To say that the office of Dr. Michael Ketch was cluttered is to say that a hydrogen bomb's explosion would inconvenience the people caught in the blast radius. A seemingly infinite ocean of papers and documents lay sprawled across his desk, his bookshelves, and even his lap. Should one ask about the mess, as his department heads often did, they would be met with a thousand assurances that he knew exactly where every single piece of paper was; and why it was there. The humorous thing was, he always did. Other than the clutter, and there was a mountain of it, his office was as humble as he was, bearing simple wooden furniture, two bookshelves along the right wall, and a desk with a chair on either side. Somewhere in all the mess he kept a Franz Boaz Award for his ground breaking work on early human cultural origins in what is now Egypt, but he had lost track of that thing some time ago. Photographs of his wife, his grandchildren, and brothers hung on the walls, serving as reminders of the full life he had lived and all the love he had enjoyed from them. Surely he was an old man now, only a few months from retirement, but his beard and slight limp betrayed little of his age that his sharp mind could not cover. He had just finished his final work, an in depth study of religion and the occult. It took years to complete, but he was confident that he had adequately documented and summarized every major belief system and prominent cult that had any historian had ever dug up. Countless interviews and no small amount of globetrotting had given rise to the three-hundred-page encyclopedia that lay open on the desk behind him. He was proud of the work, but was glad to have it finished, published, and out of the way.

He now sat, as he often did, looking out his office window to the Harvard campus beyond. He marveled at the students that passed, seeing in them the combined culture of thousands of years of human development. So often he would scratch his rough, grey beard and ponder the complexity of each individual that made up the crowd. What did they believe, what did they dream, where did they come from, and what brought them here? Sometimes he would recognize a face from one of his many lectures and try his best to remember the name that matched it. What a sondering thing it was, to look out and see the passing by of dozens of students who were every bit as complex as he was. He was getting on in years, he knew, and those fresh young minds would carry on his craft after he was gone. After all the wonders he had discovered, all the questions answered, he knew that there would be even more for all of them.

His trance like state was broken by a knock at the door and the whimsical, charming voice of his secretary.

"Dr. Ketch, you have a visitor," her slender form disappeared from the cracked door as fast as it appeared.

"Thank you, Elaine, send them in." Elaine was one of his favorite students, and now worked with him part time as a secretary. In return for additional training in Anthropology, she helped him keep care of his ridiculous office.

The man that appeared in her place was one of most curious disposition. He was exceptionally tall and lanky. His arms seemed to extend forever, and though they were crossed in front of him, they looked as though they would hang almost to his knees if he let them.

"Wonderful to finally meet you, Dr. Ketch. I'm a big fan of your work." His voice was cool, calculated. Every word bore the articulation and enunciation of careful thought.

"Why, thank you Mr.… What is your name, sir?"

"My name is Henry Maxwell, and I'm quite pleased to make your acquaintance." His eyes were a sharp, gleaming blue that was one solid step past attractive and into the realm of piercing. His features were pale, elongated, and gaunt, though not unnaturally so. Perhaps he was a runner, or simply adhered to a strict diet of mostly just air.

"Thank you, sir. Please, sit down." Dr. Ketch motioned to the chair that sat opposite the one behind his desk, and then returned to his own seat, putting the field journal he was flipping through closed onto the desk. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of having such a complimentative guest?" He asked, folding his fingers neatly in his lap.

Henry took his offer of a chair, having to brush some papers out of the way before he sat down.

"I came to speak with you about your most recent publication, the one on world religions."

"Ah, yes. That behemoth." Dr. Ketch paused as an awkward silence filled the room. Henry seemed to be thinking of exactly how he wanted to structure his next sentences.

"Well, I have been pouring over it for the last several weeks, and I've taken a real interest in how you described the details of religious practices of early man, particularly that of occultism. Tell me, how were you able to capture, in such detail, practices that are so old?"

"It's quite easy, really. You would be simply amazed at how many of these cults survive into the modern age. Most of the time, membership is hyper exclusive, and the people involved rear their children to follow after them. That cycle keeps going for generations, until long after the cult has faded from any kind of popular scene or place of influence. Some of them have even managed to still maintain a sizeable following into today."

