Unplugging his thumb drive,Giles quickly dressed, grabbed a bagel from the breadbox on his way out the door, and hoofed it over to the studio. Maybe the engineers were already aware of the problem, and he just hadn’t known about it. But if they’re not aware of the problem, I have evidence right here to prove it. He patted his pants pocket, just to reassure himself he had the flash drive with him.
Heather looked up when he arrived and smiled. “Oh, good! I was just about to message you again, to find out if you knew about your nine a.m.”
“Yeah, I got it late last night. Sorry I didn’t respond.” He gave her a rueful grin. “I’m not used to getting notifications. It’s something I’ll have to adjust to. Say, are any of the engineers here yet?”
She checked the clock-in tablet. “I thought I saw…yes. Lou’s back there. I think he has an eight o’clock job. When you go through the door, look in the window. If he has his headphones on, don’t bother him. And be watchful of the ON AIR sign above the booth.”
He thanked her, entered his code on the tablet, and let himself into the inner area. He found a man sitting at the computer console in Booth Three. The ON AIR sign wasn’t on, and neither was the guy wearing headphones, although they were draped around his neck. Knocking on the window, Giles signaled to the man when he glanced up. Can I come in?
The man waved for him to enter, and Giles opened the door. “Hey, hi. I’m Giles Noft. You’re Lou, one of the engineers?” He extended his hand, and the older man shook it.
“Lou Parmenter. You must be new. I think I got a nine o’clock with you today.”
“Yeah. That’s right. Listen, I have a quick question. Have you had any problems with bleed-over, or unusual voices being recorded along with the narrator?”
Parmenter narrowed his eyes. “What kind of voices? You mean reverb?”
“No. I mean like a ghost voice.”
The man went from being curious to openly perplexed. Before he could ask anything further, Giles pulled the thumb drive from his pocket and handed it over. “I came in last night and did some personal recording. When I got home and was listening to it, I heard a strange voice that shouldn’t be on the file.”
Lou took the thumb drive and plugged it into the computer. Slipping on his headphones, he played the recording. A look of surprise crossed his face and he gave Giles the side eye. Pausing the playback, he removed the headphones. “There’s a woman’s voice on there, all right. Clear as day. And you swear she wasn’t in the booth with you when you recorded this?”
“I swear.” On a hunch, Giles glanced up at the ceiling. “Are there video cameras in this place? If there are, you’re welcome to check out the tapes. I swear I was totally alone the entire time I was recording.”
Lou scrunched up his face. “Does the voice sound familiar to you? Could it be someone you know? Someone who might be playing a trick on you?”
“A trick on me how? It’s not the voice so much that puzzles me. It’s the fact that whoever she is, she’s reading my script! It’s like she has a copy of it, and she’s following all my cues! And, no, I’ve never heard her before in my life. Not that I can recall, anyway.”
“And you say you did all the recording here last night?”
“Yeah. In Two. I spoke to Valling yesterday morning, and he gave me the dos and don’ts on what was expected beforehand.”
The man leaned an elbow on the console. “If you don’t mind me asking, why are you using our equipment? Why not make your own soundproof booth at home, get a decent mic, and record it there? You could do it for a whole lot less than the amount of money you’d spend here renting out space.”
“I’ve done that,” Giles admitted. “But I live off of one of the main thoroughfares in the city. A lot of the noise from the sirens and all filter into my recordings, no matter what steps I take to avoid it.”
“I know what you mean. I got the same problem at my place, only it’s the El going by the next block over.” Lou scratched his goatee. “In Two, you said?”
“Okay. When I’m done here, I’ll go check it out. In the meantime, have you done any more recording other than what’s on this drive?”
“In the past, when you’ve done some work at your place, did this woman’s voice ever pop up?”
“Here’s a suggestion. Try recording some of your stuff at your place and see if she shows up. Then come back here and use a different booth. It could be happening just in Two. If that’s the case, I’ll talk to Monaghan. He’s our all-around engineer and fix-it guy.”
“And what if it happens again, no matter where I record?” Giles questioned.
Lou snorted. “Then you might be haunted,” the man replied.
And he was dead serious.