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Latifa digs around in the Keyboard Oracle, pulls out a handful and scatters them on the mouse pad. “ctrl L O S T @/2,” they read.

“Whose control?” she asks.

N E !/1 “/’ S.

Her heart begins to pound like a spacebar. “Somebody summoned something wild, didn’t they?” she mutters. “And it got loose. Am I going to have to debug things, or firewall, or wipe it…” She shakes the little plastic container and upends it.

“ESC,” say the keys, all of them. “ESC ESC ESC ESC.”

She makes for the window, and the virals are already splintering her front door.


“People who look at the horoscopes,” says Latifa, “are being led astray. The future’s in the newspaper, all right, but it’s never so obvious.”

“Journalismancy?” asks Salud skeptically. “What, like they print next week’s stock prices by mistake?”

Latifa shakes her head. “The defining attributes of prophecy are that it hides small truths in a mass of writing and that its transcribers don’t know which is which. Elijah, Nostradamus, and now Gannett–when not even the publisher reads a whole newspaper, it’s easy for the future to slip into the gutters.”

“Show me,” says Salud.

“LOST,” reads Latifa, “Seven fat cows.”