It seems like we're being left alone. I mean, as crazy as that sounds, it seems like we're not being chased anymore. We've been here longer than we've been able to stay anywhere else. We're getting to know the locals, we're growing comfortable in the landscape.
If it really is safe here, I can sincerely see us living here. Certainly, we've started making friends locally. Natalie's tried hard to integrate the three of us young 'uns with some of the local popular clique - she's pretty, and confident, and she blends in just fine. By comparison, she's had a hard time getting Peter to do anything social. He's awkward, aloof, and apparently uninterested in meeting new people, generally clinging to Natalie. She actually called him out on this at one point, and he backed off, but then as soon as her new friends were gone she started freaking out that he was blanking her. I guess he's not great with social nuance.
Separately to that, I've made a friend of my own, Fiona. She works at the diner we've been going to quite a bit - trashy food, but tasty - and we've been hanging out on our own. She's very sweet, and she makes me laugh. She's gotten herself a part in the parade on the Winter Solstice event; even though she considers it to be incredibly tasteless, it's paying very well. She's even making one of those meditation hoods, which she's been instructed to wear throughout the festivities. Made from a pillowcase, and deliberately mediocre, it reminded me of something that I couldn't shake the entire time. Sensory deprivation has always weirded me out, but more than that. The rough hole for her mouth seemed incredibly menacing, the lack of eye holes was alienating. And more, it made the rest of her seem oddly surreal, this gaping, predatory mask -
Okay, I don't know why I'm saying this. It was just a pastel blue pillowcase sown to fit her head. But I can't get rid of this feeling that it was incredibly threatening.
It wasn't like the assailant at all, but it felt similar.
I guess that masks are going to have that effect from now on. We've all been through a lot.
With this in mind, I told her about a story I read once, about a faceless killer and the masked people who served him, a story I heard long before finding out about the Faceless Angels. She was very quiet when I stopped talking.