Day Twenty-Two: Technology..Ehhhh…

So I’m still trying to figure out this new laptop.  Windows 8 is weird, guys.

Way weird.

I learned I can download apps onto the computer, kinda like my phone.  Great, that’s neat-o.  Peruse the Store, install a couple of nifty apps, all good.

Try to find the apps to open them?  Uhhh…yeah, ’bout that.

Thank goodness the computer came with some nifty how-to videos.  Even Google couldn’t tell me where the apps went to, or how I could access them.  I admit, tears were imminent before I watched the video.  Because I couldn’t even find out how to uninstall these apps I’d downloaded!

Anyway, I found them in the hidden second page of the Start Menu, and I then figured out how to pin the programs to the Start Menu, and it was all good.

I’d downloaded two apps that are supposed to help with the writing/editing process.  They’re both free apps, so if you want to download them, go ahead.  So I thought I’d try one tonight.

The first one up for trial tonight is Write.  It boasts a clean, distraction-free, simple interface, allowing you to focus on your writing or editing.  You can literally open, type, and save documents.  That’s about it.  No indenting paragraphs.  No changing fonts.  No scroll buttons on the side, so I don’t think I’ll use this one for editing.  (I had to highlight the text to scroll up and down quickly.)  And of course, as this is a computer running Windows 8, all I have to do is hit the Windows button, and I have access to all my distractions within a second.  I don’t know if it auto-saves, so if your system crashes, your document is probably a goner.  Your only options for saving are as a Simple Text document.  Not sure how this document type will get along with other word processors (experiments for tomorrow.)

In theory, I kind of like it.  It’ll be good for those times when you’re just trying to just loosen up and WRITE.  But if you need to reference other documents, or hit up Google for a quick fact-check, or indent your paragraphs, or format your text in any way…stick with a regular old word processor.

Tomorrow, I’ll give the other app a whirl.  It’s supposed to be the same kind of idea.  So we’ll see if it’s the exact same idea, or if it has better benefits.

For now, this is what I hammered out on Write tonight.  A little play with Deirdre and Evan.  For reference, Deirdre is a shaman, and Evan is a paranormal investigator.

Enjoy.

***

I flipped through the pages and pages of notes. I recognized some of the notations, but it was a lot of technical shorthand. “What does this all mean?”

Evan took the file from me and hunted through the pages for several ragged-edged pieces of graph paper. “This’ll help.” He smoothed the crinkled pages onto the table in front of me. “This is a layout of the house.” He arranged the pages so that I could see the house. He’d measured and charted each room, the doorways and windows, and even the furniture. The layout was marked with dozens of numbers, which corresponded to the lengthy notes in the rest of the file.

I started matching the notations to the layout, and I started to see a pattern. “Hum.”

“It’s weird, right?”

I realized all of the notes were clustered by dates. They detailed measurements and other observations, including weather patterns, passing traffic, animal activity, and then unknown, potentially paranormal activity. Evan had been out to the house several times over the last couple of years.

But unlike most paranormal cases, there was no real rhyme or reason to the activity. Sometimes there were voices. Other times, small items went missing or moved. Cold spots, invisible hands pulling hair, strange smells, unexplained music. But there was hardly a day where the residents didn’t report some kind of activity. The residents, two sisters, even kept a blog to document all the occurrences.

Even Evan’s investigations had turned up different readings in different places for each visit. If I didn’t know better, I’d have guessed each cluster of dates was for a different location. “Yeah, it’s weird.”

“So could you come out with me?”

“Sure. When are you going out there next?”

“Next week. They’re expecting me Friday night around seven o’clock.”

I nodded. “Sounds good.”

I’d never been in a car so crowded.

The trunk was packed with plastic tubs of the expensive equipment. A folded table and stacks of smaller, labelled tubs full of coiled ropes of cables filled the back seat. Evan’s overnight bag was kind of wedged under my seat behind my heels, while my bag sat on my lap. Evan’s laptop case was…somewhere.

“I finally managed to get the thermal cam. Maybe it’ll see something useful.”

“Maybe,” I agreed.

Evan pulled into the driveway and parked. He had to get out and take my bag before I could even unbuckle my seatbelt.

I set my feet on the ground. “Oh.”

“What? What?”

I stood, one hand braced on the car. “Whoa.”

“What?”

The front door opened, and a woman stepped outside. “Evan, hi!”

“Oh, hi, Cheryl. How are you?”

“I’m okay, I’m okay. How was the drive?” Cheryl tucked her hands into the back pockets of her snug jeans. With her weight on one foot, she twisted her torso toward Evan, thrusting her breasts forward and tilting her head. Flirt.

“Same as it always is.” Did Evan seriously not notice the flirting?

Cheryl turned her attention to me, her eyes narrowing. “Who’s this? Another trainee?”

“No, this is Deirdre. She’s something of an expert in the really odd cases.”

Cheryl beamed at me, but I couldn’t help but think she’d happily shove a knife in my back to eliminate me as a threat for Evan’s attention. Oh, if only she knew. “Well, this house is the oddest of them all!” she chirped.

I shut the car door and leaned back against the vehicle. Uncomfortable, tingling warmth was spreading up the back of my neck. “Yeah, something like that.”

Evan frowned. Cheryl glared daggers.

“These kinds of places are rare, and I really can’t stay here, Evan.”

“Why not?”

I dabbed sweat from my forehead. “Two ley lines cross here. You’re getting all kinds of activity because there are all kinds of spooks passing through via the lines.” Black floaty spots appeared in my vision. “There’s a lot of energy here, and I can’t rein it all in because of the transitory nature of ley lines. I’m really sorry, but I can’t help.” Bile bit at the back of my throat.

Evan lunged and grabbed my shoulders as my knees buckled. “Easy there, easy. Let’s get you back into the car. Cheryl?”

Cheryl was kind enough to open the door and helped Evan wedge me back into the packed car. Once my feet weren’t touching the ground any more, the nausea faded. I leaned forward to rest my forehead against the dash board.

Evan crouched beside me and rubbed my back. “Do you need anything? Water?”

“No, I’ll be okay,” I murmured. I could feel the eye-daggers Cheryl was sending my way. I really couldn’t care less.

“Okay. Let’s go back a bit. So there’s a ley line here?”

I held up two fingers. “Two. They cross here.”

“Okay, so what does that mean, exactly?”

“Ley lines are paths of energy. Spirits will travel along ley lines normally, kind of like highways. Normally, the spirits can’t mess around on the sides of the lines, as the strength of the energy flow keeps them contained. But when they cross, they create something a lot more potent than a traffic circle. The spirits can do whatever they want within the region, and then pass along. So you keep experiencing different things and getting different readings, because there’s always something different in the home.”

“Okay. So there’s no way to stop it, I’m guessing?”

I shook my head. “Nothing that I know of. That would be like trying to block the earth’s magnetic field.”

“Ah. And all that energy is affecting you.”

I nodded. “I’m not used to it.”

“Okay. Well, you stay here for a minute. I’m gonna talk to Cheryl, and then I’ll get you out of here.”

I nodded again. Evan’s hand left my back, and I heard him walking away.

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