Well, my subconscious was definitely at work when it pinged this story into my head straight after the last one, but I’ll leave it to you to find out how.
This is one of the most disturbing and thought-provoking stories I’ve ever read and it concerns the eponymous Dermot, an unprepossessing individual with special powers that enable him to predict where crimes are being planned, thus providing the local police with a near one hundred per cent clean-up rate. The problem is that Dermot has unusual needs that have to be fulfilled in order for him to perform. Unusual is perhaps too small a word to describe them: utterly horrific would perhaps be a better description.
We see all this through the eyes of Abbie, the rookie cop who is acting as Dermot’s minder for the first time. We see how the rest of the force regard the whole Dermot thing with disgust and how her boss tries to convince her that it’s a rite of passage and will give her a fast track to promotion. And we are left to contemplate how much she will be damaged in the process, and how much everyone is damaged by the trade that’s been made and whether it really is for the better good.
First published in Black Static 24, and collected in reprinted in Best Horror of the Year #4, Night Shade, 2013 and Best British Fantasy 2013, Salt