Janice hurries down the street to where the office is, her mind ringing as if something terrible has happened. She can sense it through her magic that something big has happened in one of the ongoing cases. It is one of the cases she had hoped she would be put on but she got passed up for Jarred Rogers, the technology god of the detective agency. But something has happened and she had seen it in her dream. She knows that her boss hates when she tells him about her dreams but they are vital to solving this case. She places a hand on the rim of her top hat that she decided to wear with her black and green striped pants and dark green corset dress, holding it as she begins to move faster towards work.
She says good morning to a few people whom she passes on a daily basis in the morning on her way to work. She turns down one road then another until she is standing in front of her building. She lets out a slow breath, trying to calm her heart and breathing before she walks up to the front door. The door opens and a few colleagues rush past her with nothing more than an eye glance. This group was always giving her just a glance and never said hello since they are more into using their technology to solve cases, while she and a handful of others prefer to use their magic. She gives them a wave before she walks inside to find her boss so that she can tell them what she has seen. The room is buzzing with an energy that tells her that something has happened. She had checked her flexible phone to see if anyone had called her but there were no messages.
She stops someone, catching them gently by the arm and raises her eyebrows, “What is going on?”
“They found another body just a few minutes ago and they think that it is the memory thief at it again,” he tells her. “I can’t believe that neither magic nor technology has been able to find this person yet.”
Janice rolls her eyes, “Well if someone would let me out, I could find him or her.”
Her friend shakes his head and looks over her shoulder as someone looms up behind her. “Oh, can you now?”
Janice turns to face her boss, fed up with being told what she can and can’t do, “Yes I can. You never give me a chance ever. Especially when it came to showing you what I am capable of doing. I have been sitting behind that desk doing paperwork for over 5 years and I am tired of it. You need to listen to me!”
Her boss growls, “No, you need to listen to me, Janice. I hired you because your father was the best detective we had and we promised him to keep you close and keep you safe when he passed away and your mother up and left you.” He points to her desk which is once again full of reports that need to be filed electronically. “Now get back over to your desk and…”
Before he can finish, Janice goes to her desk, grabs the top report and returns to his side, grabbing onto his arm. She reads the report of where and what then stares into his eyes, the blue glow enveloping them both. In a split second, they are both standing in front of the movie theater where the rich like to go to catch a play about the advances of technology in their exciting time. It happened a few months ago when a crazy man who had been fired by the theater returned to seek revenge. He had planted a handmade bomb and set it for 10 minutes, just enough time for him to escape and for those coming in to take their seats. The detectives have bits and pieces of information but they have yet figure out who had planted the bomb; the pile today that Janice is to log being the unsolved cases. Her boss watches with a gaping mouth as a skinny rough-looking man wearing dirty black trousers, a black vest over a dirty white shirt, a top hat with what looks like inventor goggles around the middle of the hat and resting on the brim with wild foggy green eyes, and a pencil-thin mustache comes rushing out of the theater. He looked around to see if he had been spotted then sprints down the alleyway in order to escape before the explosion.
Her boss tries to run after him, breaking the link with Janice and soon he is tripping over a chair and slamming his stomach into a desk. Janice lets the hand that was touching him fall to her side as she stands still for a moment, then she speaks in her trance, “He has taken Plumtree Court and is making his way to Shoe Lane. He disappeared on Wine Court and that is as far as I can see him but I know that there are some shacks down there where a lot of inventors live.” She blinks a few times, the blue hue vanishing from around her and the paper and she turns to face her boss. “You see I inherited my dad’s touch. I can see, smell, hear everything but unlike him, I can also interact with the scene from the past. Which I did do once and it was disastrous so I have never done it again. But I can also take a person back with me, just one though. I have tried with two but it doesn’t seem to work. I am either not strong enough yet or that is one of my limitations with my magic touch.”
