Robert Pendleton opened one eye as the light of a passing car flashed over the window, shattering the darkness into prisms. He rolled onto his back on the beat-up couch and yawned as he reached his hands up and rubbed his eyes unceremoniously.
He looked out over the darkness at the digital clock. The red digits spelled out a quarter ‘til midnight––nearly fourteen hours of sleep. He smiled and grabbed one of the cushions of the couch, burying his head in it. Just enough sleep, he reminded himself. Robert felt that anything less than twelve hours of sleep was very nearly too little.
He grasped blindly for the TV remote.
Groaning as he lifted his head, he looked at the empty table––his eyes drawn by another flash of a passing car. He couldn’t see clearly, but he knew that the remote had been there before he had fallen asleep nearly half a day ago.
“Could have sworn….” he mumbled as he pushed himself up and brushed his hand around the top of the table, finding nothing. “Where did….”
Another groan escaped his lips as he lifted his body to a sitting position and threw aside the cluster of pillows that he had gathered around himself. He reached out for the lamp, but instead knocked it to the floor with a resounding thud.
Robert muttered as he stood up from the couch, and then sank to his knees to search around in the darkness for the fallen lamp. Reaching around on the shadowed floor, shards of the broken lamp scattered like pieces of light.
He turned his head, peering beneath the large space underneath the couch and saw the reflection of the buttons on the remote. The off-gray piece of machinery was underneath the couch––only darkness lingered beyond it. He reached out as he spoke again.
“How did it get all the way down there?”
Robert flexed his hand and strained as he twisted his back to reach farther; yet, the remote remained just out of reach. He pulled his arm away with a huff and craned his neck to the side, staring underneath into the darkness below the couch.
His eyes widened as he saw the impossible: there was something beyond the remote. He shook his head and closed his eyes, whispering to himself that he didn’t see what he thought he had.
“I saw a little man,” he whispered to himself as he opened his eyes once more and nearly gasped as he did so.
The figure was closer now and he could make out the outline clearly. A tiny man rested just beyond the remote.
“What in the name of…?”
“Not here in the name of nobody, laddie. I be a friend though,” crooned the miniscule figure as he interrupted Robert and stepped forward, placing a hand on the darkened and slick surface of the remote.
A tam-o’-shanter crested his bright red hair, the shaggy mane blending perfectly into his equally crimson, neatly trimmed, beard.
A billow of whitish smoke drifted from the long-stemmed pipe that he held clenched between his lips.
Robert fell back and knocked aside the adjacent table. Rubbing his eyes, he spoke a single word: “Leprechaun.”
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