I pulled into my driveway and stopped the car, shutting off the engine. I sighed. It had been a long day. I got out of my car, locking it behind me, and went up the front porch steps picking up my newspaper and mail as I went. Opening the screen door, I entered my enclosed front porch and unlocked the front door and entered my house.
Two things happened at once. The cuckoo clock went off three times. The second was I knew someone had entered my house but was no longer there. I muttered to myself that I really had to fix that clock. The clock was actually a spell. With each cuckoo, my spell-bound clock was telling me how many people had entered my house. Three cuckoos meant three intruders. But since my wind up toy dog was not barking, they were no longer on my premises. If they had been, it would have been barking its little mechanical mouth off. Handy things, spells.
The clock and the dog only went off under certain circumstances; they were one of my warning systems. I put my briefcase down next to the umbrella stand and went to the kitchen. The clock on the wall said 6:30 PM. I got a juice out of the refrigerator and went to the living room and turned on the TV, sat in my recliner and leaned back, causing the foot rest to extend.
I sighed loudly, popping the top of my can of juice. I drank off several mouthsful and set the can down. I looked through my mail. Nothing important. I opened the paper and started reading all the headlines on the front page. At least, that was the impression I was trying to give. I didn't really know if I was under any surveillance, but I wanted to play it safe. Until I could be sure I was not under observation, I would be a tired man home from a hard day at work.
I put the paper down and closed my eyes, seemingly going to nap in my easy chair. In actuality, I was preparing myself to let my spirit move freely from my body. In that form I would be able to see much more easily if anything had been disturbed.
It took about 5 minutes to achieve that state which allowed me to move from my physical body. As I did, I saw gentle currents of energy pulsing everywhere I looked. The pulsing was in time with my heart, since I was the one who placed the security spell in my house, it was tied to my being.
No, it wasn't one of those spells that harm people or scream out something is wrong, just a little something to let me know what had been disturbed, if anything. There - I saw the three faint but clear psychic trails. I chose one and followed it through my house. I then followed the other two trails. Thirty minutes later I had my answer.
These people were very professional. As I followed the individual trails, they had led me to several places where I noticed little knots in my energy screen. Concentrating, I saw what the disturbance in each knot was. There were a number of listening devices in my home which had not been there when I had left for work this morning. Also there were two very small cameras.
One of the cameras was placed in my living room, and was no doubt feeding my watchers a live look at my body apparently sleeping in my easy chair. I went back to my body and re-entered it. I snorted as if waking from a nap. I got up, rubbing my eyes and went into the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face then dried it.
I was definitely hungry. I went back outside, locking my front door behind me. I had some thinking to do, and didn't want to do it at my house while it was bugged. I still didn't know what I was going to do about the bugs. Should I destroy them? If so, it would let whoever was bugging me I was onto them.
Getting back into my car, I drove back into the city proper and pulled into the parking lot of a small restaurant I sometimes ate at. Locking my car again, I entered the place and was quickly seated. There were about twenty people inside.
I asked for a smoking table for one. I know, not very politically correct in this day and age, but I enjoyed the act of smoking. I was quickly seated and had a glass of water, a menu, and a cup of coffee placed before me. I took a sip of coffee and looked the menu over.
I looked up as two more people entered the establishment. Yep, I had observed these two people on my drive back into the city. The probability was extremely low that they were not involved in my newfound problem of the bugging of my house. They were seated in my same section, but two tables away. I would have to turn to look at them, but they had a good view of me.
"Hey Paul. It's not Friday. What brings you in so early?" Asked my waitress as she came up to take my order.
"Why, because I miss your company of course." I replied.
"Sure, you and half a dozen others. What can I get for you this evening?" She asked.
I gave her my order and she left to place it for me. I decided turn about was fair play, and got up and went into the bathroom. Sure enough, the male partner of the couple who had followed me into the restaurant was right behind me. I went into a stall and shut the door. I didn't really have to use the bathroom, I just wanted some semi-privacy to work a spell.
