Author : Sam Clough, Staff Writer

Kate was lucky. Or so she kept telling herself.

Out of the whole world, she was the only one who had both the right kind of sight and the right kind of mind. It was a self-made mantra, one that rolled across her thoughts, looped back on itself and changed, mutated and grew with each iteration. The words spilled out of her, and made themselves real.

Right sight. Right mind. Luck. Lucky. Chance alignment. Good fortune. Fate. Destiny. Consistently high random numbers. Roll of a die. Roll of eighty dice. Kate be nimble, Kate be quick. Kate got to save the world. They can’t see them so you have to save them from themselves. The knife works. Save them. Kate be nimble, Kate’s got luck.

She was walking fast down a commercial street, trying not to attract too much attention to herself. There was an infestation nearby. The knowledge of it compressed her thoughts like a cast-iron circlet. It was impossible to ignore, an itch that desperately needed scratching.

A restaurant had spilled out onto the street: people sat at small tables, drinking coffee. She stopped by the establishment’s window, and saw her quarry.

The window made a satisfying crash when she threw the table through it. She jumped through the gap, and quickly scanned the room. Diners at tables. Twenty-two horrors and twice as many of the doglike terrors stared at her from all around the room. They growled, sensing the danger that she represented.

She launched herself out into the room, dodging between the evenly-spaced tables, and around the serving staff. She drew the long knife that had been hidden under her jacket. It was a rudimentary weapon at best, but special. She’d spent two long weeks working on it, changing the knife on a fundamental level so that it would damage the beasts.

She pinwheeled, the knives catching and breaking the terrors as they flung themselves at her. The diners stared at her with wide eyes, forks halfway to their mouths. Horrors roared their hate and menace, gnashing their too-many-teeth. Kate fought with reckless abandon, trusting the mantra, her luck.

Her circuit of the room finished by the door to the kitchen. All around, the broken bodies of the horrors lay on the carpet, slowly beginning to disintegrate. The evidence would be gone in a couple of minutes.

Andrew straightened his tie, and minutely adjusted the tiny enamel badge on his lapel. He stepped through the wreckage of the window, saw the shocked diners, and the damage.

“Did a woman come through here? She would have been acting quite oddly.”

A waiter close to him nodded dumbly.

“Thankyou.” Andrew stepped further into the restaurant, the broken glass crunching under his immaculate shoes.

“In case you’re interested,” Andrew spoke slowly, looking around the room at the silent diners, “her name is Kate. And none of this is her fault. There was an accident, a long time ago. An experiment went badly wrong, and her conscious mind began to drift out of control. Her mind extrapolates up from tiny clues in the way people speak and act: she sees terrible things, embodied as monsters.”

A murmur circulated around the room as people began to unfreeze. A few returned to their meals. There was a sudden crash from the kitchen: it sounded like a meat freezer exploding.

“If you’ll excuse me,” Andrew smiled at the stunned faces, “duty calls.”

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