That wasn’t the startling thing.

At a point halfway inside the barn, there ceased to be any barn at all.  White tiled floor and white-painted walls stretched a distance behind the woman, and the ceiling was all glass, hiding a smooth distribution of flourescent lights that made it all glow evenly.

Ooh, neat. A kind of portally power, perhaps? Or maybe the barn is a secret entrance.

It also reminds me a bit of Labyrinth’s power, though I doubt that came from Cauldron. Unless the asylum was also under their control?

“Who are you?”

“Some call me Mother, but that is meant to be tongue-in-cheek.  Those with a more professional attitude know me as Doctor.”

Doctor who?

“I’m-”

“No names.  We’ve already investigated you, we know much of what we need to know, but I think there is a great deal of symbolic value in having you maintain some anonymity.  Pick a name, and I will use it for the duration of this meeting.

Fair enough.

Something tells me we’re not going to be learning the POV character’s civilian name in this chapter, or at least not before we approach the end.

It doesn’t need to be permanent or long-term.”

“Okay.  Is it supposed to be a fake regular name or a codename or…?”

“Anything.”

“Well, if you’re the Doctor, you can call me the Master.”

Random 4 AM prediction: At some point there will be a character (if there isn’t one already) whose civilian name is Rose. It seems like most works I’m actively in the fandom of has one at this point.

Night staggered from the blow, and I drove my shoulder into her.  It wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped, but I did get her far enough away from the canister that I could duck down and scoop it up in one hand.

Nice work! Now what? Are you gonna throw it out of the battlefield or something?

I dashed away, past her, and she struck me from behind.  I knew from the magnitude of the impact that she wasn’t in her human shape as she hit me, and for one paralyzing moment, I suspected I’d made a terminal error.

Ah, shit. No one was looking, huh?

The blow was enough to knock me to the ground and make me roll a half-dozen times before I could stop myself.  I cast a glance over my shoulder as I stopped.  Night was there, and the residual smoke from the canister that surrounded her had apparently been sufficient to block my teammates’ view.  

Damn.

Stupid of me to turn my back.  I was lucky that she hadn’t had more than a second or two in her transformed state to act.

The Doctor warned you against turning your back on her, Taylor.

Don’t blink. Don’t even. Blind and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t. blink. Good luck.”

A dozen gouges criss-crossed his side, each wider than my handspan.  One of the gouges had even shattered some of the protective bone plating.  Brutus exhaled slowly, shuddering.

Ouch 😦

She’d done that?

I sent my bugs at the woman,

A justified reaction. But yeah, so much for retreat.

but the delay Night had created had bought time for Fog to get close.  His mist blocked the path to Night, reduced the woman to a faint silhouette, and where the cloud passed, my bugs were crushed alive in midair.

Damn. It seems he can really fine-tune the movements of individual molecules in the gas.

The mist swelled forward, and we backed up as best as we were able.

I checked our escape route.  It was blocked by none other than Night herself.  Had she teleported?  Cloned herself?  No, it wasn’t cloning.  I couldn’t see her silhouette anymore.

Hm. Shadow-walking, as in shadow-to-shadow teleportation? Would make sense for that to be an ability of someone called Night.

“What the fuck is this woman?” I asked, “Tattletale?”

“You know how the Manton effect could maybe be a psychological block that comes parceled with our powers?”

Oh no. Are you saying she’s one of the people who got around the effect?

I nodded, once.

“Okay, well, imagine that this woman got powers that let her turn into something so wrong that she’s got some sort of mental block that keeps her from transforming if anyone can see.

Interesting. So kind of like the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who but with transformation instead of movement… I suppose that’s why she has Fog cover up the view when they’re doing things like murdering that cameraman a few chapters ago.

Maybe because she’s so ashamed of being seen like that.  When nobody’s looking, though, she’s a monster.  Lightning fast and all sharp.”