“What are you doing down here, Agent? Shouldn’t you be out taking care of that cold body they found on the east side by the river?” The file clerk stands up from his desk and greets you with an inquisitive look as you pass through the door and hand him your badge.
“Been out there all morning and I need to take a look at some cold case files from May 2010.” You keep it short and to the point. Your head is swimming with unanswered questions as you tightly grasp the red piece of cloth in your pocket, something that should have been turned in to evidence.
"I think I know the one you mean. Nasty case that one. Poor girl was probably dead from the start, and three out of four field agents go missing during the investigation. Think you found something to warm it up again?"
The file clerk scans your badge and notes the deep intensity in your eyes. “Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother. They’re ghosts, every one of them. They surface, play their game, and disappear again. This wouldn't be the first time.” He chuckles at your look of surprise. "Go through what you need, I'll catch you up on the rest of the legend another time."
You brush past the clerk and head into the labyrinth of stacked boxes before he can even flip on the lights for you. The musty smell of old cardboard evidence boxes barely registers, your thoughts on the body found early this morning. You slide your fingertips along the sides of the dusty shelves absently as you pass into the cold case section.
The clerk calls out from behind you, “Don’t get too close, Agent. If they suck you in, there might be only one way out.” His voice echoes throughout the labyrinth and fades out with the sound of the massive chain link gate sweeping closed.
“That’s exactly what I’m hoping for.” You mutter to yourself as you make your way to a box labeled MERCHANT FILES: 2013 MAY - HOMICIDE. You pull the box down from the shelf and open the lid, beginning to sift through its contents, searching for something to stand out which could link to your current case. There isn’t much forensic evidence in the box; a cassette tape, a crossword puzzle in a baggie. There is plenty of paperwork though. Disappointed but determined you begin to file through the reports.
The active agent seems to have been fairly diligent of keeping a record of his movements and findings. Reading through them is like reading through a mystery novel, which makes the work go by faster. Early on you tense and reach into your pocket as you read about a piece of red fabric found while searching for a missing girl. Could it be the same one?
For what might have been minutes or hours you sit on the floor of the evidence locker reading through papers and putting pieces together. The story ends abruptly, just before the agent found his way to a cemetery in the Bronx. Rifling through everything, you refuse to believe that’s the end. The girl’s body was found eventually, but no sign of the agent or Charming Bear, and according to reports, Director Kline never saw him again after chasing through the streets.
You know there’s something off here. You go back through the papers and notice a redacted report on Agent Lowell’s transfer. It rings a bell, and you find mention of a web site discovered by filling in the blanks. The original agent never followed up on it, and it seems a long shot that a site that old would still be around. You punch in the URL on your iPhone anyway, jumping to your feet when you see a welcome message from Charming Bear.
There’s not much else to it besides a login form. You try a few things, but only get a rude message in response. Deflated, you’re about to give it up as a dead end, but you scroll down and notice a number on the page. It looks like one of those visitor counters people used to have on their sites. Could that many people have really seen this site?
Brows furrowed in thought, not sure where to go next, your thumb swipes along the phone, refreshing the page. You notice that the number has changed, but has gone DOWN instead of UP. Curious, you swipe again, and the number decreases again. A countdown timer then. So what happens when the number reaches zero? It’s going to take a long time to find that out on your own, so you decide to recruit some help.
This is the final episode of Immersion Investigations, but the story continues in the real world. Follow the clues and help discover what really happened six years ago.