Other than saying hi to my old friend’s family, which felt refreshing after so long, there wasn’t much else to distract me from my main task.
After a little over twenty minutes, I had finished examining every single place where objects had gone missing. My objective being to go back home as soon as possible, I didn’t wait around to tell Claudia that I was finished; rather, I was almost running when I went looking for her.
“My investigation has concluded. I’ve looked everywhere I needed to, and seen everything I had to.”
I told her, to which she reacted with a surprised expression, probably shocked that it had taken so little time. It was true that my usual investigations tended to took longer.
“So? Did you reach a conclusion? What is happening to us?”
She seemed too overexcited for her own good, though I don’t blame her. I actually found it a relief. So I didn’t beat around the bush.
“I have got my conclusion, and I will tell you right now.”
Her eyes glowed in expectation.
“Every object you’ve lost… is exactly where they were before. They haven’t moved an inch.”
And just as quickly, her face turned into one of sheer disbelief. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat sad for her, although I tried to hide it.
She, and all her family, had been victims of their priceless possessions disappearing before their eyes, while in actuality they were just there, as always. Can’t imagine that being any reason for happiness.
“But… that can’t be… How? Why are we not noticing? There has to be a reason, right?”
“Yes, there is. Undoubtedly. And it is bit by bit the action of one of those so-called ‘paranormal entities’ you know are false. But as is tradition and because I consider it a nice pastime, I came up with a name for the ‘entity’ that possesses you all.”
“… Do say it.”
“The Blind Butterfly.”
“Huh? Why a butterfly of all things?”
“The butterfly is often associated with the mind, the psych and, above all, change. The blind part is pretty self-explanatory. And since the issue is related with your ‘minds’ and ‘change’, I considered it most appropriate.”
“…? I don’t understand. How is this issue related to change?”
“You’ll see soon enough. Please have a bit more patience.”
“Thank you so much for your help. You don’t know how much this means to us.”
“If you keep talking like that, I’ll get the wrong idea.”
“…? What are you talking about now?”
“It’s nothing. Don’t mind it.”
It would have been pretty anticlimactic if she had noticed what I meant, so I decided not to press the issue any further. If I did, all the foreshadowing may be for naught.
“What I do want you to do for me”, I followed up, “is gathering everyone in your grandmother’s room. I’ll explain everything there, but I’d prefer it if I only had to say it once. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes, of course. Although… is it impossible to it in any other place? I really don’t want to bother grandma… She’s very sick, and I absolutely do not want to bother her…”
“It’s a must. I’m really sorry, but I need her to see it too. The truth behind this affliction that pains your family.”
She didn’t want to agree, I really knew she didn’t want. But I was not going to give up on that one. After all, this was my ‘job’, and if I had to do it even when hating it, I’d do it right. No concessions allowed.
After staring at her in silence for a few awkward, very awkward seconds, she agreed to do as I said. ‘You’re the expert, after all’, she said.