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“Marinette?” Luka called softly into the darkness.

A few tense settings ticked by, stretching into the murk of the street. Nearby, the sound of something almost metallic scraped on the pavement somewhere to his left and was getting closer. He gripped the, now useless, flashlight in his hand wishing that he could see through the caliginous atmosphere. Luka closed his eyes tightly, What he wouldn’t give for a clear night. The metallic sound stopped suddenly.

He felt the air breeze by his face a moment before it could connect and shifted to the right as something claw-like and sharp rent through the space that he had previously occupied. Without wasting another moment, Luka turned on his heel and ran as fast as he could, praying that he wouldn’t go headlong into a building or the Seine.

Too close.

Moisture collected on his brow.

Whatever was moving through the mist had gotten way too close.

Shuffling now, Luka reached a hand forward. When it connected to the stone façade of a building, he released the breath he had been holding and pressed his back against the rough surface.

At least now it can’t get the drop on me, he thought as he stilled to catch his breath. He jiggled the door handle gently, only to find it locked like the rest of Paris seemingly was. How had he been the only one to not receive the heads up..?

A howl pierced the stillness. It sounded big, whatever it was. At least it wasn’t close anymore, Luka’s mind whispered, never-mind that meant that it was close to Marinette’s house – why couldn’t everyone’s house always be on the move? It was so much safer that way. He started shuffling again, some part of him cognizant that movement was the key. If he didn’t keep moving and get somewhere safe, the Howler might catch up.

Almost against his will, Luka stilled as a muffled noise caught his attention. It almost sounded like… flapping? On instinct, he dropped to his knees just as a talon rent through the stillness and grazed a wisp of his hair.

He held very still, biting his knuckle to keep from crying out. When another attack didn’t come, he continued his blind forward march on his stomach. It left his back exposed, but it didn’t matter – not really. Unless it was deep, a cut to his back wouldn’t be fatal.

Maybe if he kept going, he would meet with a friendly face?

He viciously beat down any part of his mind that advised him to give up and look out after himself. Luka refused to believe that animal instinct would or could override human kindness.