“They aren’t a cult.”

Quinn sounded so matter-of-fact about it. She always did these days; I seemed to be the crazy one, the unreasonable one, always losing my shit. Screaming, sobbing, accusing her new “friends” of changing her, somehow, brainwashing her, for some inscrutable purpose.

It sounded crazy. I sounded crazy, but anyone who knew Quinn as well as I did would agree: she was different. And it had started the night she came home with the necklace.

“They’re totally awesome, hun! You should come to the next meet-up, it’s great! I’m so happy I found this group.”

“That’s great, baby,” I said, tracing the cord of the weird necklace up and down, up her creamy skin, down between her soft breasts. I wasn’t really paying attention. Was, as usual, only thinking about getting Quinn’s clothes off. She could keep wearing the necklace, if she wanted. 

Thinking back, even then she was different. Just a little. Just a slightly faraway look in her eyes. But I wasn’t looking at her eyes. Pretty soon I was kissing up and down the cord, and faraway or not her eyes were closed and she was moaning that sound I loved to hear, lived for.

Even when she lets me kiss her, now, her eyes don’t close. She doesn’t make a sound, she just sits there, like I’m not even in the room, with that look on her face. Peaceful. Meditative. Relentless. And when I protest, she just says, “They’re not a cult.”

And, “You should come to the next meeting.”

Maybe next time I will. Without Quinn, what have I got to lose? They can put a weird necklace around my throat, and we’ll chant and stare into candles or whatever they did to empty Quinn’s mind, to fill it up with them so there was no room anymore for me.

It might be worth it, as long as I can stare into Quinn’s eyes. They can use her to mindfuck me, I can imagine them doing it that way. It makes sense; what else could I let myself be lost in? Just her eyes, those wide quicksilver pools. I would dive in, if Quinn held my hand. Invited me into her eyes, cool and tranquil. Deep. I can drown myself in them, if I have to. Peaceful. It’s my only hope.