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Resonance: Chapter Eight

       Last updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 21:04 EDT



    Graham stared at the note and then at the girl. She was wearing a long pale green dress. And she looked younger again. Or was that the hair? Long, straight and fringed at the front. 

    She rummaged in an embroidered canvas bag on her lap and brought something out, something black, the size of a small radio. She extended the aerial and switched it on, a red light pulsed slowly. She pointed it at the door and then slowly brought it around until it pointed at Graham. The pulse changed frequency. She handed the detector to Graham along with another note.

    Red light = bug. Fast pulse hot, slow pulse cold. Find bugs, stomp them. All bugs dead, make coffee.

    He looked at the detector slowly flashing in his hand and then at Annalise. Maybe he was tired and seeing too many fairies but he couldn’t understand why Annalise was sitting on the floor behind the fridge.

    Annalise must have noticed his confusion, she took the note from his hand and scrawled two words on the back - hidden cameras!

    Graham immediately swung round, looking up at the line of ceiling above his kitchen cabinets, wondering what he should be looking for - a black dot, a video camera, a strange box that shouldn’t be there?

    And then he remembered the detector in his hand and felt foolish. The red light pulsed slowly. He slipped the note into his pocket and took hold of the detector with both hands, sweeping the room in a slow deliberate arc. The pulse increased when he pointed it towards the kitchen table. He moved the detector over its surface, the light flashing fastest over the far left-hand corner. He set it down and felt underneath where the leg met the top. There was something there, shaped like a bolt.

    He swung down and peered under the table. There was a piece of metal, the size of a small button, attached to the wooden corner brace. He tugged at it, dug his fingernails between the metal and the wood and pulled. It came away. A small button of metal with three tiny spikes protruding beneath.

    He placed it on top of the detector and the red light flashed continuously. Someone had bugged his house. He stared at the transmitter in his palm, wondering how long it had been there, trying to remember what it might have recorded. The sound of water running in the sink, the clink of glass and plates. Was someone really recording all that?

    Annalise waved at him and tapped at her watch. He looked back at the transmitter and rolled it between his finger and thumb. It didn’t look that easy to crush.

    Annalise beckoned him over and held out her hand. Graham gave her the transmitter and stepped back.

    She rolled it around in her hand for a few seconds before placing it carefully on the floor beside her. She took a stick of chewing gum out of her bag, unwrapped it and folded it into her mouth. Graham watched transfixed. Was she going to sound proof the bug with chewing gum?

    Annalise tapped her watch again and pointed at the kitchen door. His work hadn’t finished.

    Graham checked the rest of the house. Every room had at least one bug, even the closet under the stairs. Some were like the one he’d found in the kitchen, spiked and pushed into crevices in the woodwork. Others were concealed inside electrical sockets. He had to turn the electricity off at the mains and unscrew the sockets by torchlight.

    And then there were the cameras. One in the lounge, masquerading as an electrical junction box. And one in the hallway, in the light fitting, directly above the spot he’d found the small pile of dust on Friday night. The instant before Annalise had disappeared.

    Or had it been the instant after?

    He carried everything back to the kitchen, taking extra care with the cameras, placing a finger firmly over each lens.

    Annalise covered both lenses with chewing gum and then took everything out into the back garden.

    Graham watched from the doorway, the light from the kitchen spilling out across the lawn. Annalise stood in the shadows by the back fence, tossing bugs into the night. Some to the left, some to the right, some into the gardens of the houses at the back. A few must have hit stone, Graham heard the slight crack and skittle as they bounced.



    “How did you know the house was bugged?” asked Graham as he filled the kettle under the tap.

    “A spirit told me,” said Annalise, sitting on the kitchen table, swinging her legs back and forth. “I’m a medium.”

    Graham turned off the tap, he must have misheard with the noise of the running water.

    “A medium?”

    “With two hundred spirit guides all called Annalise. Go figure.”

    He knew he had his mouth open but he couldn’t help it. Annalise was a medium? He turned his head to see if she was joking.

    “What?” she said. “Is there something in my teeth?”

    “No, sorry,” he looked away hurriedly, swung the kettle over to the stove and switched on the gas.

    “Ever heard of the De Santos case?” asked Annalise. “Teenage heiress goes missing? Big news last year, all over the Mid West.”

    He shook his head. He never watched TV, never read a newspaper. The only news he ever picked up was second-hand - snatches of conversation he overheard at work or travelling on the tube.

    “September last year, Des Moines, Iowa. My home town. Kimberly De Santos, aged twenty, went to a party, never came home. Headline news everywhere. Police didn’t have a clue. No ransom, no witnesses, no clues, no motive.”

    Graham took two clean cups from the near cupboard.

    “Anyway, one night I’m communing with my spirit girls and I ask if anyone knew what had happened to Kimberly. One answers. ‘You mean the girl who got shot in the bungled kidnapping?’”

    She paused for effect, looking directly at Graham,

    “Her exact words, the girl who got shot in the bungled kidnapping. Spooky, right?”

    Graham nodded as he spooned coffee into the two cups.

    “’What bungled kidnapping?’, I asked. ‘The one outside the Park hotel,’ she said, ‘the one where the off duty cop shot the ringleader.’”

    Annalise stopped swinging her legs and leaned forward. “Now, I knew the Park hotel was where Kimberley was last seen. But no one said anything about a shooting or one of the kidnappers being shot.

    “Now this is where it gets really spooky. I asked this spirit Annalise if she knew the name of the guy who got shot. She didn’t, but she said she’d get back to me. And when she did, she gave me the names of the whole gang. The one who’d been shot and the two who’d got away but were arrested later.”

    “How did she know?” asked Graham, leaning against the sink.

    Annalise smiled and tapped the side of her nose. “The dead know more than you think. They don’t spend all their time on the astral plane, you know. They come back and visit. They’re drawn.”

    Graham nodded. That was very true. Dead people came back a lot.

    “So, public spirited medium that I am I gave the names to the police. Told them it was a kidnapping. They didn’t want to know so I phoned her father. And kept phoning until someone put me through. ‘These are the guys that took your daughter,’ I said and gave him their names. ‘Have you told the police,’ he said. ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘but they’re not interested.’ Daddy was not impressed. ‘We’ll see about that,’ he said and slammed down the phone.

    “Next day it’s all over the papers. Kimberly freed, kidnappers caught. The day after that I’m hauled down the police station to explain myself. How did I know so much? Was I a witness who should have come forward earlier or an accomplice looking for a piece of the reward? ‘Neither,’ said I, ‘I’m a medium.’”

    Annalise grinned and started swinging her legs back and forth again. “Which went down like shit at a picnic. Then the press picked up the story and suddenly I’m famous. For three whole weeks. I even had my own show on cable. Didn’t last though - couldn’t contact enough dead people.” She put her hands on her hips. “You’d think two hundred spirit guides could dig up enough stiffs to fill a fifteen minute daily show. I know I did.”

    The kettle began to whistle.

    “So, they cut my show. I drifted back into roach-infested obscurity and Kimberly De Santos inherited a new beach house. Life’s a big fat bitch.”

    Graham stirred the coffee and thought about the blonde-haired Annalise and the voice in her head. The one that told her to come to England. Was that a spirit guide? Maybe the one that had told this Annalise about the kidnapping?

    “Is that how you found out about me?” he asked. “Did a spirit tell you to come to England to find me?”

    “No way, I found out about you through Kevin Alexander.”

    “Who’s Kevin Alexander?”

    “The Canadian guy I came here to tell you about.”

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