The thing was, apart from the ridiculous idea another would be there anyway, finding her, or him, as the case may be, was going to be tricky. I saw Natalie for two reasons. First, she was pretty. For someone who could disappear on film with all the skill of a stage magician, she was, on physical grounds alone, a head turner. Ironic really.
Second, I’d probably not even have seen that had she not been so ‘visible’ in her occupation. There were only three behind the bar at most times, a focal point by virtue of occupation rather than anything else. If another ‘ghost’ danced on the floor or did drugs in the toilets, would I even notice them among the throng?
Where would a ‘ghost’ most likely abide in a dance-club? On the dance-floor primarily, to be seen by others to the greatest degree possible, or in the shadows? I was thinking the shadows. I’m not sure why. Call it instinct. Maybe I actually had the scent of it now, this species. Natalie said she avoided crowds (which unfortunately might mean any others wouldn’t come to the club unless they had to for work, but we work with what we’ve got…). She said she felt uninteresting and unimportant in the groups. If she had chosen to be in the club, and wasn’t working, she’d be in the shadows. It was the best place to start, at least in the absence of any other workable theory.
So I changed all the cameras to get the maximum number of angles of the entry and exit areas from the shadows. Anyone lurking there and emerging to go to the bar, or the dance-floor, or the toilets, would be recorded. It would take a bit of discipline to take notes of each and where they went, a lot of time also, and a sense of mathematical intensity that didn’t sit well with my artistic pretensions. But, needs must as the devil drives, as they say in the classics. I had no other choice.
Natalie would ring me every couple of days, just to ask how it was going. She was trying not to seem pushy or demanding, but I could tell she was desperate. Hell, I would be too, if someone was holding out a hand to me while I felt I was drowning. I wanted results, as desperately as her, and I wanted them fast.
Mostly the task was boring. I found in myself I had the capacity for altruism, to put aside my own interests, motivations and obsessions, for another. I surprised myself. It felt good, I must say, it actually felt good to be a bit selfless. Perhaps all those born again Christian types who used to harass us at school had a point after all. Remarkable.
Anyway, that sustained me, that warm inner glow or whatever it was. Plus I had an instinct for the hunt as I was also discovering in myself. And for hours nothing resulted. I felt like a fisherman in a difficult stream or river, waiting, patient, hopeful and hopeless by turns, so still, so silent, so respectful of the passage of time. And like that fisherman, eventually, it seemed I’d reeled something in.
And it was the big one.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved