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The room changed hue. The light seemed to strobe. And I understood that Little Finnegan had broken through. He meant to drive Delores away. I got up to warn her. But there he was, scuttling across the ceiling on fingers and toes, face twisted back to watch me as he lowered himself head-first over the door. I stepped after him, and he stopped, and his mouth stretched, and in an instant, he had skittered back up to the ceiling and was circling over my head. I took a wild swing with my fist and stumbled to the floor. He extended his hand as though to help, but I slapped it away, and his foot caught me behind the ear, and the lights dimmed.

I didn’t hear the screams or see the look on Delores’s face as she was pressed into the fog with nothing but her housecoat and a slipper—but I was enraged. When I heard the tapping on the floorboards, I scrambled to the stairs and spied Little Finnegan in a frilly apron and high heels, parading in front of the mirror. Catching my reflection, he raised a hand to his brow in faux despair and fled to the bedroom, where he fell in a swoon and lay, for a moment, deathly still. Then his eyes snapped open to see my reaction as he convulsed in what I suppose was a performance of his death throes.

I let out a shriek and launched myself at him. And though he clawed at the bedspread in an effort to dig free, I managed to pin his arms and swaddle him in the heavy fabric. He had mostly stopped resisting by the time I dragged him behind the garage, and even while I was winding the bungee he was silent. Still, in my rage, I took a greasy rag and, with the aid of a paint stick, rammed it down his throat. And then, for the hundredth time, I grabbed a shovel and began to dig.

The light was throbbing in blues and reds when Little Finnegan announced his return with a long, inhuman wail. I pretended not to notice as he tiptoed overhead. But the windows had been boarded and, with a click, the door was sealed tight. Where you going, Little Finnegan? I laughed as he darted from corner to corner. Already, the flames had reached the ceiling and the smoke was blotting out the light. I began to sing: Little Finnegan, let’s pretend this isn't the way the world ends!




continue to episode 3

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