And above it all, explosions. Just when the roar of the last blast fell silent, another would follow, throwing people to the sidewalk. The Earth shook as if a giant were stamping its feet.
Which, in fact, was exactly what was happening. Those people who through luck, good or bad, had a vantage point above the smoke and destruction were greeted with a disturbing sight this night. Waddling through downtown Seattle, with a swaying, tottering rhythm, was a one-hundred-foot-tall baby doll. Where the doll's head should have been was a pistol, a gleaming Saturday night special the size of school bus. The doll would toddle forward a few blocks, knocking down walls and shattering glass as it swayed, then, bracing itself, would turn its gun-gaze on a nearby skyscraper and let fly with an enormous bullet.
The doll had been wandering the streets for half an hour. It seemed to have no plan or purpose other than destruction. It was impossible to say whether it was by chance or design that it arrived at the most famous structure of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle. For a moment, it waddled past the Needle, seemingly oblivious to its presence. Then it turned its horrible muzzle toward the structure.
Half a world away, a man with his feet kicked up on the coffee table chuckled with pleasure as the Needle tumbled to the ground. His name was Rex Monday.
"That, my friend, is a damn fine act of terror if I do say so myself," said Monday, waving toward the TV.
His "friend" was an old man, very thin, dressed in clothes so worn and dirty any civilized person would have burned them. The old man watched the carnage playing out on the screen as he crunched on the unpopped kernels he’d dug from the bottom of the bag of popcorn in his hand. "I reckon. Sure. But what's in it for you? I'm grateful for the job, Mr. Monday. Not much work for a carny geek these days. But, as long as you're going to be tearing up buildings, shouldn't you be stealing stuff? Send me in. I bet I can find a bank to chew into or something."
"You think small, friend," said Monday. "What's in it for me is that he hates it. He hates that he can't outthink me, that he can't predict me, that he can't protect the world from me."