quiet request under the guise of my research job. If there had been an investigation around Edie’s death, as Sarah had mentioned, then there must be a case file. I filled out an online form and got a pop-up indicating the requested files would be sent to me in one to five business days—a bullshit timeframe when the retrieval was almost certainly happening on a scale of nanoseconds, if-then algorithms instantaneously humming in a digital brain. Near the end of the day, I checked my work email, and midway through responding to an editor, something clicked: I had to get into my old email. I’d blathered tons of juicy stuff in messages to and from Edie back in the day; we’d written constantly about weekend plans, her relationship dramas, the previous night’s party recaps. Maybe inspecting them now, with my fact-checker’s eye, would reveal something I’d missed, a cry for help or a pall of depression I’d been too young to grasp. Or perhaps I’d written something about the concert that night—maybe there was proof, documentation of my whereabouts. I’d abandoned the account years ago, and the service no longer existed, so there was no simple reset password button. But there must be some way to crack it back open, wriggle inside. And I knew who could help. I texted my friend Tessa late in the afternoon; she was always surprising me with the digital lockpicking skills she’d picked up in her library sciences program. She invited me over later that week—Damien, too, if he was free. I couldn’t resist checking Facebook one last time before shutting down my computer. I scrolled a bit further and my heart jumped: Deep in one of Sarah’s photo albums was a little thumbnail that looked familiar. Full-size, it was four men scuzzing around onstage, keyboards and guitars and synth. They all had black and red stripes painted across their faces. It was a perfect match with the concert I’d been picturing for August 21—a wild show that rattled a random Calhoun apartment. I looked at the date and my stomach sank. This night, the one pictured at least, had been a full month before Edie died.
– The Lost Night: A Novel by Andrea Bartz –
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