Her boss slowly turns around, pushing himself off of the desk as he faces her, his eyes wide, his jaw slacked, and his eyebrows raised in surprise. He shook his head in disbelief as her talent is a very rare one and he had no idea that she is a part of that 1% of citizens with magic that can do what she just did, let alone take him with her. Her father had the Past Touch as they called it but he could never interact with anyone nor could he bring someone with him. Janice’s boss, a heavy-set kind of man with suspenders visible under his brown vest to help keep his brown trousers up, gropes around for a chair in order to sit down.
Her friend who had told her about the body earlier stares in awe as he quickly walks over to help him find a chair and helps him to sit down in it. He then looks back at Janice, nodding his head, “You need to take me back sometime. That would be cool.”
His boss smacks his arm, “Look in the database for an inventor, skinny, tall, shaggy brown hair, kind of wild green eyes, pencil-thin mustache.”
The guy taps his wrist and a screen pops up above it with a keypad just under the screen so that he can take notes. He clicks away until he has all of the information that his boss tells him then hurries off to his desk so that he can use the computer. Janice shifts her weight from one foot to the next as she waits for her boss to return his attention back to her. He turns his pale ocean blue eyes back to her, still in awe and shock of what has just happened to him, feeling exhausted and confused.
“You may feel tired and confused. That will pass in just a few minutes and it disappears altogether when you keep traveling back with me,” she informs him as she crosses her arms over her chest, the paper dangling under her left elbow. “I mean that is if you want to travel back again. Thankfully there is no nausea with it though.”
Her boss takes the report from her and fills out the description of what he had seen in the suspect area before he puts it down and looks up at her, “Janice, I am so sorry that I never let you show me your magic. I can see now that I was wrong and I am truly sorry. I should have listened to your father when he told me that you will be a great asset to our detective agency.” He eyes her sadly, “Will you ever forgive me? I knew you were already special but not helpful like this. I only wanted to protect you and not put you in harm’s way. But I never thought…”
Janice holds up her hand to stop him from talking, “Mr. Stephens, I know and I understand why you did it. You promised my dad to never let me get hurt and to keep me safe. But doing paperwork all day long for the past 5 years was so boring and I knew I could help you but…I was afraid to go against yours and his wishes. You have become my second dad and I didn’t want to disappoint you. I wanted to make you proud of me and thought if I could just get out there once, I could solve a case and prove to you that I can do this job better by being out there not stuck in here.” She sighs and leans against the desk behind her, resting her palms against the desk. “I…I don’t know, I was just afraid of asking you in person because I have in the past and you always shot me down. And I even asked through the reports but again…” She shrugs her shoulders and looks down at her geared boots, kicking the toe against the wood floors.
Mr. Stephens stands up from his chair and rushes over to her, giving her a big bear hug, “I am sorry, Janice, and I promise I won’t let you waste away behind the desk any longer. You aren’t safe there either it seems. We don’t need you dying from boredom.” He chuckles as he lets her go, “Your daddy would be smacking me so hard in the arm right now for doing what I have done to you for the past 5 years.” He lets her go and straightens up, looking her square in the eye, “Your gift is special that is for sure and I will let you go in the field from time to time but I still have to keep you safe too.”
Janice nods, “I understand completely, Mr. Stephens.”
He sucks in his cheeks for a moment, “You can help us in this case but you have to stay out of the papers. I don’t want anyone to know what you can do or that you helped us find this bastard, you hear me?”
Janice nods, her excitement bubbling up inside as she shakes his outstretched hand, “I will work in the shadows and I won’t let anyone know my name so we can keep me a secret and safe. But we need to nail this guy and stop the killings. He has taken way too many lives, both men and women. I have read a little bit of the case when I can between typing up reports and using my past touch.”
“Ricky, get me the files on the Random Serial Killer case. Janice needs to read them and get up to date on everything so she can help out,” Mr. Stephens barks out.
