Doo Peas Corporate Towers houses both Landgraab Industries and the Sunset Valley Observer. The relationship is an uneasy one, as newbies at the Observer tend to have silly ideas about muckraking and exposing corporate scandals. Such ideals quickly wither and die in the face of promotions and kickbacks and tax deductible vacations. For those few holdouts who insist on moral purity, a swift kick out of the doors and into blacklisted reality generally takes care of them.
Reality of a different sort was now steaming out of the past and towards Lilith Parker.
“I’ve noticed lately that you seem bored covering the whole birth and marriage and death beat. Can’t say I really blame you. Anyway, I was looking through our archives the other day…”
Lilith interrupted her, words spilling out in a nervous rush of adrenalin.
“I’m sorry, I really am, I’ll do better from now on, I promise. I really like and appreciate this job. I mean, isn’t this the cutest hat you’ve ever seen? And I can do better. I can add birthdays! Everyone wants to see their birthday party in the paper, right? Please don’t fire me. I really don’t want to have to join a gang, even if I would end up leading it.”
She caught her breath, mentally reviewed the last couple of minutes, blushed, and said “I’m sorry, you had an idea?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I really need to find a less threatening writing style for emails – maybe a nice fluffy kitten background with blue font. No dear, I’m not firing you. I just have a story I want you to work on.”
“Oh, a new story? Whew. Oh, okay – look, I’m sorry. I was just all nervous and worried and honestly I’m not usually this frazzled. So what’s the story?”
Lilith sighed. Why did she always worry so much about things? They always turned out fine, and then she felt all stupid and like a big idiot and now Shannon would think she was stupid and…she was doing it again. Focus!
“There’ve been reports of strange lights coming from the house at 53 Waterfall Way. No one’s lived there for years. The police say that it’s just a teenage prank, but I don’t know – I looked up the address in the archive to see what I could find.”
“A man named Seth Morrigan lived there. He moved to town with his wife the year I was born, so I was too young to know what was going on.”
“His wife was named Sarah. I couldn’t find very much about her, although she did seem to win the Grill-a-Thon quite a bit.”
“I couldn’t find much more than that in the records. I think someone’s been deleting files and destroying microfilm rolls.”
“So you want me to dig around and see what I can find on this guy?”
Lilith’s mind was going a million miles a second. Yay, she wasn’t getting fired! And now instead of joining a gang she was going to sleuth around and go on interesting adventures and maybe even rummage through some trash cans. It was going to be great!
“Sure. I think a good place to start would be talking to Sam Sekemoto at the Papyrus Memorial Library. He’s sort of the unofficial town historian and hopefully he’ll know more about it.”
“Right. Well, I’m off to dig up the dirt and rake out the muck and expose the dirty mucky truth, all with the help of my super cute hat. Lilith Parker, super sleuth, at your service.”
“Very amusing, dear. Promise you’ll be careful. Like I said, I think someone’s been tampering with the files. There might be people who don’t want this story uncovered.”
“Sure thing. You know my boyfriend’s a police officer. I’ll be all right. Thank you so much for not firing me. I really don’t know how I’d do as a gang member. Off to get to work.”
Shannon sat back down at her computer after Lilith left her office. She hoped she’d done the right thing. Lilith was young and bright. She’d be okay. Wouldn’t she? Sure, she was a little vulnerable, but she’d be fine.
The file tampering was rather worrying, though. She’d have to talk to the IT guys about that.
Lilith left the Towers, feeling pretty good about herself for once. She’d quickly finished up the week’s list of births and marriages and deaths and then she’d set up an appointment to talk to Mr. Sekemoto at the library tomorrow. He’d been really nice on the phone. Now it was time to go home and see what she could find on the repository of all human knowledge, also known as the internet.
Something knocked on the back door of her brain, but she wasn’t listening.
“Say, have you ever heard of Seth Morrigan?”
“No, miss, can’t say I have.”
Hey, it was worth a try.
Something was pounding on the back door of her brain now, but she couldn’t hear it over the excitement playing on her mental stereo.
“JASON MILTON! What are you doing?!”