The hours tick away and you finally begin to understand Lowell’s obscure filing system. Apparently, you should have paid more attention when they taught binary in math class. You continue to convert each folder’s binary label to a date and file them away accordingly. A wavering sense of accomplishment rises from within as you look over Lowell’s desk, neatly organized with everything put away in their appropriate cabinets. All except one folder.
The translated date on the folder reads June 17, 2013, one month from today. You ponder for a moment, trying to shrug it off as a typo and leave it on the desk for Lowell to handle when he gets in. The post-dated folder stares back at you though, and you can’t shake the stubborn curiosity that makes you want to look. It’s the reason why you decided to become an agent, but it has also put you on the receiving end of trouble more than once. You resist for another moment, then snatch it off the desk, when the entry door suddenly thrusts open, storm winds blowing rain in from outside. Frozen in surprise, you find yourself caught in a staring contest with a substantial shadow looming in the doorway.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The shadow yells, gaining resolution as the man behind it steps into the office, slamming the door shut. Agent Lowell, you presume, is well over 6 feet tall and easily pushing 300 pounds. The muscular hulk of a man stomps forward and you attempt to mirror his confidence by adjusting your stance as he approaches, but it’s a wasted effort. In seconds he towers over you, rainwater pouring from his black trench coat, pooling on the floor. His glaring expression passes right over you and settles on the folder in your hands. He rips it from your grasp and pushes you aside to lock it away in a safe underneath his desk, covering the keypad from your view. You hear the safe beep six times, followed by the sound of metal bars locking it shut.
“My desk, my rules. You wanna move things around, do it someplace else. Got it?” He shrugs off his soaked trench coat and tosses it at you. “Hang this up.”
You attempt to explain yourself, noting how you solved the labelling method, but your words come out in short mumbling bursts as you try to untangle yourself from Lowell’s dripping coat. He turns his chair away from you and starts to focus on his paperwork, suddenly and completely oblivious to your existence.
You hang Lowell’s coat on the rack, glad you only have to deal with the man for a few minutes, and grab a cup of coffee, keeping your distance. As the drink touches your lips, you spit it out, instantly regretting your decision. There’s nothing quite like stale coffee at minutes to midnight. Thankfully it seems Lowell has ignored this indiscretion too, and you toss the full cup of sludge in the trash, preparing to leave for the night.
Just as your hand touches the doorknob the desk phones all erupt at once. The ringing clatter echoes in the small space and you look at Agent Lowell, hoping to see him take the call. “You got 2 minutes left on your shift.” Lowell calls out without looking up. You reach for the nearest receiver on Diggins’ desk.
The person on the other end tells you, “This is 911 dispatch. We just received a distressing call and are looking for any help we can get. I’ll play back the recording for you. It was from a wireless phone, so we couldn’t get the exact location, but we’re hoping you can help us narrow it down.”
Your eyes widen, quickly scrambling to grab a pen as the emergency dispatch operator plays back the recorded 911 call. A woman’s trembling voice meets your ears and sends a sharp tingle down your spine. Your head slowly turns to Lowell as he looks up to meet your fearful expression. “We got one?” He asks calmly. You nod slowly and listen in on the call, trying to catch all the details as this unknown victim cries out for help.