A young spunky woman who Janice occasionally went out with at night to the Cyber Bar hops out of her chair to retrieve the files from the filing cabinets. She returns a second later from another office in the back where the filing cabinets that hold the in-progress cases. She holds a fat file case plus an electronic pad in her hands. She hands them over to Janice then returns to her desk to continue to work on her own case. Janice takes everything into her arms and thanks to Ricky before she and Mr. Stephens move over to her desk. There she opens the files and taps on each paper, the information now floating above so that she can read it easier. She then sets up the electronic iPad and opens the files on there, her eyebrows raising since she hadn’t known that there is so much on the case.
She sits down, placing a headband on her head and letting a small screen slip over her left eye so that she can record everything she reads to keep for later. It’s easier this way so that she doesn’t have to waste paper making copies to take home. Once she has recorded everything and puts away the device, she starts to actually read what is presented before her while her boss heads off to call the head of the team on the case so that he can tell him that she will be joining the team and about what they discussed about her staying out of the papers.
Janice grabs her pen and notebook, scribbling down things that she finds important or strange, wanting to do some research for herself afterward. She has a lot to catch up on so she knows she will be reading and taking notes most of the day and night, wanting to be thorough so that she can talk to the rest of the team and tell them her opinions.
“Janice, get your things and be ready to leave as soon as Jarred pulls up in his steam car. He will be taking you to the site of the body so that you can see it firsthand and so that you can meet the rest of the team,” Mr. Stephens tells her, having appeared by her side in a split second.
Janice jumps as she looks up, the papers falling back onto her desk and he pen dropping onto her notebook, “Okay but how about not giving me a heart attack before I have to help out.” She grabs her small black backpack that holds her electronic headband, tossing in her pens and notebook, and stands.
He chuckles in his low voice and heads off to talk to others in the office, leaving her alone to gather the files and put the papers away before she has to leave. Her heart beats quickly as she walks outside to meet up with Jarred and ride with him to the scene of the crime. Once she steps outside, she places a pair of dark sunglasses on her nose since the sun is now visible, the morning fog having lifted a few minutes before, and is quite blinding. She walks to the street corner to wait for Jarred, already replaying the notes in her mind, and her headband already back on her head.
She takes it off and places it back inside her bag once she sees a steam car heading down the street towards her. She waves her hand as a spiked haired man pulls the car up beside her, the door opening at the touch of a button on his side. She climbs in, placing her bag on her knees and closes the door. They greet one another warmly as Jarred drives away from the building and heads down the cobblestone, the car barely jolting this way and that thanks to some improvements that he had made in his own car.
The city of London rushes past as Jarred weaves effortlessly around horse-drawn carriages and people walking, the steam car almost seeming invisible. Jarred fills Janice in with what they have seen already and that once again a memory has been stolen but they can’t figure out what it is about. Janice pulls out her notebook, opening it to where she has written her notes. She asks a few questions since Jarred is the team captain and he will know more than she. Her pen glides across the paper as she writes down a few answers to her questions but not many since they are still trying to figure out more about the person behind the killings as well as trying to find the memory or memories that have been stolen from the victims. She closes her notebook, places the cap back on her pen, and shoves everything back inside her hag as they near the spot where the body had been found.
“Remember to stay hidden as much as you can so that the newspapers can’t get a hold of you and put you in their stories. Boss said that you have the touch and that it is far more advanced than anyone with the touch but he didn’t go into details,” Jarred tells her as he finds a parking spot for his car, the steam hissing out of the back once he turns the special key to the left, turning it off.
“Yes, I can jump to the past but I can also take one person back with me and I can also interact with the past though I don’t do that part anymore. The last time I did, I really screwed up and almost caused way more problems than before,” Janice fills Jarred in about her special gift. “And I won’t forget to stay out of sight until they are gone, I promise. I will stay in the car and go over the files until you come to get me.”
Jarred nods and flips a few switches, the windows becoming dark so that no one on the outside can see in but those sitting inside can see out. “You are safe here and I will come to get you soon. Jock and Elizabeth have been talking to the press when I left so they should be done soon enough.” He gets out of the car, shoving his hands deep inside of his black trench coat, and makes his way behind a large red building where the body and his team are waiting for his return.