The Barrier: Case Two- Chapter Two

When they were further down the road, Emily leaned forward from the back to talk to Riley. “So I added a few programs. There is a digital library that will help us with research when we can’t be online. We use a cell phone hotspot and a booster, but while traveling, there are still certain limitations. I also added a program for you to use to help take notes, update research, etc. It is always connected to one another, so it will help with the ease of sharing and help us to avoid going down the same path too often. You can look through it, it is fairly easy to understand and has the process for older cases so you can learn.”

Riley was browsing through everything as Emily explained, and it did all seem fairly straightforward. It would just take a little time to get used to it.

“In the beginning, don’t worry about getting too many sources or anything. You’ll learn to edit yourself down more with time and experience. For now, I would rather have too much than too little from you. The best way will really be going over the old case notes. I assume you don’t mind reading and studying?” Emily continued.

“Not in the least.”

“Do not burn yourself out,” Ethan interrupted. “There is a lot to go over, and practice and experience will also be key.”

“You think I will?” Riley questioned.

“Over read? Yes.” Ethan answered.

Emily giggled, and Riley narrowed her eyes at Ethan. She eventually had to relent and rolled her eyes, giving a slight chuckle. “It’s a little weird you already know me so well.”

“We have known each other for only a few days, and you spent all of your free time during that reading. It is not hard to put two and two together. Also, Jack complained he could never keep enough books in the store for you.”

Emily grinned and then continued, “While you do some reading, I will be organizing the case notes. Just jump into the program every once in a while, and you can see what I am doing while I update. As soon as we get a better signal, I will give you a heads up, and we can focus on research.”

Riley nodded and went over the introductory notes for the case they were going on. A lot of overview – The name of the town, who had invited them, what activity they had experienced, and just general notes on the town itself. Also, some information about the legend of La Llorona, but Riley understood that Ethan didn’t want them to focus too hard on that angle.

Once she finished that part, she began to read older case notes to see how they developed. She could see the overview, to broad research, to it being narrowed down. Emily was efficient and good at zeroing in on what was important. Riley also noticed patterns in what Emily considered useful or not. A lot of history on the people and locations directly involved in a case. Some references to old legends and lore, but that much seemed to shift based on the particulars of the cases themselves. Riley also noted that Emily’s notes on what was happening during a case were more extensive than Riley had noticed her taking. She could note how Emily’s research developed as events on cases unfolded.

There was little difference between how research played out whether they were working on a real haunting or debunking. The only difference was the why and the details. Again it was a lot for Riley to take in, but it all made sense in how it flowed and seemed intuitive enough. It also appeared like her and Emily’s organization and research style would complement one another, which Riley considered a good thing. She just hoped that she would be able to add and not simply be a slower version of Emily.

As she was doing this, she kept checking in on how Emily was developing the library post case notes.

“I will need to interview you in the near future,” Emily said, noticing Riley was watching her work.


“We didn’t do it the more formal way during the actual case, so I am missing some details of what you experienced and how. I will need to fill that in.”

“Okay,” Riley easily agreed.

“When a member of PIRI or someone that hires us has contact on a case, we try to follow a more guided set of questions to get information,” Ethan added.

“It doesn’t always work perfectly,” Emily said. “Emotions are running high, experiences vary, and so on. But we do try to ask certain questions for our records.”

“And all this information gathered goes into your research into the paranormal?” Riley asked.

“Yes,” Ethan answered. “I will allow you access to that research when we get to Washington, and you can see what I am hoping to uncover, and we can discuss further then.”

The two women got back to their work, and Ethan enjoyed the quiet only interrupted by the sounds from their computers. He also enjoyed having Riley so close, and when he could take the chance to glance over and see her serious and focused. At breakfast, she had been friendly, but now that she had a task, she was completely absorbed, something he understood. He liked these peeks into her personality, especially as Riley had practice in being guarded.

Ethan hoped it would pass and she could be comfortable with the team. Despite what she insisted, she was actually great with people when she was relaxed. It wasn’t that PIRI was not professional. Ethan had rules about behavior on cases, and his authority was final. But the very nature of their job made it different from others. They traveled the country, were each other’s constant companions on cases, dealt with a job that caused high emotions. A closeness naturally developed, and he hoped it would for Riley too and that the walls she depended on back home would no longer be necessary.

They would also need her trust to be able to help her if they were right about her abilities. He knew he was not the best at interpersonal relationships, but even he could not imagine living life as long as she had with such limited contact with others. What had started as a physical reaction to other people had clearly developed into an entire method for living her life. Beyond the fact that she needed trust with them for her potential powers, he also found himself personally wishing, needing, her to believe that getting close to them would be okay.

The group made good time and stopped at a place for lunch, allowing Riley and Emily to get a little research done. When they got back on the road, the women made use of the boosted wifi to keep at it.

“Oh no,” Riley said suddenly.

“What?” Ethan asked.

“Oh no,” Emily repeated when she found what Riley had.

“Emily,” Ethan demanded.

“The case has changed,” Emily said softly, scared.

“Two kids were just killed in the area the activity has occurred,” Riley added, her voice shaking.

“Damn it!” Ethan yelled, turning on his blinker to pull over. “Damn it! Damn it!”

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