HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 98

“Sure, let’s talk,” Frederica said, and opened one last record. “Let’s talk about Virginia Keating of 129 Pryde Avenue, who studied journalism at VCU a dozen years ago and flunked out with some frankly embarrassing grades. And quite a few reprimands, too. Cheating, invasion of privacy, theft. Sounds familiar.”

Silence on the line for a full minute. Then two.

“You’re good at this,” Virginia said, then paused again. “Very well, if you want a war, let’s have a war. I just sent a text to campus security reporting an intruder in the records room. You probably don’t want to be there when they show up.”

The line went dead. Frederica heard footsteps coming up the hall. She quickly plugged a flash drive into the computer and copied Virginia’s files over before shutting the system down. She turned invisible just as the door opened and two uniformed guards rushed in.

She slipped out behind them.


Pryde Avenue looked like any other neighborhood from above. Not quite suburb but not quite inner city, either. Frederica floated over the street for several minutes, keeping an eye out for Virginia’s motorcycle. Finally, she descended to the sidewalk in front of a small brick bungalow.

A sign on the front porch read “Dickinson”. New occupants? It had been twelve years, after all. Frederica stepped onto the porch and rang the bell. A middle-aged man with olive skin and receding hairline appeared in the doorway.

“Hi,” Frederica said. “I’m looking for Virginia Keating. Does she live here?”


“Oh… okay,” Frederica said. “Do you know how I can—”

“I don’t know anything,” he said. “My wife and I bought this house ten years ago in an estate sale when the original owners died. We haven’t had anything to do with them or their family since.”

“But they did have family?”

He shrugged and said, “I can’t help you.”