image link. Anyone know where this image comes from?
BEFORE GETTING INTO TODAY’S CHAPTER, my apologies for being late with it. I was so tired yesterday that I planned on writing it this morning, but only while falling asleep did I remember I had a lunch date today. I’ll try to keep them coming at noon from now on but I cannot promise it will happen. Real life has a way of intruding on virtual life. Again, I’m sorry it is late today. Onward!
Even though an adult, Fonz was tied to the purse strings of his parents in several ways. When they asked him to work Saturdays at one of his father’s hardware stores for a month, he could hardly refuse. This opened Marty’s Saturdays up to get reacquainted with what he considered his second hometown and also to get started on exploring the University’s warehouse cache of extraňo treasures.
The warehouse was enormous, taking up most of a city block. It was on the outskirts of town, so Marty needed to take a different bus than he took to get to school to get to it. There were a few forms to fill out and Marty needed to show his student ID card to gain access. After that he was shown how to register into their collection database and was expected to take a online tutorial about how the items were organized, how to check items out, and the importance of logging out when one left. None of the objects were allowed to leave the grounds, but photographing items was permitted. Once Marty passed the tutorial test, one of the two clerks took him on a tour of the place. As they were a high-tech university, once Marty downloaded the app on his phone, he had a gps-linked map that showed him where he was in the building and highlighted the quickest routes back to the sole entrance to it. The clerk gave him tidbits along the way that would help him navigate. Marty was impressed by the numerous comfortable examination rooms provided, but he was kind of surprised that the place seemed empty. Didn’t anyone else care about UFOs or extraterrestrial beings who might be walking among us?
The clerk left him there, near the exam rooms. Marty set up in one and logged in to the PC available in it. He considered what words he should use to search with. He decided on “humanoid,” “wings,” “hybrid,” and “carnivorous.” He was astounded to see a thousand hits on one or more of them! Was this alien hybrid one of the best kept secrets in the world? Marty created a new spreadsheet and used his techie skills to populate the fields with every hit. Then he sorted them by section. He noticed that a full third of them were in section 54, which immediately got him excited. He’d start there. First on the list in section 54 was row LL, level 8, and box 1776, which was a “hit” on all search terms.
The lighting was the kind that had motion sensors that turned them on as the sensors were triggered. There was minimal overhead or other lighting in the stacks. Section 54 was at the opposite end from the exam rooms and the entrance, so Marty was deep into the building before he got there. The only sound was the quiet hum of the air conditioning unit. Row LL (I.e.39 rows into the section) felt like being in the belly of a huge quiet beast.
Each row had a rolling ladder that was used to climb up to the needed level. Labels at ground level indicated box number locations. It took him a few minutes to locate the place where he needed to start climbing. One thing he noticed right away is that the sensor lights didn’t go above ground level. He made a note to buy a headband with a light on it for next time. He quickly found a flashlight app on his phone and kept climbing.
Level 8 was about 30 feet in the air. Although the ladder was securely connected to the shelving, Marty wasn’t real fond of heights. He made another note to buy a strap connector like mountain climbers use just in case. At last, he saw box 1776! His hand trembling, he reached for the wooden container. The moment his fingers touched it, the ladder began to tremble and the face of the beast Marty saw at the parade flashed into his mind. At the same time Marty felt what had the texture of a leathery cloth brush his cheek. Marty screamed and his phone fell from his hand. He heard it hit below and echo off of the tall ceiling. He then heard a high-pitched sound almost like the sonar of bats. The combination of events spooked Marty much more than any ghost could have, and he climbed as quickly, yet safely, as he could down the stairs.
The sensor lighting clicked on and Marty saw his phone in pieces on the floor. He picked them up and attempted to find his way back to the front of the building via the labels, but he was so new to the layout it was slow going. All of the while, Marty felt like he was being watched. As he strained his ears he continued hearing sonar squeaks but they sounded farther away.
When he finally made it back to exam room, he shut down the PC, grabbed his stuff and raced out and into the main desk area. The clerk took one look at Marty’s face and said, “Are you OK, son?”
“Has anyone ever told you your warehouse is haunted?” said Marty and left before the silver-haired clerk could respond.
Marty thought, now I need to find a phone store that’s open on Saturdays.
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