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Close encounters of the weird kind

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In the Dunbar public library, sat a young alabaster skinned woman wading through several open books at once. She ignored the passersby who gauged at her strange appearance and even stranger choice of reading. Instead, she kept her focus on finding as much relevant information as possible. Taking notes down as she speed reads through the different materials. Topics ranged from hauntings, curses, general occult knowledge, and a history book on ancient symbology. While thankful to have a decent assortment of materials to choose from. The PI couldn’t help but think aloud, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

-Several hours earlier- 10:38 a.m.

Jennifer sat alone in her small dimly lit office reading through the local paper. The Brightwalls had just hosted a ‘grand’ charity event at the Redwood Inn. Money promised to the help bolster the repairs to the historical district of Dunbar. The recent winter storms had passed through the city and caused more damage than expected. The front top page article had a big picture of the whole family at the front entrance with the donators. The current head of the family: Benjamin Brightwall along with his wife Julia and their teenage daughter Barbara. The next group was the middle sibling, Britney with her triplet young adult daughters: Briseida, Beatrice, and Bernadette. And at the far end surrounded by many of the donors was the youngest of the siblings, Bethany. The socialite of the family. She found it rather eerie how similar they all looked, excluding Julia. They all looked relatively happy, except for the triplets. Who seemed more begrudged to be there. Jennifer continued to speed read through the article. It talked about how great it was to have such a prestigious family to help maintain such an important cornerstone of their fair city.

Jennifer couldn’t help but roll her eyes, “They own like a third of the area. Of course, they're gonna have a ‘go fund me’ event. It’s not like they really needed it anyway since the entire district was insured. Where’s that money going?”

Insurance doesn’t always cover everything. They might be gathering more for those who were affected.” Her inner voice counter argued her cynicism. The family was rather generous with funds to maintaining the area in the past.

“We always imagine the worst from people with power.” She commented aloud.

For good reason though. History has proven this time and time again.” Her inner voice added.

“Is it healthy to expect the worst from people?” She questioned. 

Mmm, maybe not. But it does come in handy at times. Although, most people don’t appreciate it.” Her inner voice concluded. 

The pale woman sighed at her one-sided conversation as she folded the paper back up and tossed it on her desk. The old wooden chair creaked as she shifted to look around her small workspace. It was barely a 200 square-foot rectangle. Her desk faced the entrance and was placed near the back wall. To her right was a wall of blinded floor-to-ceiling windows, a mobile chalkboard, and an old leather couch near the front. To her left was a faded brick wall and five filing cabinets lined against it. While behind her hung a massive cork board with several papers pinned to it. With an entryway to it's left that led to a restroom and a supply closet. The old chair continued to creak as she leaned back to stare at the ceiling. The two dead fluorescent lights staring back at her.

It had been over two weeks since her last clients. A group of parents had hired her to tail their teenage children. Every other week they would return home later than expected. Not unusual per say, but some of the parents caught glimpses of bruises or marks. Unsure how to approach them on the matter, they decided to hire Jennifer to find out what they were up too.

After several days of following them around with a few near discoveries of her. It turned out they were all LARPing in secret. Most of the parents didn’t like/understand it. While they were relieved that it wasn’t anything serious. There were still a few parents upset that their children were doing something that they didn’t approve of. The felt that roleplaying was childish and not something worth getting 'beat-up' over. The last she heard from the families; they were working on trust issues. 

Jennifer sympathized with the teens. Her own condition had her own mother fuss over her for many years. While it was less severe now, she still worried about her daughter’s wellbeing to the point of interference. At the very least, she was paid quite well for the job. Which made the current draught of work slightly more tolerable.

“Gaaaugh, maybe I should close up early…” The PI rubbed her face in frustration.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

The sudden knocking at Jennifer’s door almost caused her to tumble out of her chair.

“Gah! Jesus!” The PI quickly caught herself before she did.

“…fuck. It’s open!” Jennifer called out as she straightened herself up.