After a couple minutes prep work I flushed the toilet, which covered the sound of my voice as I finished the phrase for my spell. Since I had to say the last of it out loud, that was why I was in the bathroom. With my spell prepped, I exited the cubicle and sure enough, there was Mr. A combing his hair at the mirror.
I nodded politely, washed my hands and left. Getting back to my table I softly spoke my spell and willed it to go to the table with the dark haired woman sitting alone. She was not alone long. Almost as soon as I reseated myself, her partner was back.
"Anything?" Asked the woman as her partner sat.
"Nothing. He went into a stall, was there for a couple minutes, came out. He did wash his hands though." her male partner said.
This was confirmation that I was definitely being followed. Now the question was, who? Shortly the waitress returned with my order. I ate and listened to my newfound friends conversation. They spoke quietly together. My waitress returned with a coffee pot in her hand.
"So how is the private investigation business going?" My waitress, Cyndi, asked as she refilled my coffee.
"Just fine. Just resolved a case today. Got a couple nibbles. Business is definitely looking good." I told her.
She flirted with me a moment, and I flirted back. My two interested followers didn't say anything while this was going on. I supposed it was to overhear anything I might say or get told. I sipped my coffee and concentrated on listening to my two unwanted companions.
You meet all sorts of people in my line of work. I was an independent Private investigator and I did very well. Actually, I did better than most. Part of it was hard work, and part of it was the fact I had an edge. I had magic to fall back on if I was stumped. Most people in the world don't have this ability. But then, I wasn't from this world originally.
I was a refugee. My mother had sent me to this world when I was a very young man. It was for my own safety she had said. I never saw her again. That had been in the year 1877 local time. That was a hundred and twenty eight years ago. If you looked at me, you would swear I was in my late 20's or early 30's. I age well.
I didn't really hear too much more about me from my two watchers. I finished my coffee, my meal had been finished some time ago. I motioned for my check. Cyndi nodded and I stood, pulling out my wallet, I laid down three dollars for a tip.
"He's leaving. Well, that means we are finished. Next team gets to dog him." I heard through my spell.
"Good. Soon as I finish filing my report, I am for some sleep." The male agent responded.
So. I rated a team. Great. Now all I had to figure out was, who they were, what they wanted, and why were they following me? Shouldn't be hard for an investigator. I snorted a laugh as I unlocked my car and entered it. I drove back to my house, and it was dark before I got there. That gave me an idea.
I had quickly identified my new tail. Another team, this one two men. As I drove up the short driveway to my home, I saw they passed by and continued down the road. OK, I knew where every bug and both cameras were. The visual bug in the living room was going to be, 'accidentally ' discovered.
I went in and turned on lights. Almost as soon as I did, a light bulb in the living room chandelier went out. I muttered to myself, and fetched a replacement bulb and the ladder. I climbed the ladder and started to unscrew the faulty bulb. It was then I, 'discovered' the spy cam.
"What the..." I didn't finish the sentence. I wanted to make this look good.
I quickly removed the spy cam and replaced my burnt out bulb. I climbed down the ladder. The spy cam was a very expensive job. I went over to my desk and sat down at it. I picked up the phone and dialed the number of a friend of mine in the surveillance industry.
"Hello?" Asked a voice I recognized as the person I wanted.
"Hi Jack. It's Paul. Paul Lindsy. You busy?" I asked him.
"Paul? No. Not busy. What's up?" He asked curiously.
"Well, I was changing a bulb in my house, and I found the darndest thing. A surveillance camera of some sort. You're the expert in this field, so I thought I would give you a call. Could you come over to my place and check my house for me? It would make me feel much better." I said, putting as much anger and confusion into it as I could for the benefit of my eavesdroppers.
"Sure. Where you at?" He asked. I told him.
"Be there in 30 minutes." He said and hung up.
