At the end of this, Bethany said a few more words, before revealing that the other moderators had special plans for the players tonight and that they should prepare themselves for the introduction of several new storylines, and then stepping down from the podium. As the room filled with a buzz of conversation, Bethany came over to those of us who had just been promoted, walking with her characteristic limp.
“Like, congratulations you guys! Tonight’s your first night as Rippers. I hope you are, like, so excited! There will be a special event at my house tonight at midnight and you seriously, like, look at me, seriously, cannot miss it!” she said exuberantly before handing each of us cards with what was apparently her address on it.
The thought of this special event filled me with dread, but I knew that I had to go, if nothing else just to see what the Red Rippers were really all about. Bethany began to go around the room, speaking with moderators and players and generally socializing while the Rippers who had been sitting before the podium came up to those of us who had only just been given the robe and introduced themselves.
After several faces I didn’t recognize had gone by, I realized that the Ripper now standing in front of me was Sarah. She looked more vibrant than I’d seen her look since her sister’s tragic death, and she smiled and greeted me warmly.
“Sarah,” I started, keeping hold of her hand so she wouldn’t move on to the next person, “Where is Adelaide, have you seen her?”
“Oh, you’ll see her later,” she said, and then she was gone, lost in the sea of players.
The big event wrapped up around 10:45, and given how far Bethany’s house was from the hotel, I was left with scant little time to do anything before heading there if I wanted to meet the midnight deadline. In addition to the pressure of the time weighing down on me, my phone had died during the event and there was no way I could charge it. A terrible feeling was gnawing at my stomach, but I truly felt as though I must go to Bethany’s and face whatever it was I would find there. I had to see Adelaide if nothing else, and confirm that she was okay.
I did, however, manage to make one quick stop on my way at a big box store on the road leading towards one of the nicer suburbs where Bethany lived. Feeling guided by some force of intuition I quickly grabbed a handful of items that I thought I might need: a disposable camera, a lighter, a bottle of spring water, and a small, swiss army style pocket knife. All of these items I was able to stash in the robe’s internal pockets when I got back in the car, something which I found myself very grateful for.