So, yes, they're all upset again. Not that it's my fault. You'd think I'd blown the lights out just to spite them, the way Emma was looking at me. I didn't mean it, I promise. I got all angry and was yelling and stomping my feet, sure, but that was different and I know I didn't make the lights go hissy mad like that because Dietrich was startled about it, too.

Emma takes one of my candles. She is extra careful not to touch the dribbly wax tears on its side, even when I waggle my filmy finger puppets at her to show her how fun it is. I don't think they look scary - not really - all I could find for eyes were dusty crumbs, sure, and bits of thread for mouths; but they're not scary. So why'd she flinch when I walked one up by her neck?

She nods jerkily at the wired man and disappears into a hallway. I watch the light of her bob away before turning to the invalid, up on his cart. He's frowning. The light of his computer screen glosses the shadows of his face in flickering greens like a reflection in water: wavering and intangible. I smile. I screw the end of my candle onto the plastic post of his bed, affixing it with globs of wax, and hop up next to him. He squinches to the side, but I'm unsure if he's making room or just can't stand the thought of touching hips.

"What do you want," his fingers dance in light like a strobe.

I pull the computer towards me, hesitantly glancing at him for permission, and tap something in reply. "Why do you keep the vol-ume up?" I pause. Maybe that wasn't a reply. "Who-s here to lis-sen? Who-s here but you?"

His eyes widen. I'm afraid I've said something wrong and my heart flinches. He takes the computer back, curving forward and hacking out more words: "There is some-thin-g ser-i-ous-ly wron-g with you."

I swallow thickly. I peer out at the hard edged shadows of the room and their shivering silhouettes. Maybe they're nervous.

"Are you a liar?"

The wired man huffs loudly, sarcastically, and doesn't answer. He shrugs his shoulders over the screen and catches the light like a bony sail. My eyes fall, weighted.

"Dietrich says you're all liars," I squeak. "He says there's scary things and maybe you know about it and maybe you're not who I think but, really, it's not you because it's actually them and I got all upset and was sad and the lights went out and I think I'm being punished but then I thought, no, that's not fair and I locked the red man in a closet but I told myself it was only because he was flustering around and he'd get himself hurt but really he needed a time out because he was bad." I squawk the last bit and surprise myself. I clamp my hands around my face and the finger puppet smiles tickle at the corners of my eyes.

When I'm done, I hand back his snotty sheet corner. He takes it, hesitantly, and folds it into a sanitary ball while I sniffle around at the shadows. His fingers hover over the keyboard before tapping out a tentative "there there", to which I hiccup something unintelligible.

I kiss his cheek and we're drowned in a wash of light.

The End

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