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?"
"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.