebody near the kid’s bedroom door, and then it’s gone. I go back, slowing the clip down, taking my time. Now I’m rolling the frames back one at a time, the time and date stamped at the bottom right of the screen.

And right when the sun seemed to be gone, the shadow seems to flash by. But then, here I come with my flashlight and everything disappears. I play it over and over, each time looking for some way to explain it. I’m so close to the screen that I’m probably getting a brain tumor from the radiation. But as I continue to inspect it, I realize that it is probably just a shadow cast by my halogen light.

Damn. That would have been cool to find a ghost while Ricky and Billtruck are out to lunch. I could hold that over their heads forever.

Anyway, I mark down the time of the footage, and the appropriate numbers at the bottom of the screen so that we can go back at a later time and check this with the other cameras. The idea to this, as explained by Billtruck, is that the Standard camera and Thermal Imaging camera capture what’s really happening. Then, the Full-Spectrum camera takes everything and lays it together, along with several types of visual that we humans cannot possibly have.

We’ll be able to look at heat signatures, and really check out the far corners of visible and invisible light. See, the spectral regions adjacent to the visible band are often referred to as light, but also you search the infrared at the one end and ultraviolet at the other. Since light is so fast—299,792 kilometers per second—we need really expensive cameras to break it down and study it.

I think all of this stuff is just really cool. Seven months ago I was an intellectual infant. And look at me now, studying sections of the light wave for ghosts and scary things that I’ll probably never find.

I look at my watch, and then I look down, lifting the collar of my shirt so that I can see down my chest and stomach at my new tattoos. They’re not itching too much right now, and I’ve kept from scratching them. This should look really neat when I cross over and see Deadsiders again.

I turn and look across our office. Now, it’s more of a research facility. It’s taking on it’s own personality. I could be in some lab at Langley, getting ready to plan some mission for the CIA. Or at a secret North Korean facility, covertly enriching fissionable materials against the wishes of the UN.

The shiny computer screens. The black rolling chairs. Our quiet room. If Ricky’s right, we have enough computing power to take over the free world. I close my eyes and just listen to the hum, buzz, hiss, and clicks that all the machines in here collectively make. And then I hear this knocking sound.

I stand up quickly, hoping that none of the super-expensive computers are trying to take a nosedive without Billtruck and Ricky around. There’s nothing I can do to salvage them, and I was expressly told never to unplug anything. They have all sorts of power supplies, and surge protectors, and fail-safes for the fail-safes.

“If it catches on fire and burns,” Billtruck said, “ . . . then let it. It’s supposed to.”

I walk towards one of the supercomputers, hoping the knock will stop. Thankfully it does. I breathe a sigh of relief and then I hear it again. But, coincidentally, a few feet down is the front door to the office. I’m fairly certain somebody is knocking at the door.

Cool, that’s way better than a meltdown that I can only watch happen.

I go to the door, open it, and I am completely stunned. I have no words. I’m dumbfounded. My mouth, I think it’s hanging open like a retard, and if I don’t get myself together I’m going to slobber.

I wave my hand like a mental patient answering for roll call.

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