No. 362

Lillian Lockhart had lived a completely normal life before the day she removed the envelope from the post-box without looking at the address. The letter was home and opened before Lillian realized that she was not the intended recipient. Still, now that the deed was done, she read it.

The letter was written to a Mr. Henry Black, and detailed the outfitting of an expedition to “confirm or capture the Beast of Broad Rock”.

Lillian’s heart pumped hard in her chest. Every child knew of the Beast. It was said to live in a cave at the end of an icy maze, deep within the mountains. Many had sought it out. Few had returned.

The endeavor was to begin on June 12th. It seemed that Black was to be the leader of the team, having been hired by the organizers for his vast experience tracking wild game.

Lillian looked out her window at the drab wall of the apartment next-door. The harrowing journey described in the letter triggered her imagination. In her mind she was the one coming over the top of the ridge, pointing down at the creature below. She was jolted back to reality when she realized that she was out of breath.

She glanced at the now-crushed paper clutched in her hand and began to form a daring plan.

She put the crumpled sheet on her desk, smoothing it to read the sender’s information. She copied the address to the outside of a fresh envelope from her drawer. Then, after only the briefest hesitation, she placed a fresh page beside stolen correspondence and began to write.

             To whom it may concern,

Mr. Black has taken ill, and will be unable to perform the duties outlined in your letter of April 22.            

             In his place, he recommends the hiring of his associate, Ms. Lillian Lockhart.