Outside an old building, three children play. A girl with a parasol leads the other two inside, and music booms out of one room. The parasol girl tells them to continue, and they go into a darkroom and look through old photos of children. When the trio leave a few minutes later, there are four children from the photos with them... and the children are missing from the photos.
The children play together, and Sapphire steps out of the shadows and watches them. As she watches, the children go inside and Sapphire walks along the building and opens a side door. Steel is on the other side, and Sapphire explains about the children. Her partner says that no one came in through the side door, and asks if the children she saw were real. Sapphire says that they're something between images and real.
The agents go into a junk shop in the building and search the place. Sapphire confirms that there's nothing new there, and Steel says that the trigger could be any of the items. Steel figures that they should have been there before something broke through, and insists that there are more than enough of them to respond. Sapphire points out that no one of them would want to sit and wait, and Steel says that the room is loaded with active triggers. He holds up a sword and Sapphire spot-analyzes it, saying that no one ever died by its blade. Sapphire says that the trigger is in the building but not in the shop.
Sapphire figures that the time break is close by, and sees a child watching her through the shelves. She searches for the child and telepathically directs Steel to go to the door and spot the child. Once Steel blocks the door, Sapphire the boy singing a skipping song and other children giggling. The parasol girl emerges from the shadows and umbrellas move on their own, cutting off Sapphire and surrounding her. She calls to Steel, and the Girl watches.
The umbrellas disappear and Steel arrives, both of them having briefly been frozen in time. Sapphire says that the time break is there, and Steel explains that he could see Sapphire and it was like she was part of a photograph. Sapphire says that the girl looked like she was from a photo but three-dimensional, and Steel figures that for a few moments they weren't.
The Girl goes back to the other children, and she says that she just wanted to play and is sorry. She says that it should please come home.
The agents find the stairway and go up. The children are in the yard playing, and the agents go to the apartment upstairs. There are piles of letters on the desks, unopened, and no food. A book on photography is laying on the arm of a chair, and there are other books on the subject on the shelves.
When the partners find a door and go through, they discover the darkroom. The old photographs are there, along with new cameras. Steel points out that there are no new photographs, and Sapphire finds the photo with the missing children from 1884. She notices that it's unbalanced and spots the shadows of four children in the background. There's no signs of tampering, and Steel figures that the children were stolen from the photograph. Sapphire realizes that children are missing from other photos, including one that the parasol girl was apparently in. Steel finds a photo with children, and Sapphire suggests that they're waiting to be brought there.
The agents continue their search and hear music from an apartment. They go in and find a woman, Liz. She angrily orders them out and says that the landlord owns the whole building and she pays her rent. She complains that they barged in and demands to know who they are. Sapphire says that they're visitors and ask Liz if she lives alone. Steel telekinetically turns off the record player and Sapphire immobilizes Liz. Sapphire asks why there are two beds and sets of possessions, and Liz says that they belong to her friend. She hasn't been home for several months, and Liz hasn't heard from her since. Steel tells Sapphire to bring Liz with her, and Sapphire releases her from the telekinetic hold.
As they go downstairs, Liz says that the old landlord left. She hasn't seen since then, and says that the new landlord doesn't ask for the rent and she leaves it at the top of the stairs. The woman suggests that the landlord is waiting to do some work, and mentions the ghosts. Steel asks for more details, and Liz says that the ghosts are children and don't bother her, and the rent is cheap. The new landlord talks about his kids but Liz has never seen them. Steel asks for a description of the new landlord, and Liz can't remember his face.
The landlord arrives and the children tell him that a man and lady are there. The Girl wonders if they want to take her back, and the landlord says that he brought them there and no one will send them back.
Liz says that she talked to the landlord face-t-face but can't remember it.
The landlord tells "his" children to be still and steps into the shop. The light reveals that he has no face.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 12, 2019