The Catalyst

“I am an Events Catalyst. When I’m around, things… happen. Faster. With more consistency.”

You meet her eyes, but she looks away, choosing not to elaborate quite yet. She’s sitting across from you in a leather chair a tad too big for her, her legs tucked beneath her thighs and hidden by the folds of her crimson red cloak. Little Red Riding Hood, you think, and can’t help but chuckle softly to yourself.

Her eyes dart back to you. She smiles wryly. “I know what you’re thinking. My cloak does resemble that of a famous fairy tale character.”

You look at her in surprise and she lets out a small laugh. “I read people, darling,” she explains. “Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Besides, you’re not the first person to make the comparison.”

“So…”

“Why the get-up?”

“Yes.”

“This is a Catalyst’s uniform. The red represents what we do. Red is passion, red is chaos, red is love, red is blood. Red can mean energy, or more rarely, a calm of sorts. We catalysts have no control over what we instigate into being. It could be any of the above, or something else entirely. We wear red to symbolise that.”

“And what is it that you do, exactly? What is an ‘Events Catalyst’, in more detail?”

“We are human, mostly normal, simply born with the special capability to make things happen. We’re everywhere. We come into people’s lives at a crucial time – usually a transition of some sort – and our presence triggers a chain reaction of events. Some are good, some ill, but ultimately we bring a person to where they’re meant to be, and once we’ve taught them what they need to know… We fade away.”

“Fade away? And how do these ‘events’ affect you?” You’re more intrigued than ever. You begin to look back on your life to see if you’ve ever come across a Catalyst yourself.

“I’m not really sure how that one works myself. Something happens, or something changes in the dynamic, or both… And we fade away into the background. Still somewhat present, but never in the same way as before. Our purpose in their life is over. For the time being, at least. So it becomes time to move on.”

She stops, taking out a cigarette case from her trouser pocket. As she lights up, she glances at you questioningly, silently asking if you mind.

“Not at all,” you shake your head to her, and she closes her eyes to take a long drag.

“We’re allowed one vice, to help us handle the environments in which we work. This is mine.”

You can’t help but mention that smoking kills, surprised at your daring. “We’re all going to die someday, darling. If in my case it’s sooner rather than later, then all the better.”

You aren’t sure whether or not she’s joking.

Later, as you look over your notes, you realise she never did answer how she was affected by it all. You run the interview back in your head.

Well… Not directly.

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