Remember that Camper I met some time ago?
He showed up in my room last night.
I just turned around, and there he was. Same pale face. Same blank expression. Same damp black hair. Same fake smile.
"Hello, Joseph Steward," he said. "It has been a while."
"It has. Mind telling me what the fuck you're doing in my room?"
"You are indebted to us. We are simply interested in your continued health."
I nodded. I'd forgotten that part.
"How goes your search? Have you learned your foe's identity?"
"Not exactly, but I have my suspicions."
I hesitated a moment. "The Wooden Girl."
That fake smile got bigger, though his eyes remained the same. "What are your reasons for suspecting her?"
"Her betrayal," I said. "She used the death of her Dolls as an excuse to betray Master. It's flimsy. And I know that she's never cared for those in her service."
"You have concluded that she purposely murdered her Dolls as part of some grand plan?"
The Camper was silent for a moment, and then spoke again. "Wolves."
"It has been said that if you see a lone wolf in front of you, the rest of the pack is behind you. They are animals. Similar to dogs. But they are cunning. They hunt with finesse. They hunt intelligently. Do you know what apes, rats, and certain birds have in common?"
"Correct. But there is also evidence of the capability of metacognition. Thought about thought. Self-awareness. They are more intelligent than one would assume. Just like wolves."
This was getting annoying. "Is there a point to all this?"
A real smile this time. "There is." And then he was simply... gone. Back to wherever the Ichor needed him.