The Duchess flew down so she was floating right in front of Granmy’s face. Her face and her body were still all twisted and scary. Her eyes were huge and red, her mouth was as big as her whole head would be normally, her teeth were long and sharp, and her hands were gigantic with long fingers with sharp claws on the ends. Her eyebrows were very angry, and her mouth was smiling a big, scary smile, and she kept screaming for a few seconds, until Granmy said Young Lady, I Asked You A Question.
The Duchess stopped screaming then, and her eyebrows went up, and her smile went away. She looked surprised, or maybe confused, or maybe both. But that only lasted for a few seconds, then she got her angry face back and shouted, “This is our place! The Invaders will flee before us! The world will know of our power!” Then she did one of those crazy laughs, but it didn’t bother me so much this time because I was too busy trying to figure out what she meant. I knew that “flee” means “run away,” and I was pretty sure she meant we were the Invaders. So she was saying that we would run away, and then they would run away. We would be running away from the Duchess and her Dead Eye ghosts, I guess, but what would they be running away from?
While I thought about that, I remembered how cold my hands were, and I looked at them very closely to see if they were turning black. If they turned black, it would mean I had frostbite and the doctors would have to cut them off. For a few seconds I was more scared of that than I was of the ghosts, because at least the ghosts were all being quiet.
The old woman started to say the things about attention again, but then I heard Granmy’s voice interrupt her. I was really surprised, because Granmy was the one who was always telling me it’s rude to interrupt people. It wasn’t fair that she always told me not to interrupt, and then she gets to do it. There should be the same rules for everyone. I would have told her that right away, but with all the noise and the cold and the ghosts and the being afraid, it was Definitely Way Too Much, and I didn’t feel like I could talk. So I just stood there and looked at the ground and listened to Granmy’s interruption and felt relieved that no one was screaming.
Granmy said, “Young lady, where did you learn how to fly like that? It’s very impressive.”
Everything was quiet for a few seconds, so I got brave and looked up. The Duchess was still in the air, but she wasn’t just floating anymore. She was flying around and doing twists and turns and flips, and it made me feel dizzy, so I looked back down at the ground again and just listened. The Duchess was laughing now, but it wasn’t her crazy laugh, it was just a normal laugh. Then she stopped laughing and I heard her say, “I had to practice for years and years to get this good. At first I could only float a little, but now I can fly everywhere. I’m the only one in the whole house who can do it, you know.” I got brave and looked up for just a little Peek, and I saw that she was smiling, a real, actual smile. Granmy was smiling, too, and nodding her head Yes, even though no one had asked her any questions.
When the Duchess stopped talking about how good she was at flying, Granmy asked her where she got her Unique and Interesting red eyes. By then, the Duchess was standing on the ground instead of flying, and her hands and her face were back to normal, and she looked just like a girl who was a few years older than me and not like a scary monster at all. I didn’t see Jose right away, so I looked around and saw that he was crouching down by the chair where Simon was hiding and petting his head to try to calm him down. Then I heard Granpy’s voice.
He was saying Good Night to Ms. Fess, and Ms. Fess was waving Goodbye and walking around the house to the front, where her car was probably parked. I looked around some more and saw that the Dead Eye ghosts were all gone. Maybe they had walked away, or maybe they had just disappeared, but they weren’t there anymore. The old man and the old woman weren’t there anymore, either. It was just Granmy talking to the Duchess, Jose making friends with Simon, and Granpy walking back to the door to go inside the house, still not looking at me, with sad eyes and a sad mouth and his Line. He opened the door and went in, and I was afraid to leave Granmy and Jose and Simon and the Duchess all outside in my backyard together, but my hands and my face and especially my nose and my ears were so cold that I couldn’t wait anymore. I started to walk behind Granpy.
Granmy stopped me, because I heard her say to the Duchess, “It’s so cold outside, why don’t you come on in and tell me all about it.” Then I stopped walking and turned back around and looked at her. She was holding the Duchess’ hand and they were both smiling and walking towards me. Granmy was looking at me, and she said, “Come on, Princess, don’t be rude to your new friend.” I knew she could walk right through me, but she was waiting for me to Get Out Of The Way. Walking through people is another thing she always said was rude, at least ever since she started to be a ghost.
I was angry, because she was talking about not being rude again, even though she had been rude already just a few minutes before, but it was Granmy, so I stood out of the way and let her and the Duchess go in. Jose came behind them, holding Simon, who was so scared he didn’t even mind that someone was picking him up, and then I walked in last and shut the door behind me.