Smile


[Make sure you read Finding Father before you read this.]


Before that day, I had never met a Seeker face to face. We've always been a suspicious society. We are hunted even more than the Holders. None of us ever meets in person. Most talk takes place in the corners of the Internet. No names would ever be mentioned. Just They, Him, I etc. No dates, no locations, nothing. Although this made it hard to find information, word would still get around. Certain Objects would always come up like the syringe, as people claiming they found it, or know who owns it. Particularly the more elusive Objects got the most attention. Someone once asked about the Holder of the End, but no one claimed to know anything. Seems like he's still safe for now.

I had begun looking for something, not a Holder, but a Seeker. I didn't think he was special, but he seemed to be the easiest to find, and to be honest, something just told me that I should find him. I'm quite surprised no one had been looking for him in the first place. I was also sure that They hadn't gotten to him. As far as I could find out, he didn't have an Object. Some sources claimed that he once had several, but no one was sure about it. His name was Clarence Betham. He was a botanist in his late fifties, last seen several years ago. What I dug up indicated that he was imprisoned for murder and then got the death penalty. However, a man named Roger Betham was institutionalized the same year, though the hospital staff repeatedly denied claims of his connection to Clarence. I then found out that Roger was moved every year, so he would not “grow tired of the scenery” The staff assumed he was very wealthy to afford all the changes. However the more he moved the worse shape he got into. The doctors saw that it was the moves that was doing this to him, but he still continued to make them, refusing to stay in any place more than a few months. When I found out that a very ill man was being moved into a small hospital in the next town over, for only a month, I found him.

I walked into the hospital with the hammer in hand, just in case I needed some proof, I asked to see Mr. Betham. His room was akin to the padded rooms you see on TV however, there were no pads, no windows either. Just concrete lit by a dim hanging bulb. He was laying in bed when I walked in alone, the staff didn't seem to be worried about either of our safety, too bad they were wrong. He didn't sit up when I walked in, or seem shocked when I said I had been looking for him. I pulled out the hammer to show him but he simply said it would not be needed. He explained he already knew I was a Seeker. I asked him how, he smiled and said that he “could just tell.” I told him I needed information, he replied that I didn't need it yet, I simply wanted it, but that he might not have what I wanted. I told him I wasn't looking for anything in particular so anything would do. He told me that he had been hiding for five years, and no end in sight. I ask if he was hiding from Them. He told me that if he was, They would have found him, just like I did. He told me that They were only human. He smiled and told me that he wasn't hiding from humans. I asked if he meant “Him”. He laughed. “Him, They, Them. I don't know why we call them those things, all of them have names, even though we won't say them.” He then explained that what was looking for him, had no name. I asked him what that was. He told me that “There are worse things than Holders in this world.” But he wouldn't elaborate. I asked him if he ever had any Objects and with a big smile, he told me he might have had, but didn't remember anymore. I stood up at that point, knowing I wasn't getting any more information from him. I went to leave, but he got up before I could get to the door. He told me he had known my father.

I turned back, he was smiling. He told me that they had talked a few times before, before everything fell apart. I asked him to explain himself. He laughed, and told me that my father wasn't the average Seeker. He was not trying to “bring them together” or exploit their powers. In fact he had only ever found four objects, and that he even gave away two of them. He shook his head, “No, he saw what everyone else was missing. It's not about the Holders, or the Objects, it's about the truth.” Suddenly I felt as if I couldn't move, none of my muscles would respond. “ He saw the threat. But they saw him too and for a second, I think they saw you as well.” The room had begun to change, the ceiling stretched out into the darkness. He looked up “They hunted him like they are hunting me.” Dark oily liquid ran down the walls as the single light in the room began to flicker. “You see it's just like I said,” he came closer, less than a meter from my face, his edged teeth in that broken smile. “ There are worse things than Holders.” I could move again the second before he lunged for my throat. Before that day, I had never killed a man.

-S.

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