Sunday, November 11, 2012


The following can probably be best summed up by a question I found myself asking: "How did you get my phone number?"

Maybe I should back up a bit.

I was at base, discussing our next course of action with Stone. She wasn't pleased. Apparently, the guys up top sent out an order not to approach our young shadowy killer directly, but to monitor her whereabouts from a safe distance.

Well, actually, there's another order. Don't intervene in any of her activities, unless it looks like she's about to do something very public, which could blow the lid off this whole "Fear" thing and cause mass panics. But aside from that, observation only. Even if she starts killing people again.

Yeah. I'm not too happy either.

Anyway, Stone thinks we should follow the orders. Of course she does. It's her job. Me? Well, I guess technically it's mine too, but they didn't exactly put me through training. I think I'm more of a very closely guarded consultant than anything else. I think we should contain the girl. Judging by her actions, she seemed just as freaked as we were. She's a danger to herself and others, and we need to find some way to keep her from hurting anyone.

Anyway, it was in the middle of this argument that my phone rang, thus giving me an excellent excuse to walk away.


The voice on the other end sounded British. Don't ask me the exact place. I live in Tennessee, remember? "Is this Matthias Stanford?"

"Yeah. And you are...?"

"I am called Ghost. I've had other names, but they are part of my past now."

I paused. "O....K...?"

"I have information regarding that girl. Her name is Neomaria. I have been searching for her for some time."

"How did you get this number?"


"With what?"

"Ever heard of the Archive?"

Well. That made me freeze. The Archive. A collection of borderline Blind Man cultists dedicated to gathering information. One of them, calling herself Scribe Sigma, runs a blog here.

Everything suddenly made sense. Neomaria. She was the result of an experiment they ran. She was supposed to birth a new Fear. Instead, she ended up with a bunch of Nightlanders all over her. And if what I saw in that cave was any indication, they seem rather protective of her.

"Alright, Ghost," I said. "What do you want?"

"I'd like to meet you; face to face; so we can discuss Neomaria."

And then he gave me a time and place for a meeting. For obvious reasons, I'm not about to write it here.

"How will I recognize you?" I asked.

"Should be easy. Look for the dashingly handsome black man in a khaki suit and trilby." And then he hung up.

Afterward, we tried to figure out where he'd called from. No luck.

Looks like I've got a meeting tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Killer


That could have gone better.

Agent Stone got a message from Agent Lebowski earlier today-- he'd found the killer, and was following her at a distance.

So, we went. Stone drove. I sat in the middle row of seats, alone, with two armed agents sitting in the back. I'm quickly getting used to this whole "armed escort" thing.

We ended up just outside of town, in the mountains. Lebowski was waiting for us in front of  cave in the rocks.

"This is it," he called out. "She went in here. Hasn't come out yet."

Stone nodded. "Let's move," she said.

The cave was, all things considered, large compared to some of the other ones I've seen. Two people could walk side by side through it, if they didn't mind being squished together, so it was easy to walk through one at a time. Didn't even have to crouch.

The deeper we went, our flashlights illuminating the rocks around us, the smoother the walls became. It was like the cavern was making a gradual transition from naturally formed to carved.

And then, suddenly, we found ourselves standing in a tall, wide chamber, made from stone that, there was no question, had indeed been artificially shaped like this.

And our flashlights found a young woman. If I had to guess, I'd say twenty years old at the very most. Dark blonde hair hanging in clumps, clothes old and dirty and ragged. Skinny. Almost looked malnourished. And a look of terror in her eyes.

I admit, not really what I was expecting our killer to look like.

"What are you doing here?" she shrieked. "Get back! You're going to die! Get away!" The echoes of the chamber made her voice drown out pretty much everything, and with each word, her voice rose in panic.

By now we'd all had guns trained on her. Lebowski began to step forward. "Calm down, miss," he said. "We don't want to hurt you. Just tell us what--"

Fucking shadows leaped out of the ground and wrapped themselves around him. He couldn't even scream-- though the girl did enough of that for him. I saw shadowed hands tightening their grips on his limbs, on his neck, and then....


Lebowski crumpled as the shadows retreated, his body unnaturally twisted. The girl kept screaming.

"What the fuck!?" Stone shouted. She opened fire. I had to cover my ears. Damn, that hurt.

The shadows, and I swear this happened, then broke through the wall. In seconds, they built a tunnel out of that chamber. The bullets Stone fired stopped abruptly on the girl's skin, and I saw more shadowed hands on  her, with their palms outstretched.

Jesus, the fucking the shadows were catching the bullets.

The girl ran through the tunnel. Stone moved to pursue, but I grabbed her collar and pulled her back.

"Let me go!"

"Look on the ground!" I shouted back.

She did, training her flashlight on the floor, where images of men seemed to lay. The shadows almost seemed to be watching us, making sure we didn't follow.

I let go of Stone. We stood in the chamber for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, the shadows retreated.

Together, the four of us dragged Lebowski's body out of the cave and returned to town. And all the while, I heard laughter in the back of my mind.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mother's Maid

I've decided that I need to stop going to coffee shops. I keep meeting people who already know me there. First was Lebowski, come to let me know that the government was watching me and may want to recruit me, and now this.

Though watching the guards try to maintain the balance between being inconspicuous and being ready for action in a second's notice is rather amusing. I will admit that. Also I'm pretty sure there's a sniper following me around, ready to strike if Judas goes crazy. I've seen a dude with a gun running around nearby rooftops. I won't say the SMSC doesn't take the threat of Judas seriously.

Anyway, I was sitting at a coffee shop when some girl, looked to be college age, so a few years younger than me, sat down opposite myself.

"Matthias Stanford?" she asked.

I was very quiet, not knowing where this was going, and I just nodded.

"Mother sent me to check up on you. You can call me Jorma."

I frowned. And then... well, she blinked. Twice. And between blinks, her eyes were golden and her pupils were slits. "Oh," I said. "You're a... a whatchamacallit."

"'Lilim' is the term I believe you're looking for." Jorma leaned back in her chair. "I'm here to keep an eye on you. Make sure nothing happens to you."

"You mean nothing happens to me before the Mother of Snakes is ready to use me?"

She shrugged. "They all want to use you. And trust me when I say that Mother is the nicest."

I snorted.

"The Intrusion is out for your blood. Did you know that. Mother has found common ground with the Archangel in keeping the Intrusion from eating you inside out."

That gave me pause. "The Archangel? Really?"

"Yep. Who knows what that one's thinking. But don't worry about that now. I'm also here to protect you from the Eye. It doesn't have a grand plan. It just sees another victim when it looks at you."

I glanced down at the table, where an eyeball happened to be staring back at me. "And what about the Newborn?"


"The Newborn. I don't know how or why I ended up in its realm before, and neither does Judas." That part was really what worried me the most. Either Judas was keeping information from me or, worse, he genuinely didn't know why I ended up taking a trip to the Towering Realm.

"That I don't know." Jorma smiled. "You think Mother tells me everything?" She laughed. "I'll be in touch, and don't you fret-- I won't be far. Rest assured: Mother wants me to keep an eye on you, and I never disappoint her."

And then she stood up, and walked out of the shop.

I really need to stop drinking coffee in public.