There are two big developments since last week - or rather, one development, and a complete lack of progress on something important. Let's start with the nothing, first (if that makes any sense).
I went back to Claire’s church again last Sunday. It was Independence Day, so I expected a certain amount of patriotism; but it was a Catholic church, so what I heard was a comparison of those who had given their lives to found our country, and those who had given their lives for their faith. I’m sure it was meant to be inspiring, but in either case it seemed like a waste. Why risk yourself for something so temporal and ephemeral?
And yet, people do. Even when it means going up against us.
Which brings me back to Claire. I still don’t know if she’s a spy. If she’s suspicious of me, or interested in anything beyond the usual romantic connection, I can’t see it. And maybe she does just know Peter socially, and everything is exactly what it seems to be. Or maybe she's conspiring with the old priest, and I'm in real trouble. I don't know, and I don't know how much longer I can stand not knowing.
So that's the important lack of progress. The other development is even stranger:
This morning, when we were in the bathroom, I noticed a mark on Claire's hand. It looked like... well, it looked like someone had spilled India Ink down her arm. She was startled when she noticed it; but she stopped, and closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. “Maybe I spilled something on myself at work,” she said.
I said, "Any idea what?"
She said, “No. But it does kind of explain a nightmare I was having, where this smoky thing was grabbing at my arm.”
Ordinarily, I'd have been concerned. I'd redouble my research; I didn't find anything the first time, but there are some... alternate... avenues of inquiry that I haven't tried yet. They're dangerous, and they require special preparations, but I know how to use them.
To be fair, I was concerned - I still am. And I have gone back to my research, though some of the, er, stranger inquiries are going to take time. But my first reaction was a wave of relief, because now I had a chance to find out how much she knew. If she goes to the Church about this, the Watchers will find out. And if she doesn't, then either she has no idea what she might be dealing with, or else she trusts me a whole lot more than she should.
I probably shouldn't admit this, even here in relative anonymity, but there are days when I hate worshiping the Elders.
There are days when I hate myself.
Vital Disclaimer So The Whisperers Don't Eat Me: Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. The collected entries can be found here.