- The Hand of Death, The Finger of Life
Ig moaned, staggering toward me. Blood from the gash on his forehead dripped into his eyes, mixing with pelting rain. He could not see me clearly. I scooted back across the grass, away from Louis’s body, staying just out of his reach.
“Ooooh Girl Creep, you are DONE! DONE!” He gripped the cattle prod, using it to drag himself along, but it had come unplugged. Even if he reached me, there was no charge.
“Who’s coming to save you this time? No one! Your gimp is a dead doornail! HA!”
Clunk. “Umph!” Ig fell face first onto the patio cement.
Enid swung and connected. When I looked up, she was holding the hot pink Venus de Milo by the neck like a ball bat. Her face was blank, purple from crying, makeup running and crusting. Her teased hair and extensions, destroyed by the storm, hung thin around her gaunt face like an orange fringe. She did not make eye contact with me. Instead, she gazed at Louis’s motionless body.
“What are you waiting for, Dahlia?” She dropped the statue. “Go get the fucking battery.”
My mother was awake. My mother was finally protecting me.
I scrambled into the house, leaving mud and blood all over her carpets. I tore down the hallway and into the slaughterhouse. I grabbed a blanket and yanked the galvanic battery from Louis’s finger. I almost tossed the finger to the side, but I slipped it in my pocket.
I moved fast, clumsily hitting the walls, still dizzy. Enid took the battery from me, calmly.
She knelt down gently next to Louis. “Okay, Todd. Hang on.”
She shoved one of the pins connected to the battery into his heart. She jammed the other into a hole in the metal railing. Then she gave the battery a hard kick.
“Enid. Please don’t do this to him.”
“Shut up, Dahlia.” She kicked the battery again and again, finally stripping off her shoe and beating at it.
The universe was collapsing in on itself. Grimwalt Place was the House of Usher. We were all mad or dying.
Enid was seething, full of rage and frustration. “Live! Live, Damn you! Fucking Todd!” She picked up the statue and slammed the battery, shattering it. “LIVE!”
And the angry gods heard my mother. A jolt of lightning hit the metal railing arcing to the base of the pin in Louis’s heart. He lit up, blue and white and brilliant. Streams of glorious static in angelic white travelled between his hands and legs and haloed his head. The wet grass around his fingers wavered and swayed.
“YES! YES! YES!” Enid threw her other shoe and jumped up and down.
I watched her in awe, my mouth hung open. Arthur had always called her a force of nature.
The sparks died away, and Louis moved. He groggily sat up and stared at the pin sticking from his heart. Then he slowly raised his eyes to me. “Dolly?”
“Don’t touch it. Just wait. Enid saved you.” I broke a small twig of a dead bush and slid it between his skin and the metal prong.
“Thank God.” Mumbled Enid. Her eyes found mine. “I did something.”
“Yes.” Louis put his hand out to her.