Subsubsection: Sunday 7 September 1930 Up Subsection: 23 November 2016 (Fire Bug)

Monday 8 September 1930

The papers report that Wilson died “quietly at his home”; the funeral will be on Thursday.
Millie leaves a message for St John Aubrey, asking whether he knew either of the deceased.
Bessie and Millie visit Sonia, who’s working hard; they notice she has more fire extinguishers than before, but it seems that there’s a practical reason for this, as a wisp of smoke drifts up from the edge of the floor. She puts it out; Bessie and Millie spot a small bright red shape, invisible to conventional senses, scurrying away and into a crack in the wall. Bessie keeps an eye on this while Millie continues to chat; the thing crawls out again, and goes behind an oxygen tank. When the back of that starts to glow, all of them hurry outside, but nothing happens; when Sonia pokes her head back in, there’s smoke from the floorboard but nothing more serious. The beetle scurries away towards the kitchen, and Bessie tracks it to a paper packet of biscuits (it seems to be ignoring the gas stove for now); Millie tries to catch it with her willpower, but it’s painfully hot and she can’t hold it. Bessie uses a cook’s match as bait, and that lures it out; Sonia has a small aluminium box that they rig as a trap, and catch the thing. The box gets uncomfortably warm to the touch, but no more than that.
Millie goes to a nearby ironmonger’s to get an iron kettle, and they manage to tip the beetle into that, and close it. They take it back to Millie’s boarding house, and into the garden; the kettle is also hot to the touch. Gertrude tries to contact the thing, without much success. The kettle becomes far hotter, and they dump it into a rain-barrel; it produces a huge amount of steam, then the bottom of the kettle starts to glow and falls away. The beetle flies out (now glowing white), through the steam, and up and away towards the sunset. There’s some remnant shine on the pot, but nothing like as much as the dragon left.