“Are you all right?” the lab tech asked.
Laurie cleared her throat. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Rationally, she wanted to ignore it, but she had a feeling like her feet just turned to lead and her whole body went cold. She felt like someone was about to grab her. “I’m going to step out for a second.”
“Take your time.”
Laurie walked out to the hallway. She dodged some of the shop crew. A lift truck went by carrying a pallet of excess computers. Laurie opened her lab coat. She went with her feelings. She imagined sand in the distance. The beach.
Her twin brother Phil was on vacation in Cancun. He liked to snorkel. She found a quiet corner and backed up against it. She pretended to read email on her iPhone. She swiped and tapped the wallpaper picture of her horse, as if she read something fascinating.
She felt chill fear. She could almost taste the salt water.
Ridiculous. She was a scientist, not a psychic. But if this was real, and she could help one inch, she was going to.
Laurie concentrated as hard as she could. “I don’t know if this is legit, but if you’re in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore,” she whispered. “Then pop on your back and kick. Relax. Breathe. I don’t care if you’re fucking tired, you can swim for the rest of your goddamned life. Just start swimming. They’re looking for you. They’ll find you. See you when you get back.”
Laurie took a breath. She went to the nearest vending machine and bought a bottle of water. One of the finance guys walked by. She gave him a pleasant hello.
She had an idea. Laurie dialed Phil’s number. When his answering machine beeped, she said, “Phil, it’s Laurie. Hey, look. Do me a favor. I know you just got back, but when you have a minute, rack your brain and tell me what you were doing at… 1:00 Eastern, March 3rd, while you were on vacation. That would be Wednesday. Probably drinking margaritas, but I just wanted to check. See ya.”
A data point was a data point. She was a scientist, after all.