Jarred growls under his breath, staring at his watch as he paces back and forth in front of the giant warehouse garage doors. Behind him, Jock and Simon work on getting the tables, computers, and phones all set up so that they can get started as soon as Elizabeth and Janice get there. Simon had stayed with Janice the night before but when he woke up, she was gone, leaving a letter behind saying she would meet them at the warehouse after she got a few things from the office. Simon tried calling her, but she never answered. Jock had called Elizabeth twice already and she hadn’t answered her phone either, the group growing worried and impatient.
Simon finishes setting up the table with the files on them and turns to look at Jock as he turns on the computer, the loud humming of the engine they are using to motorize it filling the warehouse for a moment before it warms up and quiets itself down. Jock sits down in front of the telephone and gets ready to finish the calls to the family and friends of the deceased to see if any of them remember their loved ones being married to anyone. Simon pushes the files around to make sure that they are spread out in the right area. He then moves them around so that they are in a different area and then puts them back, feeling fidgety as they continue to wait. Jock taps the pen he is going to use to write down the information on his pad of paper.
“Simon, call Janice again. I am going to try Elizabeth again too,” Jarred says as he walks to the open door beside the garage door, seeing nothing but fog and the morning growing later. “Where are they? We told them that we have a lot of work to get done and that we are doing it today.” He growls again as he heads outside in the cool morning air, already dialing Elizabeth’s number and swearing under his breath.
Simon glances over at Jock as he dials in Janice’s number into his phone, lifting it to his ear so that he can see if he can get her on the phone. Jock shakes his head, shrugging his shoulder and pulling another pad with numbers and names over so that he can at least get to work on his end.
Standing in front of the office before anyone has shown up, Janice stares at the empty dark windows. She didn’t know why she was there but she had received a message from Mr. Stephens to meet him there since he has some news about the call she had received before. Mr. Stephens has told her that he has figured out who the memory thief is and that she has to come right away so that they can put together a plan to capture him before he tries to hurt Simon, Jarred, Elizabeth, and Jock. Mr. Stephens had told her that he received a call after talking to Jarred, one from the thief himself.
Janice takes in a deep breath and heads to the back to where Mr. Stephens said he would leave the door to unlock so she could get in without having to knock. She was confused by this but she follows his instructions and opens the back door, the gloomy dark office surrounding her and causing her to shiver in the early morning air. She walks through the dark office to Mr. Stephens’s office, not turning on any of the lights, moving in the darkness. She grabs the handle and it turns easily in her hand, “Mr. Stephens, it’s Janice. I am here…” As she pushes the door open, her words caught in her throat.
She sees Mr. Stephens sitting in his chair but he is facing the wall so that she can see him, “Hey, Mr. Stephens, are you okay?” She flips the light on to get a better look at her boss. She screams when she sees a large puddle of blood pooling out around the man just under his chair. She shakes her head and runs over to the chair, her second dad’s chair, and turns it around to face him. She gasps as tears spring into her eyes and her breath is caught in her throat again.
She sees Mr. Stephens sitting in his chair but he is facing the wall so that she can’t see him, “Hey, Mr. Stephens, are you okay?” She flips the light on to get a better look at her boss. She screams when she sees a large puddle of blood pooling out around the man just under his chair. She shakes her head and runs over to the chair, her second dad’s chair, and turns it around to face her. She gasps as tears spring into her eyes and her breath is caught in her throat again.
Mr. Stephens stares at her with pale dead eyes and his throat slit. Down at his feet in the blood sits his phone still open but the battery is obviously dead. She drops to her knees, screaming no over and over again, the sloppy job being one of desperation by the memory thief himself. Without hesitation, she grabs his hand and lets her magic flow through her, jumping back to the past in order to see what had happened to him.
She is standing at the door of the office as Mr. Stephens, now alive, stares down at his desk top getting ready to file away the last few files of the day when his phone rings. He yawns and stretches before he grabs up his phone, answering it, “Hello?”
“Mr. Stephens, you and your team are getting too close. I know you suspected me just like Jarred and Simon and Jock, and even little Janice did. But I have Elizabeth wrapped around my little finger.”
“Who is this? Jock? Jarred? Is this you playing a stupid joke on me?”
“Oh no, Mr. Stephens, this is the one that just keeps slipping through your fingers and making you suffer for so many years.”
“The memory thief!” He looks up to see his door slowly cracking open and standing before him is Zane, “Zane?”
Zane hangs up and smiles at him, “Who am I? Am I really Zane? Or am I, Nancy?” As he says a new name, Zane shifts his weight, his form changing until he is a homey young woman with a black haired bun on her head and glasses perched on a short nose. “Or am I Tony? Or Silvia? Or Denise? Or maybe I am Tyler?” Each time he says a name, a new person is standing in front of him, male and female.
Mr. Stephens’s eyes grow wide as he watches this person in front of him shapeshifts into several people, “You’re a…”
“Yes I am and I am letting you keep your memory of what you see and of your death so that I can give a message to Janice,” Zane chuckles as he shifts back into Elizabeth’s lover. He walks over to him as Mr. Stephens reaches for his gun in the top drawer of his desk. “And that message is…”
Janice tries to see what is about to happen but everything grows dark and everything shifts until she is standing in the office, her boss’s dead body still in front while Zane looms up behind her. “That message is I got you!”
Janice turns around, dropping Mr. Stephens’s hand and raises her own to fend of Zane but it is too late. Something hard hits the back of her head and she drops to the ground, almost landing in the puddle of blood. As soon as her body hits, her phone rings but he ignores it. Zane picks her limp body up and cackles as he carries her out of the office, making sure to turn the light off as he goes, dropping Mr. Stephens’ body into darkness.
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