Please let it be an actual client.” She prayed. 

The last two perspective clients had asked her to tail their spouse. She hated those jobs and rejected them on principle by giving a ridiculously high cost to do it. Both had stormed out saying something about her, ‘Audacity!!’

“If you’re having relationship problems go see a counselor. I’m not getting dragged into that crap. People can be unstable when it comes to that.” The PI remember the last time she was involved in such an incident made her shutter.

In came a well-dressed woman in her late fifties early sixties. She was rather pretty with sharply thin features, mild weathering around her hazel eyes. A clear complexion that contrasted against her medium dark brown hair. She wore a well tailor blue velvet suit jacket with gold embroidery on the lapels. A black dress shirt, white slacks, and emerald green snakeskin shows. Carrying a large black leather-bound binder.

Jennifer knew exactly who this woman was, “Miranda Horowitz.” 

The PI recognized her immediately from the recent Brightwall article. Being one of the many donors who was crowded around Bethany. She was a former city councilwoman for many years and currently owned a local antique shop. The extravagant woman had quite the reputation for being rather…exuberant and could usually be found in the gossip section of the local paper.

The older woman smiled as she strutted towards the PI’s desk. Attempting to dazzle the younger woman.

“Sorry to intrude. I realize I should have called first, but I was rather…preoccupied up until recently.” The Socialite hinted suggestively.  

I don’t want to know what that means.” Jennifer groaned inwardly. 

“It’s fine. I’m currently unoccupied…” Jennifer cringed at her own choice of words.

FOOT! MOUTH!” Her inner voice chastised. 

Miranda just gave her an amused look. "This should be interesting."

“Sorry, please…have a seat.” The younger woman pinched the bridge of her nose as she indicated toward the chair in front of her.

“Thank you my dear!” The stylish woman sat down and placed the binder in her lap.

Jennifer reached for a notepad and a pen in her desk drawer to hold a professional persona. “Okay. Game time.”

“I must say it a bit dreary in here. Perhaps you could open the blinds? I wasn’t even sure you were open until I knocked.” The socialite commented on the bleakness of the interior.

Jennifer looked the woman right in the eyes with a flat expression. “There’s an open sign.”

“Yes, bu-” Her words died on the tip of her tongue as she looked into Jennifer’s eyes. Even with the dull lighting of the room. Miranda could clearly see a pair of bright crimson red eye staring into her. At first the older woman thought Jennifer was just extremely pale with incredibly fair hair. No, the young PI was albino. The sheer paleness of her features and complexion were rather pretty in an uncanny valley sort of way. However, such feelings were lost as she continued to gaze into the albino's eyes. The irises or the lack thereof, were faded almost to the point of completely missing. The socialite felt unnerved as she continued to stare. Unable to look away from the pair of vibrantly flawed orbs. As if staring into a crimson abyss that was trying to swallow her whole.

Seeing how Ms. Horowitz was reacting to her gaze. Jennifer sighed as she broke eye contact to stand and headed toward the blinds blocking one of the floor-to-ceiling windows of her tiny office.

The older woman audibly gasped as the ocular contact was broken. Like an incredible weight was removed from her mind, “What was that!?”

As the albino reached the blinds, she took the goggles that hung from her neck and placed them over her unnerving irises. Once the goggles were secured in place, she gave the adjustment rod a few quick twists. The office became flooded immediately with natural sunlight. It gave the two occupants a clear visual of the quiet city streets.

The older woman was in awe the young PI as the light was cast upon her. The streaking sunlight had revealed just how unimaginably pale the albino’s hair and skin truly was was. Her brow equally as pale as her long hair. She’d even wager the lashes now hidden behind the dark goggles were just as white. Almost like an angel of old. A being of awe and beauty that was tapered by an unnerving sense of intensity. Jennifer silently made her way back to the desk and picked up her pen as she sat back down. A powerful sense of professionalism radiated from the well-dressed young woman.

“So, how can we at Arcadia's Agency help you today?”