There was a man in the doorway. Four foot three and tightly wrapped in a dark blue suit. His eyes stuttered around the room, hedging on to a detail and then to the next. His eyes finally connected to the safe on the other side of the room, behind a stack on fluro folders. He let his eyes search more smoothly around the office. Pens, papers, paperclip chains dangling off draw handles, shelves with books stored both vertically and horizontal and sometimes on a diagonal threatening to fall off. He licked his lips gently before entering the space, careful to place his feet around crumbs of a sandwich half eaten. His hair was short, with a fringe gently touching his forehead and swerving to the side. He hadn’t shaved, and sleep stained his eyes. The safe he was after was primitive. Very simple mechanism with no electronic alarms. It was meant to seem unworthy. Something to look over, surely the folders would have something more valuable in them. Toby hauled himself on top of the desk and next to the safe. His fingers finding home around the round dial. Four digits. 1918. Sure enough the safe door swung open and the contents rotted in his sight. A head. A human head, probably of a man around thirty years of age. He looked away in disgust, moving his jacket over his nose and mouth. He turned his head gently back. It wasn’t who he thought it was. He turned his head down and closed the safe again. He gently slid his way down onto the floor and back to the doorway. He took one last look at the office and the safe before leaving.
The party was going a raging success. Seven hundred people, students, teachers, alumni, politicians and celebrities were gracing the floors of Anderson University of Science and Art. The wooden floorboards creaked under the weight as every raised their glass. It was the 50th anniversary. Wesley Anderson, the head of the university slid the last words of his speech into the grand sound of applause. It had been a good five years, and surely another five years were to come. The campaign tasted expensive. He was glad he kept the good stuff for the staff. They had placed the same labels on the cheaper bottles, who was to notice? Two halls were being used for the occasion as well as the outside court yards. It may not be as large as some other facilities, but the Anderson University was becoming more and more prestigious. Private funding helped, as was the breakthrough in their biology department. No other school could amount to the findings of Anderson. Not without the same sacrifices.
He looked across the campus and could see the party proceeding. Kicking up gravel, Toby made his way back the busy crowds and drunk students. He thought back on the evening. Three heads. None familiar. Surely he would be here somewhere. He had already searched all the science offices, staff rooms…he wasn’t going to look through the student rooms. He doubted they would help. Some girl yelled out one of the seven dwarves names. Her squeal immediately put him in a foul mood. He pushed his way past her and several other female students. He hated parties. More than he hated Wesley Anderson.
“Toby Jones?!” he felt the groan almost escape his mouth. Which long forgotten graduate recognized him? He turned, displayed a small smile, hoping he could cut this short. “I thought it was you!” the man reached his hand out and Toby grabbed it in a cold handshake.
“Mathew Stevens…great to see you!”
“It must be, what? Ten years?”
“Something like that” Stevens nodded and looked up, hoping to find someone else.
“Well lovely to see you, but I just spotted Tabitha, and/”
“Go on, wouldn’t want to keep her waiting” Stevens nodded again and disappeared into the crowd. It wasn’t so bad. Just, annoying. Toby watched the man’s gate and walk. Must have changed his lifestyle…anything can happen in ten years. Toby’s thoughts rested on Ryan again. He hoped to find the Red Diamonded man around. He had been missing for seven months. In fact numerous alumni had gone missing. He thought about the heads again. Surely it was some science experiment. Though there was a head in the Art department. Perhaps literal head hunting. He smiled at the thought. He had been a technician in the police morgue for four years. Autopsies were of great interest though he focused on the more, well technical aspect. Getting the data and painting a picture for the detectives smoking impatiently on the side lines. Though his boss reminded him that it was better they only smelt of smoke rather than smoke in the labs. Times change.
He thought of the school nurse. Perhaps answers there. He pushed through the crowd, trying not to look up the excessively tight skirts that the women wore. Eyes straight he found his way out and into the hallway. There was a nurse station a few doors down. Making a beeline there, he noticed a security camera facing the doorway. He stopped, sure he was out of its range, but unsure on how to proceed. He heard a loud groan from the hall and turned. Light by light, everything turned dark. He spun around and took his chance. Running forward he flung himself through the unlocked door and into the nurse’s station. He pulled his phone out and lit up the small space. His eyebrow raised as he looked at the typically clean, bland desk, chair and bed. The computer was unfortunately down with the rest of the electricity, and there didn’t seem to be any paper files.
Annoyed, he looked back to the door, wondering if it would be too obvious he were to leave. He heard footsteps. Toby turned off his phone and moved the chair, hiding under the table. He slid the chair back waited for his eyes to adjust, yet again. Tailored legs walked in, seemingly swift in pulling the chair out. Toby held his breath as the man moved it across the room. One placed, he stood up onto it, and a whirl filled the room. A buzz of electricity filled the space. A backup generator. Odd place to keep it, though the students wouldn’t nick it hiding up there. Well unless they found out about it.
A loud applause was heard outside as the festivities continued. The man put the chair back and went to leave. Toby lent out, hoping to get a look. He wasn’t fast enough. Quickly getting to his feet, Toby ran out of the room, following the man. Hoping that the generator wouldn’t awaken unnecessary things like cameras. Amongst the crowd, the man only looked back once. He had the body. But the face just wasn’t right. A woman tugged at his sleeve, enough to reveal the wrist. Red diamonds.