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Lachlan could just make out the dark shape against the building wall. After a few moments, another shape joined it.

“Pardon me for speaking up,” he said, “but our shadowy friend appears to have company.”

“I’m more than capable of looking for myself, thank you,” said Mrs. Sharma.

“Well, excuse me for graciously trying to give you a little heads up,” said Lachlan. “Next time I’ll just let you get torn to shreds by the monsters.”

Mrs. Sharma ignored him, turning to face the two dark shapes that approached them from the shadows. They were roughly human-shaped, but it was hard to make out the details.

“Everyone stay behind the Stanley fabrications,” said Mrs. Sharma. “I’ll handle this.”

The two shapes moved closer, and Lachlan froze as he saw their faces.

The sisters.

“Not again,” muttered Sam.

The sisters focused on Mrs. Sharma, stalking toward her. Mrs. Sharma stiffened, shedding her air of confidence.

“Aw, look who it is,” said the taller sister. “Our old friend.”

“It’s been a while, Mrs. Sharma,” said the other, putting a mocking emphasis on Mrs. Sharma’s name.

“Leave me alone,” said Mrs. Sharma.

“But we haven’t seen you in so long,” said one of the sisters. “Don’t you want to catch up?”

Both sisters took a step closer.

“Don’t play games with me,” said Mrs. Sharma.

“But you make it so much fun, doesn’t she, sister?”

So much fun.”

The sisters took another step, their eyes falling in unison on the knife in Mrs. Sharma’s hand.

“How cute,” said one of the sisters. “She’s too afraid to use that knife, even with a dozen Stanleys backing her up.”

“She’s definitely not afraid to use the knife,” said Jen. “I saw her take down this big giant monster, and it was so cool–“

“I don’t need your backup, Jen. And I am not afraid,” said Mrs. Sharma. “I’d just prefer not to harm you if I can help it. Don’t force my hand.”

“Aw, poor thing,” said the taller sister. “It looks like she’s still sentimental about us. Even after we tried to poison her.”

“It would almost be sweet if it wasn’t so pathetic,” said the shorter sister.

“Why are you bothering me?” said Mrs. Sharma.

She sounded as though she was trying to adopt her usual stern tone, but she couldn’t stop an edge of fear from creeping into her voice.

“We were just curious, really,” said one of the sisters. “We’ve never seen you with so many friends before.”

“I wonder what she’s up to. What do you think, sister?”

“I bet she’s still trying to find her little girlfriend.”

“Girlfriend?” said Mahender. “Wait, what?”

“She’s not my girlfriend, and it’s none of your business,” said Mrs. Sharma.

Lachlan couldn’t tell whether she was talking to Mahender, the sisters, or all three at the same time.

“I’d give up on that if I were you,” said the taller sister. “I’m sure she’s dead by now. I bet she’s been chopped up for parts.”

“I bet she was awake when they did it,” said the shorter sister. “I bet she screamed. I bet–“

In a single fluid motion, Mrs. Sharma pulled a second knife from her bag with her free hand and lunged forward, holding a knife point to each sister’s chest.

“If you want to die, keep talking. Otherwise, I highly recommend you leave us alone.”

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