The little one, Pearl, rose early with a head full of ideas. She was the last of her blood; no other blood survived. Granted the sunrise, she wormed to the ladder and clambered to the surface grating. The monsters who ruined the world needled and crushed, chittering above. Teeth, they termed them though they had none, had eaten all the families. Pearl was an individual, like Jonah, like Simon, Greta. The Plaid Man liked to play jokes on the children. Once, he stole Pearl’s locket, looted, thus, Pearl’s mother’s face. Pearl pegged her mother’s face on Greta (who had ransacked The Plaid Man) and screeched for the Teeth to nick Greta. The grating rattled, Greta buckled. Her food rations denied for a week by The Plaid Man, she vowed reprisal on Pearl. Now, the morning blazed the buildings above, ideas aflutter around the little one. She opened the grating for a clearer view. Pearl bottled ideas about buildings, all books and hearths, how her mother’s face would radiate in dayspring through bay windows. Pearl, a pendant suspended from the ladder’s top rung, felt enormous in the small heat of sunshine having never been so small. She all but worshipped skyscrapers and so didn’t catch the mandibles as they latched to the grating, fit to pull. She didn’t notice that her locket was slipping, that Greta camped below to snag it. She didn’t notice the proboscis jutting at her cheek. Pearl of the tall buildings was about to be snatched away, and in the seizure, she was going to yield her mother to Greta’s hands. She had no idea her loss could mean another’s light. That in going she would be the first in years to see the inside of a building, her greatest wish fulfilled.