Joanne waited until later in the evening to begin her search. Later in the evening meant less students, and less students meant easier access to university resources. At least she hoped that was the case. She assumed after seven PM most students would be getting trashed at a local bar somewhere. Joanne was never a student herself, but judging from her friend’s social media posts and various pop culture depictions this was the impression she got. As she walked into the main entrance she deduced that she was mostly correct. A few people were still around reading books, and staring blankly at laptops but the building was, for the most part, deserted. She had never been here before so she figured she should find one of those maps that public buildings place on the walls. Theoretically, maps are a great way to find things. Joanne didn’t think this would be a challenging theory to test. She was wrong. She was so very, very wrong.
Joanne screwed up her eyes staring at the obnoxious array of colours that made up the first map she could find. It was right near the entrance and only took her a few moments to find, but as far as she could tell it was completely useless. Every building was a different bright colour with a series of numbers around the edge that didn’t go in any discernible order. She hoped to find the nearest computer but all she seemed to be able to locate were washrooms. If she understood the legend correctly every floor had at least seven washrooms. She could only assume this meant she wasn’t understanding the legend correctly. Either that or university students peed more than anyone else in the world.
Joanne decided to give up on using these useless maps and take to her usual, much more effective plan. Wandering aimlessly until she found what she was looking for. She walked through the main foyer of the building and turned down the first hallway she could find. It didn’t take long to find a classroom with some computers at the back. She sat down at one and eagerly started typing. Typing was a bit of a struggle despite Joanne’s near mastery of acting natural when she touched things. It was easy to look down and think a bit too much about where her fingers were going. Despite a few obnoxious “fingers falling through the desk” moments she managed to conduct a few surprisingly productive searches on the university website.
Joanne had to admit this one was a bit broad. A lot of university professors write about dead people and all of the amazingly intelligent things they have said. Joanne never realized until this moment just how many dead people there were to write academic articles about. She opted to expand her search a bit.
DEAD PEOPLE AT THIS UNIVERSITY.
Surprisingly, this search didn’t find a god damned thing. This worried Joanne as she started to think that maybe no-one at this university had ever died. This couldn’t be true though. People die everywhere, don’t they? Yes. Of course they do. Joanne pressed on.
This was definitely the most fruitful of the three searches. There were a handful of articles on the university website about students who had passed away while enrolled in classes. It didn’t take long for her to find his article. A smile came across her face and her eyes grew wide.
“Terry Dodds,” She said to herself as she read the article. They used a very pleasant photo of him smiling and spending time with friends. He looked a bit awkward and his smile seems kind of nervous, but it was definitely him. She stood up and walked quickly to the nearest payphone and found a phonebook. She searched for the name Dodds. There was only one Dodds family listed. Joanne knew it must be them. His parents. Or maybe his grandparents. Whoever they were, she needed to find them. She memorized their address and set off. She was one step closer to finding some answers.