Whoever called didn’t bother to leave a message. But I have my way of finding who it is anyway. I used the same method when those tricksters from Gilgamesh tried to wear me down with their incessant 3 a.m. phone calls of heavy breathing and pained screams.

It’s something I call The Internet. And I suppose it’s not much of a secret. People probably do the same thing all the time. But it works, and who am I to question something that works. It’s possible it doesn’t work for everyone else, because sometimes you get thousands of results and some of the sites that come up want you to pay to do some kind of background search on someone but I don’t want to do a background search and I sure as hell am not going to enter my credit card number when I’m trying to sleuth. You never know where those go. For all I know, they could be going directly to the people who were calling me in the first place.

A honey trap of numbers, luring me in to search them out and share my personal information so they can buy boxes of tampons and ammunition without losing a single dime of their own.

I scrolled through the noise, on my own private VPN. Hiding my tracks as I traced the new trickster. They’d only called once, but no one knows my number. Other than those I give it to. So, whoever it had been had been up to no good. I was certain of that.

After much sleuthing, I came to the guaranteed confirmation that the call had come from the C. Hector Ainsworth Public Library. Never been there. And never planned to go there either. Though I don’t know that you can not make plans to go somewhere that you’ve never heard of. I do know that I never had made any plans to go there. But now I did. Or I do. Those plans are in my head it’s the place I need to go.

Though they’ll never see me coming. Or maybe they already did. Maybe that’s why they called in the first place.

I don’t know because they didn’t leave a message. I could call back, but that would be the same as announcing that I am here, and that’s not something I plan to do.

Instead I will take them by surprise.

Safe behind the wall of my private network, I decide to take one step further in the direction of my future, and I click the link for the library’s website.

My screen goes blue and I’m presented with an error.

Code 83109288.

The computer won’t respond. The only thing I can do it shut it off.

But will I respond? I will and I do.

My keys are in hand and I check the time. 6:49 P.M. on a Tuesday.

According to the map on my phone, it will take 23 minutes to get there.

The Internet tells me the library closes at 8.


American English slang for getting rid of something by burying it, ejecting someone, or refusing service.

Continue to Chapter Six.