I Didn't Forget Pt 4: Guiding Star Baptist Church
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Present Day

I think about confronting the woman who appears to be following me, but that’d be stupid. The best-case scenario for me is that she doesn’t realize I’m onto her. She saw me look at her, but if I don’t do anything else suspicious, maybe she won’t read anything into that, or at least won’t be sure that I figured her out.

I look back at the computer, working to absorb myself as much as possible into my research. I spend more than two hours searching the internet, writing down the names of people I find wearing green stones. I’m still compiling that list when Theo calls me. I answer. “What’s up?” I whisper.

“Hey, I just wanted to tell you that we found the book,” Theo says.

“Shh!” I snap at him. “Not on the phone.” I glance to see if the woman noticed my reaction, but she’s no longer where she was sitting before.

“I know, I know,” Theo says. “I just thought you’d want to know; I was right about where it was. We’ve found it, and we’re dealing with it.”

“Does Daisy know?”

“She will soon. I think everything is going to turn out alright.”

I sigh. “Okay. Good to hear, I guess.”

We say goodbye, and he hangs up.

I look down at my list of names. What was this strange cult they were a part of, and what happened in 2005 to make them stop wearing those stones? That’s over a decade before the Galaxy Plaza disaster. Callum would’ve been a toddler. Did the organization disband, or did they have some other reason to stop wearing them? Why did Callum introduce this otherwise-defunct tradition into his Spirituality Club?

Given that the Guiding Star Baptist Church was still up and running after 2005, I’m going to assume that this organization still existed after 2005. Maybe it still exists today. Maybe I need to keep my guard up, in case people I interact with are members of it. Given that they don’t wear those stones any longer, anyone I meet could be one of them, just like anyone could be one of them.

A terrible thought intrudes into my head.

No. I’m not going to entertain it. Yes, Theo goes to a strange, secretive church in the same town where Guiding Star used to be, but that’s a coincidence. He isn’t one of them. I’ve known him for years, and I’ve never seen him display mind-controlling powers.

I look up Theo’s Church. I know its name. It’s the Church of the Blessed Sacrifice. A quick glance at some records shows me it was founded about a year after Guiding Star closed, which is exactly what you’d expect if it were some kind of successor. Still, that’s not true. It can’t be. Theo is a good person. He wouldn’t be part of a group like this.

Would he?

Seven Years Ago

I crept downstairs after a late-night trip to the bathroom to get myself a glass of water. While I was down there, I heard something in the backyard. Was someone out there? I crept up to a window and peeked outside. Evan was standing in front of our fire pit. The fire’s light made him cast an eerie shadow. There was a pile of objects next to him. He grabbed a book from it and threw it into the fire.

I went outside. He heard the door open and looked over his shoulder. “What are you doing up?” he asked.

“I was getting some water. What are you doing up? It’s like two in the morning.”

As I approached, I got a clearer look at what he was burning. It was stuff to do with Spirituality Club. Notebooks covered in blue and silver stars. Some of his magic books. Strange, abstract paintings, including one painting of a strange star with needle-thin points surrounding a central eye. Something about that eye’s slit pupil made its gaze seem suspicious, disapproving. Evan grabbed the picture and cast it into the flames. “Go back to bed,” he said.

“Listen, bro, I get that you’re mad at Callum, but I don’t think mom and dad would want you doing this. Fire’s dangerous.”

“Fire isn’t the only thing that’s dangerous.” Evan grabbed a notebook off the pile and started flipping through it.

“Are you sure? Maybe you’ll miss this stuff someday.”

“I won’t.” Several pages into the notebook, he stopped, ripped a page out, wadded it up, and threw it in. “You don’t understand the things Callum did. You’re too young. Callum is a monster. He’s hurt a lot of people. I’m ashamed I was ever his friend.” Evan ripped out another page and threw it in.

“Okay, fine, but why do you need to burn things? Did Callum cast a spell on them or something?”

“Some things are dangerous to look at. To read. To hear. If I don’t destroy this stuff, it might hurt somebody.”

“Seriously? That weird pointy star picture has been in your room for months. Everyone here has seen it. It didn’t do anything.”

Evan sighed. “Look, there’s a lot I can’t explain to you. Just, be careful around anything written by Callum, or anything I wrote while I was friends with him. Try not to let him talk to you, and if he does, come to me about it as soon as you can.”


“I’m serious. Never let him communicate with you in any way.”

“I said okay.” Now, he was finally starting to scare me.


“Yes. I promise.”

“Okay. Good.” Evan grabbed another item, a whole book, off his pile, and tossed it into the fire.

Present Day

As I leave the library, I glance around, looking for my stalker. I don’t see her. Maybe she’s gone, or maybe she’s hiding. It’s a long drive home from the library. I take several detours, trying to get onto a nice, lonely stretch of road where it would be easy to see if someone was following me. No one seems to be. Maybe I’m in the clear. Or, maybe, she’s with them, has followed me home without me noticing, so that now they know where I live.

