of the same time

Richard first scouted around the Foothills Residence Hall, meeting with anyone who came streaming out the front door. He hung around the community building, an oddity with a gray suit and red tie in the midst of clean blue jeans, college sweatshirts, khaki bookbags.

He borrowed a stapler gun at the Foothills front desk to plaster posters on every kiosk--wondering how long his pale white sheets would hang on the inches-thick notes about everything from cheap sand beads to water moccasin concerts

Sergeant Wilson met with him for lunch. Asked him to trace phone bills, credit cards, contact friends from high school. Anything to track where she might have gone. Richard called Amy to do the legwork at home. Sophie set up a 24 hour hotline and lined up volunteers from her garden club and the local senior citizen's center to man the phones at all hours.

They went up to Anna's room together to see if Richard could find anything missing, look for any possible clues. It was an inside room without windows, lit only by the soft gray flicker of Anna's powerbook Mac. Richard flipped the switch and looked around the white cream adobe walls and yellow tile cement floors.

There were no posters, no prints of any kind. It looked like a hotel room rather than a dorm--Anna's bed was neatly made, with the Maiden's Puzzle quilt Sophie had worked for her spread out smooth. Her clothes were neatly hung in the closet, shoes lined up below. Books stacked along one side of the desk, with file folders of homework labelled and precise in the metal file cabinet.  

The shared bathroom was a jekyll and hyde affair, with Anna's side completely clean and neat: Colgate toothbrush, makeup, hair spray, soap lined up in a neat row across the back of the white linoleum counter. A closed compact of Lancome foundation, was lined up and neatly squared, its gold trim just touching the gold cap of her eyeliner. Prisms from a crystal cut glass of Possession perfume presided over the trim line.

The other side was a jumble of everything. At the edge of the counter, tubes of Covergirl mascara collided with compacts of Maybelline blush and used q-tips. A palette of 26 different shades of eye shadow hung over the counter, sprinkling greens, blues, and purples on the floor. Further back, a soaking paperback Plato's Symposium, leaking antibacterial soap, nail clippers and other assorted junk were tossed about. Cut outs of Monets and Renoirs were scotchtaped all over the bathroom wall--just up to the demarcation line.

Richard looked around carefully for an hour but could find no traces of his daughter. He looked at Anna's mac. The powerbook was still on the bare formica desk, all of the wires hanging in straight rows over the side. There was a neat stack of floppy disks on one side, a connecting jazz drive and disks on the other. The direct internet connection was still there, on the last page Anna had been to:

404 Not Found

The requested URL was not found on this server

rivers / merge into / distant nothings / so many instances / of the same time / leave undefined / origins and / destinations

the word is / the sound / of water / dripping from/ ancient symbols / tiny particles / of merging / realities

Follow us all: Amy/Anna, Sophie/Yuki, Kit/Richard, minor characters or sift through water leavings and river journeys.