The forms laid out before him, completed. But now only the information within his own mind was telling the truth. Goodstone checked his own notes again, quickly scanning his shorthand and comparing them to the report index. He remembered writing down both sets of information. The original, and now the altered. Memories overlapping each other, both correct.
The recorded video logs on the dvd’s had nothing but snow recorded onto them, as well as a claim from Vice stating they ordered a stack of blank disks but did not find them. There were the original records of the 53 people, now hailing from all across the planet. Inexplicably, other records were altered. Family histories were now branched, a marriage here, a job change there, entire groups of people suddenly had history that were not there before. Even the name of the original construction crew for the library had changed.
And within the span of three hours, the remaining 40 people were no longer alive. Each and everyone dead from accident, heart attacks. The only thing tying them together was that they all died together. Each one of them with another person from the list. In some circumstances, their own history was so altered, that Goodstones inquiry was questioned from the local police.
Forces not measurable or combatable were at work here.
Just to be on the safe side, Goodstone went for a quick scan at the medical lab. But as he got the ‘all clear’ from the reports, he began questioning things yet again. For a moment, he was tempted to go talk to the department psychologist. It could be that these alterations in history and gathered data were all in his own mind. Or by his own hand. But he knew there was no motivation for himself to do this.
So far everything in this investigation was a series of improbable events with no apparent cause of how…or why.
The entire six hours of recording information into forms was more of a chore than anything else. But it forced him to sign out an infamous red file envelope. It was these files that earmarked strange or unusual events that could not be explained. These files were good for cross referencing cases with no leads. Patterns would emerge from the masses of data, eventually. But for now, there was not much that Goodstone could do.
He paused for a moment, about to close the file and submit his initial report when his eye caught the rolodex. There was one card sticking out amongst all the others. Pulling it from the listing, he saw the name.
Hartlan, private investigator.
Quick work of dialing the phone, he waited, and surprisingly yelped at the blast of sound squelching that came from it.
“Yer live an’ on the air wit Hartlan, what’s on your mind caller?” The voice of the celt was yelling over the howling wind.
“It’s Goodstone, you remember our talk last night?”
There was a pause, even the office fax machine cycled down.
“Aye.” There was a slight hint of caution in Hartlan’s voice.
“Tell me, how old was that thing you sensed?” Goodstone picked up the salt shaker and studied it.
“Think proto being, something that came before our world.”
“So why would it be stopped by salt?”
“Good question. Hold on a second.” Rory yelled as Watson held the phone away from himself as the sound of combat, magics and explosions came from the other side. There was a wet splatting sound and laughing as Watson tentatively brought the receiver back to the side of his head.
“Aye, still here. Right then, question, was good. Salt! I think it wouldn’t be stopped by salt. I think it would respect the ritual as it comes from the old ways of doing things.”
“But this isn’t a magic or religious, and as for scientific…”
“Agreed. It dinna make sense. Listen Goodstone, it’s just the way things are. Just part o’ the rules. I’ll send ye a consulting bill tomorrow.” Rory said then ended the phone call.
Goodstone tapped the top of the file with his brass pen, then with quick movements put the official seal on the red envelope and dropped it on the mail cart. He wondered if his own memories would be altered over time. He knew and it felt true that he did write down the addresses of each 53 people.
He stared at his cold coffee and ignored the rest of the office, brow furrowed in concentration. When he pulled out the requisition forms for a full scientific scan, a battered package was delivered onto his desk. The box itself looked worn and beat, the cardboard barely holding shape. Oil and dirt smudges showing multiple handprints.
Goodstone turned the box over, and looked at it. The shipping address showed his old fire station in Boston. Seemed that it got lost a couple of times, couriers passed it onto the next. Opening it, he found several files, photos and forensics reports.
His heart rate quickened, when he saw the listed suspect.
Goodstone reached for the phone again, then spotted his file on the mail cart. New evidence of Burner… He returned the papers back in the way that he found them. Grabbing a larger evidence bag, he put the box into it, wrote a quick note and sent it to forensics. It would be quicker to take it down to the forensics lab himself, and do up statements, get the briefing together for those who had not read the file-
But the case was closed.
Watson looked at both the file and the box on the cart. Standing up, he clipped his gun and badge to his belt and headed out of the precinct. The plan crystalized, but now he was running on instinct, his mind clear from running formulae and theories.
In no time, he found himself in front of the library, hand clutching the salt shaker. Goodstone opened up the passenger door, put his badge and sidearm in the glove compartment. Reaching behind the seat, he pulled out a set of goggles and gloves, stuffing them into his pockets he frowned. There was something else missing. He pulled out the long brass box and inserted the key into it. Twisting it, he set Sparks to unfold himself into shape as he rummaged in the vehicle. Then found under the backseat, he pulled out the short mahogany box.
Sparks looked over his shoulder quirking his head.
Watson Goodstone pulled out the raygun from the box, blowing a cooling breeze over it. The frost appeared momentarily on the rocket shaped armament. Sliding it into his holster, he faced the large building. He felt a little funny as he began sprinkling salt in an arc around the doors. There was something of a distant sound, like a tree branch snapping. Even Sparks looked around for the source of the sound.
The smell of books and silenced air conditioning greeted them as Goodstone stepped over to the information desk, Sparks clattering behind him on the marble floor.
“I’d like to speak to the Librarian please.”
-To Be Continued…-
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Tales of King City : Balance by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://pearcekilgour.wordpress.com. But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.