Friday, March 23, 2012

Night Shot 3: Shadows

“A Shadow?” Jerry wondered

He stood his living room a moment longer, studying the photo, hardly noticing the car engine start outside and pull away. The noise faded into the slow hum of traffic, but Jerry still stood and stared at the photo. He rubbed at the gray smudge in the corner. He caught himself hoping it would fade, disintegrate, grow an orange caption, anything—but it was still there. “Now how could he find anything about a Shadow?”

Google it, of course.

Jerry rushed to his kitchen and pulled his laptop from under the pile of other mail. Pushing the open packet of photos to one side, and the stack of bills into their corner of the counter, he opened his laptop and started typing.

“Shadow”—“Shadow crisis”— “Shadow catastrophe”—“Shadow end of the world?”

After the first half hour, Jerry changed modes and created a search bot to sort the links for him. Then he created another search bot, and another.

After about six hours, Jerry leaned back from his laptop and rubbed his forehead. “Okay—not working. Not working at all.”

One of his bots began flashing at him, but Jerry hit “suspend search” and minimized the window.

In frustration, he opened another search page typed and typed in “Shadow,” but he sat frowning at the screen. “Of course the search hadn’t changed. He had 607,000,000 hits for ‘Shadow,’ and all he knew was it couldn’t be Jungian psychology, a quirky cartoon hedgehog, or any of the other top hits. ‘Shadow aliens’ seemed the best option so far, but when did the police department begin investigating the appearance of ghosts?”

Jerry ran his finger over the touchpad and watched the cursor jump across the screen—“Wait.” He scanned the list of Google searches: images, maps, videos, news, shopping, books, more. Maps? Jerry clicked the link.

Shadow Lane, Shadow Ridge, Shadowdale…

Shadow on…“What, ten minutes away—just past the railroad tracks? How did that happen?” Jerry leaned back, tapping his fingers on the desk as he thought. Who would know something about that? Who did he know—?

Silas! Of course—Silas would know. Rapidly, Jerry flipped the laptop lid down and reached for its case. The stack of envelops and bills slid over the table, but Jerry shoved them back into place and stood up. Silas was always talking about odd stories like ghosts and shadows and that sort of craziness.

He felt sure Silas would know something.

Probably Silas could tell him exactly why Captain Nwin wanted to know about Shadows. And then Jerry could explain why he didn’t know anything about a Shadow, and Captain Nwin would have to leave him alone.

(Continued in Night Shot 4: Silas's Shop)

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