Another pause, more calculations running through Henry Maxwell's mind.

"So, simply an interview or two, and you have all of your questions answered? Is that it? No, that must be too easy."

"If only I dared to dream that would be it. Most of my leads from interviews matched no data I had recovered from archeological finds, manuscripts, or other studies on the topic. As it turns out, most of the people today who are involved in these modern cults are actually involved with groups that may have traced their origins to an ancient, secret society, but mostly they are just adaptations. Said simply, there are a lot of fakes claiming to be the real thing. However, they did often get close enough to something truthful that I would get a lead." Dr. Ketch leaned back, observed Henry Maxwell, and waited through the man's consistent pause before speaking.

"Interesting. So, tell me, the Egyptian section. The one dealing with that particular group focused on the worship of stars. How did you come to learn about them? Surely, it must have been impossible to dig up information on a secret society so old and well hidden. Was it interviews that led you to them as well? Something close enough to a lead, at least?"

"Actually, that one was almost entirely solved by interview- well, the first bit of the leg work, at least." Dr. Ketch leaned back in his armchair, recalling memories of his time working on that particular section of the massive document. "A fellow who wished to remain anonymous reached out to me by mail, replying to an advertisement I had out in the papers of several cities around the country. He told me he had invaluable information in regards to that case and insisted on flying me out to New York to meet him. He began rambling about star charts and monuments and what he spoke of sounded like lunacy at first, but it leads me along a path to some of the most interesting information I have ever seen. One Carl Munck has recorded a beautiful number set detailing a lot of the same things that this cult in ancient Egypt had tried to detail, at least, as it seems they did from the little records of their existence that still remain.

However, that was years ago now. The last I heard of the poor fellow, he had fallen ill of some kind of mania and had been checked into an asylum by his wife."

Maxwell paused, his mind a ticking clockwork of cogs and gears, some efficient machine processing the volume of information that the rambling professor gave to him.

"A tragedy, surely." Another long pause of assessment. "Would you say that any of his words could be held as truthful, seeing that mania was so quick to befall him? Perhaps he had given over to it before you had spoken to him. Such seems logical, what with his ramblings on the occult."

"No, no sir. He seemed in right enough mind at the time." It was Dr. Ketch's turn to pause and assess. "Mr. Maxwell, you certainly seem to have a curiosity about that old religion. Is there something particular you are looking for? Perhaps I can be of help."

Henry Maxwell stiffened, more rigid now that he was before, were something of that sort even possible. His eyes sharpened, then suddenly, abruptly, he rose to his feet and took long strides to reach the door.

"No sir." He turned sharply, locking eyes with the old professor. "I would say that our conversation was quite profitable." He grasped his lanky fingers around the knob, and just before opening the door, turned again; more slowly this time. "One more thing, Dr. Ketch."

"Yes?" Dr. Ketch was visibly bewildered by the suddenness of Henry's rising.

"It is in your best interest to avoid these topics in the future. Perhaps some things, once dead, should be left to lie."

"Whatever could you possibly me-" Dr. Ketch was cut short by the opening and shutting of the door. He rose, and followed after Mr. Maxwell as fast as his tired legs could take him, foregoing his cane that still rested against his deck, but when he opened the door there was no one; save for his secretary.

"Elaine?" He asked, shock and confusion written like a novel on his face.

"Yes?" She looked up from her desk at the end of the hall, sitting plainly in a small waiting area.

"Did Mr. Maxwell, my guest, happen to leave quickly though here?" His eyes flinched at the question, at how absurd it was. Of course he would have come through here, there is no other exit from the Anthropology offices.

"N-No?" She mirrored his bewilderment. "Was he not still with you?"

"So, I door did not just open and Mr. Maxwell leave?" He chastised himself for the lunacy of the question.

"No, sir, he didn't leave. Is he not still in your office?"

"N-… Never mind, I appear to have lost track of myself. Ah, the joys of old age." He phrased it more like a question than a matter-of-fact statement, and the returned to his cluttered office, equal parts confused and utterly terrified.