This one called himself Albert. He'd cornered Alan in the alley behind Shoney's.

But he'd also cornered himself.

Nica thought it was the lead pipe in the Conservatory. Kemp bet on the glass bottle in the alley.

Nica saw the relief in Alan's face when he caught sight of her and Kemp silently marching in, putting the Timer between Alan and themselves.


The Timer turned, black eyes flashing.

"Nica. You have to let me do my job"

She swung the pipe into his temple.

She heard a cracking noise. But first, during the slow-motion sling, even as the splashing connection traveled through her arm, she heard a melodic sound. Like a windchime as it danced with the air.

Thick black blood leaked into his eye.

"Last warning, daughter-"

But Alan's foot in his neck knocked the words loose.

Kemp took out the eyes with broken glass.

There is no feeling, no thought, no relief in this silent moment.

"Are you okay, Alan?" asked Nica.


"Savor it," gurgled the shrinking Timer. "You know I'll have to come after you now, love?"

"I know." Nica can look him in the eyes. Or in what was once the eyes.

The regret in his face slackened. She saw the tattoo on the Timer's hand, then the entire hand, begin to fade.

And watched the hourglass take shape on her own hand, between her thumb and index finger.

I know.

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