Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reflections on Unintended Consequences

I don't know how long the Elders have employed the Whisperers to keep our secrets. Centuries at least; maybe longer. I don't know what they are, or where they come from, or how they came into our service.

So take it with a grain of salt when I say that I don't think anything like this has ever happened before. See, usually, when the Whisperers get involved, whoever revealed the secret winds up dead, and so does whomever they revealed it to. Occasionally - rarely - the people involved survive long enough to swear the proper oaths, at which point the Whisperers back off. But I don't think anyone has ever managed to elude them for as long as we did.

I say this because of the e-mail that told us it was safe to come back. Billy sent it at the request of the Elders. It was a simple message: Both of you can come home now. By way of explanation, he'd included a collection of news stories. Some were links, some were copied and pasted into the e-mail. They were... well, let me give you some examples.

In Christchurch, two weeks ago, a nice little bed and breakfast burned to the ground. Apparently the owner poured a great deal of gasoline and kerosene around the basement, then stood in the center and lit a match. Most of the guests died in their beds; nobody made it out.

Two days later in San Francisco, a maid slit her own wrists in a hotel room. The next four people who entered the room - including three hotel guests and the woman's supervisor, all of whom appear to have stumbled on the body independently - all entered the room and committed suicide alongside her.

A week later, in Richmond, Virginia, the guests at a small motel all turned on each other, apparently at once. Knives, chairs, bare hands, teeth... the last one committed suicide with a gun from someone else's luggage. No explanation could be found for their behavior. Forty-seven people died, including twenty-two women and children.

Usually, the Whisperers stop when they're satisfied that our secrets are safe. This time, the Elders called them off. Like I said, I don't think that's ever happened before.

I know that other groups use other methods to keep their secrets safe. I wonder if their methods are just as ugly, or if there's a better way to do this. I mean, it's not really my decision - of necessity, choices like that fall to the Elders - but I wonder.

Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual crimes or other shocking events, reported or unreported, is purely coincidental.

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