Monday 25 February 2013

Magic Falls - Part Nine

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Shane Smith looked out at the audience, and then back at the man.

“Well,” he said with a smile developing across his face. “I’m not sure if you want me to tell them that…”

The audience laughed, and the man laughed as well.

Just keep talking and get through this he thought to himself. Then you can decide what to do. Just keep talking. Figure it out as you go. Don’t freeze.

 “Wait,” he said with a puzzled look, before looking back to the audience with raised eyebrows. “She was how old?”

Again, the audience laughed, and the man laughed along with it, as he heard the man’s internal response.

“Oh, my mistake,” he said. “She was twenty-three, wasn’t she?”

That got a reaction from him. Not much, but the smile was replaced by concern, and then the concern was gone and he was smiling again.  But Shane could see that the smile no longer reached his eyes.

“She was,” the man replied.

“And how old were you? Thirty-two? Eight? Somewhere in-between….” He didn’t need to hear the response here. He’d fallen back on cold-reading instead. And the easiest way to cold read was when someone specifically didn’t want to give you an answer. If you knew what you were looking for, you could see their attempts to avoid reacting clearly.

He still heard the answer, but that wasn’t the point. The point right now was in keeping him just on-edge enough to get the questions that he needed to ask threaded into an otherwise innocuous part of the show.

It’s just a show for now. But you may not easily get him in a position where you can ask him questions elsewhere. So keep him talking, keep him answering.

He deliberately got the man’s age wrong, and was gratified when he nodded at the wrong answer. It meant he was playing along. And it meant he’d started lying.

This was good.

“What colour underwear was she wearing?” He asked, to a few gasps in the audience, and this time he went for the joke answer rather than the real one. It was enough for the man to stop thinking that Shane actually had something, and he relaxed.

From there, it was mostly simple. He turned the routine into a joke, using the questions to suggest that the woman had been a prostitute, and it had happened in a back alleyway somewhere in Brighton. The man played along with the joke, allowing Shane to ask his questions with a smile and a wink.

This allowed him to ask the right questions, and get answers. He had her name and where he last saw her.
He wrapped up the segment, and moved onto the rest of the show, noting where the man sat. And when the show was over, he spoke to the Box Office, and found out who had sat there.

When he got back to the hotel that night, he looked up her name and details online. She’d gone missing years ago. The news of her disappearance had circulated briefly, and then the world had moved on.

While he had him on stage, he’d asked where he’d last seen her, and a place had flashed into his mind. A sense of location, strong and definite, as if he’d known it all his life.

He brought up that location online and looked at it. It was in a forest, not far from the road. Where he’d buried her.

He wondered if she was still there.

He looked at the information he had about the man. His name and address. He didn’t know what to do with it.

The man had been calm and collected, mostly. He knew he’d got away with it, and he was enjoying it.

Shane didn’t know if he’d done it again. He may have. Or perhaps he’d only done it the once, savouring it for the rest of his life.

It didn’t feel like something he could go to the police about. It would be ignored. It was too insane a conversation to start.

He walked to the window of his hotel room, and looked out over the city.

There was a lot on the line for him. If he came out about this new ability he had, it would put him forward for all kinds of scrutiny.

If he kept quiet, and maybe dropped anonymous clues, he could hope that the police would look into it. That they’d take the cue and start the investigation. And meanwhile, he’d just concentrate on using his gift to make him famous and rich.

But he knew they wouldn’t. Not for a case this long dead, and they wouldn’t excavate with no evidence of her body being there.

And he couldn’t just leave it. He couldn’t live with himself if he did that.

A few hours later, the blog post was finished. An accusation. Names, dates and places.

He would take it public. Put the man on the defensive, and encourage his social media followers to pressure the police to take it seriously.

He would offer himself under any test conditions with regards to his abilities. He wouldn’t ignore it. He would shout about it.

Let the Genie out of the bottle. Put himself out there. And prove his abilities in order to defend himself.

He knew that his life would change after this. He’d never had to deal with the police before, not properly. 
But now he would throw himself in front of a murder enquiry.

His finger hovered over the touchpad on his netbook, and he almost changed his mind. Almost allowed himself to give into fear. Almost backed off completely.

And then he pressed ‘Enter’.

He sat back, looking at the screen and wondered if he’d just thrown his career away. Or even his life. But he'd chosen to take something insane public.

He switched the computer off and lay down. He wanted to sleep, but couldn't.

Part Ten

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