10 December 2004
Rufus Matteson was a young man who, as it happens, had absolutely no connection to John Matteson. His ancestry was completely unrelated to John's, and was actually given their name on purpose. Really, the ways that completely disconnected bloodlines can end up with the same name can get fascinating if you're into that sort of thing; but let's assume for the moment you aren't. What matters here is that Rufus had very little in common with John. He was a fairly responsible young man, for one thing, and not given to ghost hunts or other trappings of the paranormal. He had married young to a woman named Elaine, picked up a stable job, and due to a medical condition they had no children but had discussed the possibility of adopting someday. The only reason that Rufus and Elaine intersect with our story at all, in fact, is that he happened to be named Matteson, in Chicago, when Alethea was seeking a new way to accomplish her goals and thought maybe the name was what mattered.
Rufus had noticed over the past few weeks that Elaine was acting odd. She was forgetful of things he knew she cared about, distracted, moody, and wasn't sleeping well. This was paired with a heightened libido, almost hypersexuality, which he didn't much mind but did note as unusual. He had attempted to ask about the whole package of changes, but she was resistant to acknowledge that anything was off and he wasn't sure how to help her see it without upsetting her.
He grew more worried when he found her crying. He tried to comfort her, but when she demanded to know why they weren't conceiving, he sat down and tried to remind her that they couldn't. This was the last straw, he knew it. If she couldn't remember even that, then something was deeply wrong. He reached for his phone and she screamed at him to stop. The noise had a tangible force behind it, and he fell to his side and hit the floor hard. When he turned back, she was floating, her eyes glowing and her hair gently waving away from her as though she was underwater. He crawled backward away from her as she began yelling, in two voices, about how he'd failed her, how all men knew how to do was fail her. He begged her to stop, to leave, to do anything other than this. She lunged at him.