In painstakingly slow and deliberate speech, Dr. Tynesdale explained the symbols found on the victims prior to Seth.
“Now, here’s where we find something different,” the doctor said, pointing to an autopsy photo of Seth. “Up until your friend, the victims were all 'keys to the beyond.' This time, there is a key rune intertwined with this symbol here.” Dr. Tynesdale held up his tablet with a page from Seth’s Runeation. “However, it also resembles another symbol on page eighty-three so it could mean two very different things.”
Sensing his colleague was more accustomed to giving lectures than offering his professional opinion for a murder case; Bill discreetly glanced at the ladies to see how they were holding up. Kim’s jaw clenched, in an effort to keep from interrupting, while Angela chewed on her lower lip. Gillian’s eyes had a glazed, distant appearance. It wasn’t until he noticed her hands—balled into fists so tight that her knuckles had turned white and Bill feared her fingernails would dig into her palms and draw blood. It was time for him to intervene.
“Since time is of the essences here, Phillip, what can we do to aid in determining which symbols are correct?” Bill asked. “You know I’m willing to do anything I can to assist. I’m sure these lovely ladies would too.”
Angela and Gillian nodded in agreement. The ringing of Dr. Tynesdale’s phone cut off Kim’s verbal acknowledgement. From the doctor’s end, he uttered “ah, yes” and “I see” multiple times before the call ended. Again, the four friends waited for answers that seemed to never come.
“It seems we were wrong in assuming your friend Seth created these symbols. Apparently, they are part of the teachings for a group called Seekers of the Astral Beyond, also known as The Seekers. There is an acknowledgement to The Seekers on the last page of Runeation.” Dr. Tynesdale explained. “My assistant informed me that The Seekers have; what I believe they refer to as … an inner sanctum, on the other side of town.”
“I’ll go!” Gillian blurted out before the doctor could finish his sentence.
Worry creased Angela’s forehead and knitted her eyebrows together. Both Kim and Bill wore matching expressions.
“Now, dear,” Dr. Tynesdale answered. “Please don’t take offense but I think this might be a better job for our mutual friend, Bill. I might be old fashioned but sending a beautiful, young woman into a hive of fanatics just doesn’t sound chivalrous … or safe! They could snatch you up and we’d never see you again. Cults like The Seekers have a terrible reputation.”
“I can take care of myself,” Gillian objected. She hated being brushed aside simply for being a woman and her scowl showed it.
“Jilly, we know you can,” Kim said as she placed a comforting hand on Gillian’s arm. “But, we have no idea who these people are. For all we know, they might be responsible for Seth’s murder. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t bear losing another friend. Maybe it would be best if we found another way for you to help.”
“So, why is okay for Bill to go alone? If they killed Seth they can kill any of us,” argued Gillian.
“You’re right, no one should go alone,” said Angela. “That’s why I am going with Bill. If it wasn’t for that shadow spirit thing following you, I’d be behind you going, Jilly, but until we know who or what that thing is … I think you should lay low.”