While I waited for Jack to show, I made a fresh pot of coffee. I thought furiously while it was dripping into the pot. Lets see. I come home, and find I have been broken into, but no sign of it. Listening devices placed in my home as well as cameras. Two people identified as part of a team. Two different people follow me home. Obviously someone was interested in me, but who?
Jack showed up in 20 minutes. I was waiting outside, drinking my first cup of home brewed when he drove up. I walked down and met him as he got out of his car. We shook hands and I pulled out the Surveillance cam and handed it to him. He looked at it and whistled.
"This is a very expensive camera, Paul. Very High Tech too. See here? This is the antenna. I would say transmission range of about 1000 feet. More if there is a repeater set up close by. You found this in your Chandelier you say?" He asked.
I nodded. He informed me that he had his best tech on the way and she should be here shortly. I asked him if he would like a cup of coffee and he said sure. We went in and I fixed him one. We took our coffee back outside to wait for his employee.
In the meantime, Jack had partially dismantled the camera. He had it in several pieces on the hood of his car. Just then a van pulled into my driveway and parked behind Jack. A very good looking young woman got out and headed towards us.
"What's the job, Jack?" She asked as she came up to us.
"Hey runt. This is Paul. Paul? This is my sister, Sandra." Jack said, introducing us.
We shook hands and then she looked at the dismantled camera on Jacks car. In the meantime, Jack went to the side door of the van and opened it, then pulled out a belt which he put on.
"You in trouble with the government?" Sandra asked me.
"Not that I know of. Why?" I asked her.
"While this is a slightly older model, it is a model that is almost exclusively used by, Big Brother." She said.
"I thought so. But I wanted your opinion before I said anything. Paul wants us to sweep his house for him."
She nodded and went to the van and got a belt as well as a briefcase out of the van. She then closed and locked the van. We all trooped back into my place, bringing the disabled camera with us. I pointed out where I had found the camera.
I followed them through the house as they made their sweep. They found all but two listening devices and the second camera on the first sweep. They then swept the house again. Shortly, we had a pile of listening devices and both cameras on my dining room table. Total elapsed time, about two hours. They were very thorough.
"Ok. What we have here is a total of seven listening devices, and two cameras. The phone is still tapped. There is a drain on your phone that should not be there. The rest of your house is clean. Just what are you up to, Paul." Jack asked me.
"I have to say I am puzzled. I am not investigating anyone right now. I finished a case today, but it had nothing to do with anything that should arouse this kind of interest in me." I said musingly.
"Well, everything here is used by either the government, or by big industry. It is all very expensive equipment. You have almost 10,000 dollars worth of electronics here on your table." Jack said in a pondering tone.
I blinked. Someone was going to a lot of trouble, and it annoyed me. So I had been broken into, bugs and cameras planted, and I had teams following me. Plus they had the resources to expend a lot of money on this stuff. Just who was that interested in me? I shook my head.
"Can't think of anyone who would be that interested in me." I said after a moments thought.
"Well, this stuff is really expensive. If you want, I can put it in my vault and store it for you, in case it is Fed property. If they have a warrant that lets them eavesdrop on you, they are going to want their stuff back. I actually heard about a guy who found and destroyed a bug, and the government charged him with destruction of government property!" Jack said chuckling.
We talked for a bit longer, then I wrote Jack a check for his service and he and his sister departed. It was only after they had gone that I remembered they did not check my car. Damn. Oh well, I would look it over in the morning after my morning jog.
The next day dawned bright and clear and I was out jogging shortly after the sun rose. The best thing about being your own boss, is you set your own hours. I really didn't see how people could stand having to be at places at specific times to work. Sure, I had worked for others before, but that was why I was now self employed.
I pounded along my route and thought about the surveillance I was under again. Ever since 9/11, I had been worried something like this might happen. The government was taking liberties with peoples rights in the name of safety. It was also getting much harder to establish new identities. Computerization was a pain. So was living longer than other people.
