Paradigms Lost – Chapter 04

Chapter 4: Flirting and Clues

Two hours later, I wasn’t so sure. “Funny, Jason… that picture looks the same.”

“Oh, very funny, Syl.” I stared at the screen, willing a faint outline to appear.

“Sorry, Jason. But this is not exactly the most exciting date I’ve ever been on.”

“I’d have thought last night would have been all the excitement you could handle. Besides, we are not dating.”

“Oh? So you kiss your male friends good night too?”

“Okay, then I won’t do that anymore.” I pounded another set of instructions into the machine, a little harder than was really wise. Syl always rattles me when she gets on that subject.

“Oh, honestly, Jason! Don’t sulk like that. I didn’t mean to pressure you. It just strikes me funny.”

“What strikes you funny?”

“You, Jason. You can face down an angry policeman, send crooks to jail, run a business, and you’re calmly trying to track down a vampire… and you just fall apart whenever a woman smiles at you.”

“I do not fall apart!” With dismay I watched the entire background turn a pale lavender. Hurriedly I undid my mistake. “I just… don’t want to get involved. I don’t have time. Besides, we are off the subject here.” I ignored her tolerant smile.

“So what are you doing now?”

I turned back to the screen, then shrugged. “Nothing, actually. I’ve tried everything and it’s no use. Either he simply does not show on any wavelengths or else, more likely, this film just has no sensitivity at all in any non-visible spectra. I can’t bring up something that the film doesn’t have on it.” I slumped back, depressed. I really hate losing.

“Well, then, why not work with what has to be there?”

I looked at her. She looked serious, but there were little smile wrinkles around her eyes. “What exactly do you mean?”

“Well, this vampire’s solid, isn’t he? I mean, you don’t shake hands with a ghost.”

“Right. So?”

She pointed to the area in front of Connors. “He’s standing right there somewhere. So his feet must—”

“– be on the ground there… and he’ll be leaving footprints! Syl, you are a genius! And I am an idiot!” I selected the area in front of Connors that his invisible opposite should be in, started to enlarge it.

A few seconds went by as I searched. Then I smiled and sat back.

On screen, in the gravel of the pathway, were the unmistakable outlines of two shoes. A sprig of grass was caught underneath one shoe, showing an impossible half-flat, half-arched outline. “Syl, I could kiss you!”

“I’ll bet you say that to all the guys.” She looked pleased, though.

I saved the data and hid the disk away. “For that, I’ll buy you dinner.”