Kathleen was new. Kathleen was afraid of the newness.

Eileen, also new, was afraid of the noise, which (she did not know) was her own noise, and the noise of all the others who were new, and of the ones they had come away from, and of the other ones.

Joseph was afraid of the hands. Michael was one of 234 Michaels, and Michael, at his beginning, was afraid of the noise and of the hands and of the feeling. Catherine, who was one of 194 Catherines, was also afraid of the feeling; the feeling was everywhere. The feeling was her. Something stayed away from her which could answer it; something stayed away from her which could clear it away; but something did not come, and anyway, Catherine did not know, did not get to know, what something was.

Josie knew. Josie was one of the ones who got to be no longer new. Who took steps. Long enough around for Josephine to become Josie; Josie was one of those ones.

Josie was afraid of the room. Mary was afraid of the room. The other Mary was afraid of the room. The other Mary again was afraid of the room; the other Mary again again was afraid of the room. Mary Again Again Again was afraid of the room, and Mary Again Again Again Again was afraid of the room. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And

Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. And Mary. Mary-Kate was afraid of the room. Mary-Frances was afraid of the room. Mary-Elizabeth was afraid of the room. Mary-Catherine was afraid of the room. Thomas was afraid of the room, Patrick was afraid of the room, James was afraid of the room, Dan was afraid of the room, Johnny was afraid of the room, Jimmy was afraid of the room. Jimmy the other Jimmy; Jimmy the other Jimmy after that one again; Jimmy the next Jimmy; Jimmy.

The room was end. The room was silence, except when the door was open and it was not silence, it was sounds, sounds of needing, sounds of ending. Only others were put in the room.

Andy was afraid of becoming an other. Rose was afraid of the feeling. The feeling was Rose. The feeling was Rose when it was the daytime, and the feeling was Rose when she was down in the dreams. The feeling was this: that the next moment to come to you would be something bad. That the next moment would be a roar. Grip and roar and plunge and lash and hammer hammer hammer, though hammer was not the worst, and kick and tear and strip and scald, and that could be the next moment; that could be the next moment, and there was no one who could say that it could not.

Bridget was afraid of the eyes. Eamon was afraid of the floor. The floor was what was done to you. The floor was what you did.

Seán was afraid of the dark. There were 84 Seáns, and 67 of them were afraid of the dark.

Oliver was afraid of the dark. Martin was afraid of the dark. Emmanuel was afraid of the dark. William was afraid of the dark. Maureen was afraid of the dark. Anna was afraid of the dark. (Are you tired yet of hearing which of them was afraid of the dark?) Patricia was afraid of the dark. Noreen was afraid of the dark. Brendan was afraid of the dark, and Gabriel was afraid of the dark, and Kevin was afraid of the dark, and Connie was afraid of the dark, and Nancy was afraid of the dark, and Peg was afraid of the dark. Róisín was afraid of the dark. Hannah was afraid of the dark. Trevor was afraid of the dark and John Patrick was afraid of the dark. Mick was afraid of the dark and Mike was afraid of the dark. Sarah was afraid of the dark and Sophia was afraid of the dark.

Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark. Mary was afraid of the dark.

Anthony was afraid of the mornings. Seamus was afraid of the forms. Padraig was afraid of the sounds. Sonny was afraid of moving, and of what it might bring on. Francis was afraid of the ground. Liam: of footsteps; Larry: of words. Maura: of the tall thin one; Janie: of the paint on the wall. Iggy was afraid of the corridors; Gerard was afraid of the fire. Theresa was afraid of the man with the red rash of tiny holes on his nose, because Theresa was afraid of the pain. Theresa was afraid of the pain Mary was afraid of the pain Mary was afraid of the pain Marian was afraid of the pain Marie was afraid of the pain Bridget was afraid of the pain Catherine was afraid of the pain; Harry was afraid of the pain Michael was afraid of the pain Johnny was afraid of the pain Thomas was afraid of the pain.

Jonathan was afraid of the tails. Peadar was afraid of the air. Noel was afraid of the water. Monica was afraid of the bowls. Breege was afraid of the curtains. Raphie was afraid of the fields. Honora was afraid of America. Cissie was afraid of the dead. Philip was afraid of the moonlight; Christopher was afraid of the flies. Kitty was afraid of the school; Enda was afraid of his hair. Douglas was afraid of Paddy Toner; Paddy Toner was afraid of Hedges Rourke. Lily was afraid of Mary Prunty; Mary Prunty was afraid of Assumpta Joyce. Tomás was afraid of uneven surfaces. Brian was afraid of his own hot, stinging shit. Maisie was afraid of singing. Dermot was afraid of the hole. Imelda was afraid of dirt left on the floorboards; Clare was afraid of the bars of her bed. Niall was afraid of the man with the creases on his face; Dessie was afraid of the man who riz up the gold. Conor was afraid of the long dead man, thin; Edward was afraid of the nails.

Kathleen was afraid. Eileen was afraid Joseph was afraid Michael was afraid Michael after that again was afraid. Catherine was afraid all the Catherines after that Catherine were afraid. Josie was afraid. Josie got to two. Mary was afraid. Mary got to four. Jimmy was afraid. Jimmy, eight months. Andy was afraid; Andy got to be fairly tall. Rose was afraid; Rose, at five, had shocking, defiant-looking blonde curls. Bridget was afraid; Bridget never moved off the flat of her back. Eamon was afraid Seán was afraid Oliver was afraid Martin was afraid; Martin had weak lungs, and Martin was afraid of the spread of them across his pillow. Emmanuel was afraid. William was afraid. Maureen was afraid Anna was afraid Patricia was afraid Noreen was afraid; Noreen was afraid of the things if you looked behind. Brendan was afraid Gabriel was afraid Kevin was afraid Connie was afraid; Nancy was afraid Peggy was afraid Róisín was afraid Hannah was afraid Trevor was afraid John Patrick was afraid John Michael was afraid Mick was afraid Mike was afraid Sarah was afraid Sophia was afraid Mary was afraid Mary was afraid. Mary was afraid. Mary was afraid. Mary was afraid Mary was afraid Mary was afraid Mary was afraid—