“I got you something.”
“I got you something,” I said a bit louder.
“Yeah, I heard that, what is it?” he growled impatiently. He's always so patient and polite in the morning, after all. We were standing at the counter, where I was stirring my tea.
I took the little necklace out of my pocket. It was on a cord rather than a chain.
“There's a little place on the Boardwalk where you can carve your own jewelry using these templates,” I said, feeling suddenly like I needed to explain myself. “Nothing big, just amber or topaz or something like that, and they have these special weird tools for it.”
I placed the necklace on the counter. The little cross, short and squared and thick, clicked quietly on the granite.
For a moment, he looked at it, sipping his coffee; I could practically see his groggy morning gears at work as he tried to decipher what to make of it.
“I'm not religious,” he said.
“I know that,” I said. “But I figured you could use it like a Constant, like me and Vi.”
“Like your rosary?”
My fingertips played absently at the wooden beads around my neck. “I guess so, yeah.”
“Hm.” He sipped his coffee again. “Why a cross?”
“It was the easiest template,” I lied. The well-shaped cross seemed to attest to the fact; the sides were all even, all meticulously cut. “It was this or a bunny rabbit, Strahm.”
“Had enough rabbits for one lifetime, thanks,” he said.
Why had I really done a cross? I've given it some thought. Maybe I wanted him to believe in something, anything. Maybe I just wanted him to think of me from time to time.
“Just put some faith in it. It's worked for me and Vi,” I said. “He's stayed away from us, for the most part.”
He lowered his voice so that Violet and Riley, seated out on the balcony, wouldn't hear him. “You don't know that. He's stayed away from you, but we can see that there are...other...factors with that. Violet won't say whether he's stayed away from her or not. She won't say anything about the two months of dead communication between you two.”
I blinked. “She'll tell us in good time.”
“I certainly hope so.”
I fidgeted with the rim of my tea mug. “Just...try it.”
“No guarantees I'll wear it.”
He picked it up off of the counter and put it in his pocket, heading down the hall to his room. Stung, I rolled my eyes and went to the couch – which, with my laptop and various random nonsense on the coffee table around it, has become something like my office since I've started writing for this local magazine. Fortunately for me, I seem to have gotten the rather awesome job of writing about tourist destinations, researching their specifics and interviewing their proprietors, who are, naturally, eager to get on the good side of press.
Honestly, I'd already begun putting mental significance into the cross even as I'd made it, using those stupid-friendly tools in the hot stuffy shop on the Boardwalk. I tried to make each step have more faith and protection than the last, like when saints made their relics. I don't know if it'll make any difference, nor do I even know if Zeke has bothered with it at all; I haven't seen him wear it, and that happened three weeks ago.
Luckily for us, that's about the most exciting thing that's happened in the last month.
The reason I haven't updated between when the Delmonts left and now is that, quite frankly, I haven't had any reason to do so. As it turns out, it wasn't just my phone's camera that was borked; it was the whole stupid phone, and I've been trying to make do with it until such a time as I can get a new one. This means no pictures of Aunt Michelle's diary yet; but, I think there may be a way for me to take a video of looking through it and post it to something like YouTube.
I'm trying to keep myself from getting too caught up and looking through the entire thing in one go, but it's hard. It's like how I felt with Rose's notebook, but the opposite; I'm drawn to Aunt Michelle's journal, in a way that's almost mesmerizing.
I could summarize the first few pages, but I feel like it wouldn't do them justice, so I'm going to wait until I can do a video or get some photos up.
I may also start using my Twitter account again. It's a good way to give short updates in the time between posts, although all I'm really doing at the moment is writing for the magazine and packing up to go to college.
It's terribly odd – despite things being more peaceful than ever, there's some kind of unrest growing. It's not anything noticeable, but I can feel it deep down; something in me is on the alert. I think it may actually be because things have been so quiet. The first week was a welcome reprieve; the second, a sign for better things; the third, a mysterious lull.
Now we're in the fourth, and it's gone beyond quiet. It's the proverbial too quiet. No news from Wren, no blips on our radar. FBI haven't come round. I pack for Miskatonic, and then I step out and stare at the beach, searching for threats only to find none to be seen.
But there's that unrest. Something is biding its time. I can feel my guard slipping down even as I try to stay alert. Maybe I'm falling into a trap. Or maybe I'm okay, and just paranoid.
I can hardly know.