I had been very young, just 12 years old when I crossed the portal from my world to this one. I learned that people got upset if you didn't age as fast as the others did. My mother placed me with a man here who had been a wizard on my world, and was a wizard here. He told me that most people did not really believe in magic in this world. A lot of it was due to religious instruction. Still more was suspicion of the strange and unusual.
In 1909 I had to move away as people were questioning my age. People I had been friends with since I had arrived were getting upset with me. I looked like I was only in my early twenties while others my age were getting older with gray hair. Despite being cautioned to move once every ten years or so, I had gotten comfortable where I was. My mentor arranged for me to move and established a new identity for me. He also trained me in magic. I picked up a lot of magic and created new spells as I aged.
So I had moved around. I learned how to establish new identities. As medical technology and life had gotten easier for people, I found I did not have to move as often. People were living longer, and since life was not as hard, they did not show aging as fast as they used to.
Still, someone was spying on me. So I might have to establish a new identity. I had not thought I would have to do this for at least another 20 years. The probability that it was the Federal Government doing the spying, was strong. I turned onto the final leg of my jog and noticed a car parked in my driveway. Two people were leaning against it looking my way.
Sighing, I ran a few more feet, then decided to do my cool down walk early. 5 minutes later I turned into my driveway and watched as the two walked towards me, splitting as they came. I stopped. There was no way I was going to let them bracket me.
"May I help you?" I asked in a slightly breathless tone.
"Paul Lindsy?" Asked the man on the right. The other man was still moving and trying to edge around me. I dropped back two steps before I answered.
"Yes, and who might you be?" I asked, repositioning myself so the man to the left could not get around me.
"We have a few questions we would like to ask you. Could we step inside please?" The man on the right asked.
"Not until you identify yourselves. If you don't stop trying to flank me, I am going to knock your teeth down your throat." The last I said to the man on the left who was still trying to get around me.
"Mr. Lindsy, we mean you no harm. If you would just give us a few minutes, I think we can clear this up." Right hand man said.
"I have asked you to identify yourselves twice now. No identity has been forthcoming. Yet you guys move to bracket me. You do not inspire any confidence, you know." I finished.
"Alright. I am agent Clay, and this is agent Kempler. We are with the FBI." They both produced little leather folders with their pictures and identity papers. I had seen enough FBI identity papers in the past to know this was the real deal.
"So what can I do for the FBI?" I asked.
"IF we could go inside, perhaps you would feel more comfortable." Agent Clay asked.
"I don't think so. Just state your business and we will go from there."
"Sir, we are running a new project that is confidential, and we were wondering if you would be interested. It is really best if we went inside to talk. Or better yet, if you would come down to our office downtown, we could be more assured of confidentiality." Clay said.
I walked around the two agents and climbed the steps. They followed me up the stairs. I unlocked the door and went in and turned around blocking the two agents.
"Not interested." I said, closing the door.
They immediately started knocking on my door. I heard muffled conversation, but was unable to make it out. Soon I heard car door slams and they drove off. Interesting. The FBI was offering me some sort of job, or wanted me involved in some project they were doing. I had a firm rule, which was never work for the government.
An hour later I had showered, shaved, and found another listening device as well as what appeared to be a transponder in my car. The transponder got me thinking. I had ONSTAR in my car and ONSTAR had the capability to track my car. What if they let me find the transponder, but were still tracking me with my own built-in transponder?
As I finished my drive to where I had my office, I parked my car and walked two blocks over to a pay phone. I spent 10 minutes talking to two different people. I went back to where I parked my car and waited. While I waited, I checked my car. Before leaving, I had cast a spell on it. It was undisturbed. Opening the door, or hood, or trunk would have caused that spell to fail, which would have told me someone had tampered with my car again.
The person I was waiting for was a man who owed me a favor. He was going to watch my car for me. The other call had been to my lawyer. I briefly told him what I had discovered last night, and this mornings confrontation, and my actions. He told me to definitely NOT destroy the bugs. We might be able to use them for evidence in the future. In the meantime he would check around to see if warrants had been issued to bug my house or business.