Todd sat with Linda in front of the monitors, watching Shana and Sam roam through the rooms, while Mike and David scrambled over each other to be the one closest to Carl. He was amazed at the sophistication of the computer system as it responded to the actions of the participants.
Once someone entered a room, a switch on the monitoring system clicked to close that door and conceal it into the wall. At the same time, a second door was revealed in the room. When the second door was opened, another switch was activated to make the first door resurface again. Once the second room was entered, a switch clicked to close and conceal that door while revealing a new door in that room. The doors opened and closed to indicate the path that they were supposed to have taken at the party: a path that would have led them in a perpetual circle through the same sequence of rooms.
They watched Sam and Shana—with Mike, David, and Carl following close behind—retrace their steps through the rooms. When they held both doors to a room open at the same time, the switches weren’t triggered. This enabled them to backtrack through the rooms—just as they had done last night: by doing it in reverse and bypassing the system.
Afterward, the group grudgingly left the house without uncovering any new evidence on the identity of the perpetrator of the elaborate scheme. However, Todd felt less crestfallen than the others. He was thrilled to have figured out how and where the rooms had been controlled. The rooms rotated in a circle around the trap door to the attic. Now he was able to formulate a few new ideas about who had been behind the fake party.
The group, which had followed Todd through his discoveries, climbed up behind him into the attic that spanned the entire width of the house. The long room was empty, except for an elaborate computer system with monitors set up along the back wall. Todd sat down in one of the two desk chairs and began to scroll through the rooms shown on the monitors. All the rooms appeared to be empty.
“Let’s test out this fancy equipment and see how the rooms are controlled from up here. From here, I can track what happens when someone follows the loop of rooms.” Todd was impatient to find some answers. Before he found these monitors, he’d concluded that a supernatural force had planned the party. But now he was open to a new possibility: a human could have devised and implemented
the complicated computer system. He didn’t know which was more dangerous, since he was aware that humans could be just as devious and evil as any demons.
“I’ll follow the rooms in a circle and then retrace them in the opposite direction.” Sam was pacing back and forth in the room—over and over again. “And I’ll bring Shana along with me.”
“Linda can remain with me…while Mike and David can follow along with Carl.” Todd said.
They all seemed eager to follow his orders, except for Mike, who shot an annoyed look over his shoulder before climbing back down the ladder. Todd turned his face away, refusing to acknowledge Mike’s silly show of stubbornness. First Carl made unexplained disappearances, and now Mike had issues with authority. All the dangerous missions that he’d led in the past didn’t have all the grumblings, complaints, and disregard for authority that this group exhibited. He knew that if they didn’t learn to work well together as one close-knit unit, then they weren’t going to be successful in defeating their enemy. He had a lot of work ahead of him before he could bring this ragtag group to some semblance of working order.