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PART TWENTY-EIGHT

Suzann rolled another chair to the side of her desk so both she and Stacie could see her computer monitor. “Sit, please,” she said, motioning to the chair with her hand as she took her own well-worn seat. “Let’s find the CCTV footage from recess, shall we?”

Stacie sat primly, straightening her skirt as she leaned closer to the monitor. “Jim Lance said that he told our mystery Caleb that the cameras were recording recess and that one was taking the man’s picture as they spoke, but he confided in me that he didn’t know if that was so?” she asked Suzann.

“Yes. As you know, Interlachen has seventeen external security monitors. That’s a camera on each of the four corners of the four buildings, plus one high above the main parking lot. The cameras can swivel three-hundred-sixty degrees and tilt up and down but the ones on the buildings’ corners are only used in a two-seventy arc, no sense pointing a camera at a stonewall, now is there?”

“Not unless you’re a Trump Republican,” Stacie mumbled under her breath.

“Sorry?” Suzann asked, perplexed.

“Nothing. Go ahead.”

“When Jim told me he was speaking with a strange man standing outside the fence, I selected camera A-3. That’s the one on the back corner of the northeast building over by where the gym is?” Stacie nodded to indicate comprehension, “And I spun it from a playground view to a street view. Problem is, I had a few things going on all at once and as there was no urgency from Jim, I wasn’t very careful with my aim. I haven’t a clue how much footage, if any, we got of our mystery man,” Suzann said as a maximized view of security camera A-3’s live view filled her computer monitor.

“Ah, see there?” she asked. “I overshot my mark and went too far northeast or left. You can just make out the thinnest edge of the perimeter fence that separates the school grounds from the retention pond.” Using her finger, she pointed to the far-right side of the screen, “See right there? That’d be the zebra that crosses our northeast entrance. Jim was on that side of the building when he called up so that’s the camera that I moved.

“Zebra?”

“Oh,” Suzann chuckled, “that’s what we called crosswalks when I was a little girl. We had zebras and sleeping policemen; a sleeping policeman being a euphemism for a speed bump. Now, let’s go to the recording from say, twelve-forty-five? and see if we captured Skylar’s dead father on film.”

Suzann tapped a button on her keyboard and the shadows on the monitor became shorter as the scene reverted to a playground view. She tapped another, and the children began to move at breakneck speed as she fast-forwarded to the point where the camera angle changed dizzyingly fast from a child centric orientation to a view of the green, three-foot-tall, chain-link perimeter fence that separated Interlachen Elementary from Interlachen Drive.

“Well,” Suzann said, looking at her computer screen, “that’s an appropriately fuzzy image for an apparition, but it looks as though we captured a sighting of our Caleb Heald, aka Caleb Kisor.”