It had been a little over three months since I had found out that the Society was trying to murder me.
They had been very careful going about this but while I may not be the brightest bulb in the box, I do notice things. Things that others would casually ignore.
It started small. A chance conversation had brought up the subject of one of the society members wife. I knew that he had a girlfriend that he had recently met and had, to my knowledge, never been married before. Being the sort of chap who played with a straight edge, I knew that he would not have had a woman on the side. He was lying. I dismissed it as bravado in front of fellow members and gave it no further thought.
A few days later, I noticed that my usual chair had been moved to the other side of the room. Bloody cleaners, I muttered as I started to shift it back. One of the staff immediately asked what I was doing. I am a polite man and was very pleased with myself that I did not raise my voice when explaining the situation. He shook his head and said that my chair had always been there and that the fixed fireplace proved that it could never have been in the other corner of the room. Looking over at the grand structure, I nodded and bluffed it away by saying that I had not woken up fully yet. Sitting down I was handed my newspaper by him (the wrong one but discretion prevented me from pointing this out) and my drink order was taken. At least they had got that right.
Over the coming weeks, this sort of thing kept happening. On one memorable occasion, my chair was back in its original place and the fireplace was no more. When I did speak up about these changes, I was told that I was forgetting things again.
That was when it all fell into place. I had thought I was perhaps losing my mind but it was much more subtle than that. They wanted me to think that. Old Carruthers had taken his own life the other week for that exact reason. He could not face life not knowing what was real or not. I asked after him shortly after his death only to be told by a steward that there had never been a Carruthers in the society.
Unlike the poor chap, I am made of sterner stuff. I had been to the funeral. They could not drive me into the grave so easily. I began to document every change, no matter how minor it was. Notebooks filled rapidly and it became harder to secrete them around my lodgings in the society building. So I began to write them in code. A shorthand that only I would be able to decipher. That way if they were inevitably found, they would be dismissed as gibberish.
I dared not share my findings with anyone. No matter who approached me with similar tales, I could not trust anyone anymore. This was my burden and I could not take being distracted by anyone.
When my wallet went missing and was found in the fridge, I played the sad old man card to perfection. Oh how forgetful of me, I half sobbed. The stewards assured me that it was nothing and to not worry about it. Little did they know. I had seen one of them lift it from my smoking jacket not ten minutes earlier. I knew what their game was. Back in the safety of my room, I checked its contents. Everything was in its place but I ripped the material apart anyway, looking for the hidden tracker or bug that must have been placed.
I found nothing.
They had gotten incredibly inventive, I had to give them credit for that. To be on the safe side, I threw the destroyed wallet out of my window. To no-ones surprise, it ended up back in my inside pocket the following day. Repaired as if it was new. But it wasn’t. I would recognise my old wallet anywhere.
So as they grew more desperate to finish me off, I responded with my own cunning. my notebooks had now taken over the entire floor of my room. I had stopped hiding them in a fit of bravado a few nights back and by the time that had passed, it was too late to care anymore.
Carruthers whispered to me one day at dinner, that I was not seeming myself. I ignored the dead man and continued eating. They could not fool me.
They would not fool me.
Any day now, I would expose them for what they are.