Theo is lying on the couch, tapping on his phone, when I get back from the library. He smiles. “Hey,” he says.

“Hey.” Theo sits up to make room for me on the couch. I take a seat next to him. “From the fact that you’re here, I take it you resolved things with Daisy?”

“Yep.” Theo wraps his arm around my shoulder. “Things turned out alright. We returned the book.”

“How did it end up at your church?”

“It wasn’t at my church. One of the other members had taken it home.”


Theo thinks for a moment. “Honestly, I forgot to ask Marcy why she stole it.”

“You forgot? How the hell would you forget that?”

“I know. I know. I guess I was too mad at her to think of it. Still, after I told her she’d gotten me in trouble, she confessed everything and promised to make things right. Daisy was really gracious. She took the book back and said that was the end of it.”

I breathe a deep sigh of relief. “Thank God.”


“By the way, did you get a good look at the book?”

“I guess. I didn’t really examine it much. It was in some ancient language I didn’t know. I don’t think Marcy or Daisy could read it either. Maybe no one can. It’s just an interesting antique.”

“There was a star on the cover, though?”

“Yep. A big old star. No idea what it means. Honestly, I don’t think the book had much to do with anything. It just happened to cause us some problems.”

“I guess. Still, I wish I could see it for myself to know for sure.”

“I wouldn’t ask Daisy to look at it. I don’t think either of us should be seen around Runes & Relics for the foreseeable future.”

“Yeah. You’re probably right.”

Theo scoots a bit closer to me, pulling me in with the arm he’s wrapped around me.

“Actually,” I say, shrinking away, “let me use the bathroom first.”

“Oh. Okay.”

I go to the bathroom. I lock the door, and call Daisy on my phone.

Daisy is a kind and gracious person. There’s no reason she wouldn’t have accepted the book back with an apology, just like Theo said.

But I can’t get over that star on the cover.

Daisy answers the phone. “Hello, Runes & Relics. Manager speaking.”

“Hey,” I whisper. “I heard things worked out with the book?”

“Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Sorry for threatening to call the police on you.”

“It’s alright. It was understandable. You’d been stolen from. I’m just glad it all worked out.”

“Yeah,” Daisy says. “I can’t say I like what happened, but in the end, I was going to sell the book anyway, so it’s no skin off my nose if it’s to Theo’s church.”

My eyes go wide. “Oh? You wound up selling it to Theo’s church?” Just like Allen sold a book to Callum. Callum, whose cult is obsessed with stars.

“Yeah. Did Theo not tell you?”

“I just got home. I haven’t talked to him yet.”

“Oh. Well, yeah. After they explained everything, I went ahead and accepted the sale. The price they gave me was pretty fair.”

“I see. It’s really gracious of you to accept that, after how things started.” Why the hell would Theo lie to me about this? What the fuck is going on?

“I do like to consider myself gracious.”

“Yeah,” I chuckle. “Did they say what they wanted the book for, by the way?”

There’s a brief pause. “I didn’t ask,” she says.

“You just let them buy it after they stole it from you?”

“Like I said, gracious.”

“I see.” I’ve never seen Theo wear a green stone, or any other jewelry for that matter. Then again, I met him well after 2005, so why would he have?

What the hell am I thinking? Theo isn’t a mind controlling wizard. He has never forced me to do anything.

But then, he couldn’t, could he? Evan was immune to Callum’s powers. If I’m like Evan and Theo is like Callum, I’d be immune to his too.

“You still there?” Daisy asks.

“Yeah, sorry. I guess that’s all. I hope I see you soon.” If Theo’s church really did use some kind of mental control on her, I should be able to undo it.

“Sure thing,” Daisy says.

I grunt in acknowledgement. Once the call is over, I leave the bathroom.

Theo’s still on the couch, playing with his phone.

He believed me. With no hesitation, he believed me about what I saw the night they took Evan. That was the sweetest, kindest thing anyone has ever done for me, but it didn’t make sense. That’s exactly why it was impressive. My story was so outrageous that no one would believe it.

Unless they already knew about the paranormal world. Unless they were already a part of it, and already knew there was an organization that covers up paranormal activity and kidnaps people with supernatural powers.

Callum’s organization was obsessed with stars. Guiding Star. Aster Sterling. The space fantasy books he wrote. The stars that adorned Evan’s room when he was a member. Of course they would be interested in an ancient book with a giant star on the cover. Why wouldn’t they try to get it? Why wouldn’t they use the same method Callum used seven years earlier?

I walk up to Theo and sit next to him. He wraps his arm back around me. I don’t object. I can’t let him know I suspect anything. If I’m right, he could be more dangerous than anyone else I’ve dealt with. He could be as dangerous as Callum, part of the same group that Evan was fighting.

The same one that caused the Galaxy Plaza disaster.

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