Dearest readers, I have fallen quite a ways behind over the past week on my NaNoWriMo word count. As of this morning, I still had 7000 words to go, and only two days left to write them in. So today I’m going for 4000 words. In order to break it up a bit, I’m posting the first half now, and taking a break. When I finish this evening, I will post the rest. Wish me luck!
I was the last one to walk into the house. Granmy and the Duchess were standing in the middle of the living room, smiling and talking. Granpy was sitting down on his favorite chair, looking down at the floor with no feelings on his face except for his Line. I closed the door behind me, and Granpy looked up. He looked right at me, and his eyes were big Os, and I knew that everything would finally be okay because he could see me At Last. He stood up, and he walked right over to me, then he walked right around me and he looked at the door. He said Hm, then he shook his head back and forth really fast, then he went back to his chair. His Line was getting bigger.
He took off his glasses and wiped them off, then put them back on. Then he started to disappear, but I realized that it was just my glasses getting foggy, too, because the air in the house was warmer than outside. I took the cloth out of my jacket and wiped them off. When they were finally clean, I put them back on. Granpy was still sitting in his chair, but how he was leaning forward with his elbow on his leg and his chin on his hand, which is something he does sometimes when he’s thinking about a really tricky problem with the Building Blocks Of Life.
By then, my hands were starting to burn from the warm air in the house, and I was getting sweaty from wearing my jacket. Granpy likes to keep the house Nice And Toasty Warm in the winter, even though Granmy always says it’s not healthy to be hot and cold and hot and cold all day. I took off my jacket and put it down on the back of the couch. I had to walk around Jose, who was still holding Simon, and Granmy and the Duchess, who were still talking.
The Duchess’ face was still the nice face. It wasn’t sad anymore, and it wasn’t angry anymore. It was just a normal face. But she was still the Duchess, and she had still done lots of mean things to me and Jose, and she had still knocked down my tree, and I was still very angry at her. I didn’t Trust her. I remembered how she had pretended to cry and ask for help. She’d looked normal then, too, then she had turned into a monster. She was just playing her terrible game with Granmy now, and she was going to turn mean again, and this time she was inside my house. Mean people are not allowed inside my house. And they are Most Definitely not allowed to steal my grandmother away from me.
Jose sat down on the couch and Simon was sitting in his lap. They had made friends For Sure. I told Jose that we still had a lot of work to do. I reminded him that we needed to do experiments and tests and research to find out all about ghosts and about what had happened to us and how to make everything back to normal again. But he didn’t even look at me. He just kept petting Simon and he said Later, Not Right Now. And I was starting to get angry with Jose, even though I know what it’s like when Simon is All Curled Up on top of you and going to sleep, and you just can’t move him No Matter What. But this was really important, and he wasn’t helping me. It was like he didn’t even care anymore. Like he had forgotten everything that happened, just like Granpy.
So I went over to Granpy and I waved my hand in front of his face. He didn’t even look at it. He looked like he was Lost In His Thoughts. I said, “Granpy,” and he still didn’t move. Then I said it louder, and nothing happened. Then I jumped up and down and said it as loud as I could, and still nothing happened. He couldn’t see me. He couldn’t hear me. It was like I wasn’t even there At All. And the worst thing was, he wasn’t looking for me. It was like he had forgotten I ever existed. Like the old man and the old woman and maybe the Duchess erased me from his memories.
At least Granmy would understand. I went over to where she and the Duchess were talking. Granmy was asking her when and why and how she started to call herself the Duchess, and the Duchess was starting to tell a long story. I knew it was going to be a long story because she said, “It all started way back when.” Nobody ever says that and then tells a short story.
So I stood in between them and I said, “Granmy,” but she didn’t answer me. Then I said it again, a little louder, and she still didn’t answer me. The Duchess was still talking, and Granmy was still listening, and I got very scared for a second, because maybe it was possible that even Granmy couldn’t see me, and that would be the Worst Thing Possible. I looked at the Duchess and I told her to Shut Up, which is a very rude thing to say, but I was too angry and too scared and I didn’t care about being rude.
The Duchess stopped talking for a second. She turned her head and looked at me and her face got angry again, not angry like the monster, but just angry like a normal angry girl, and she said, “Leave us alone,” and then I told her to Shut Up again, and tried to get Granmy to look at me.
Granmy did look at me. Finally. At Last. She could see me. She could hear me. But she didn’t look happy about seeing me. She got her Line for a second and said, “Princess, you’re being very rude to our guest,” and then she looked back at the Duchess and smiled and said, “Go on, dear.”
The Duchess smiled at me, but her eyebrows were angry, and she said, “Yeah, stop being rude.” Then she looked back at Granmy and kept telling her long story.
I thought about my whole day so far. First there was the cleaning part, where me and Granpy had to take all our stuff and hide it away so the living room would look Clean And Tidy, and it made our house feel a little bit less like our house and more like a strange place that belonged to someone else. Then there was the talk with Granpy where he made it all My Decision to go to the Haunted House or not. Then there was the cold air, and the Haunted House, and the old man, and the screaming, and my phone dropping and breaking, and the Duchess taking Jose away, and my phone not working anymore. Then there was Granpy not being able to see me, and having Ms. Fess in our house even though he hadn’t told me she would be there, and the old man in my house telling everyone not to pay any attention to me. Then there was going back to the Haunted House with Simon, and the worms all over the floor, and dropping my glasses and breaking them, and going up the scary steps, and the old woman in the room, and the thing that grabbed my leg, and being carried out of the house by someone, which was scary even though I found out later that it was Jose. Then there was Granpy not being able to see Jose, either, and the Duchess knocking down my tree, and the Dead Eye ghosts coming to get us, and more screaming and angry and crazy noises. And then there was Granmy being rude and interrupting even though she always told me not to be rude and interrupt, and Simon being scared and hiding, and Granmy making friends with the Duchess. And now there was Granmy telling me not to be rude and interrupt and ignoring me, and Granpy still not being able to see me, and Jose stealing Simon and not wanting to talk to me.
You might think that I cried, but I didn’t. I think maybe I had run all out of tears from crying earlier. There weren’t any tears left. And my eyes hurt and felt scratchy. It wasn’t just Too Much. Things are Too Much all the time. This was much worse than just being Too Much. This was Way, Way, Way Too Much. Normally when it’s Too Much, there is someone who understands who knows what to do to make me feel better. But not this time. This time I was completely All Alone. And maybe it was All My Fault because I made the decision to go to the Haunted House with Jose, but it was Granmy’s and Jose’s decision to ignore me, and the Duchess’ decision to steal my grandmother from me, and Granpy’s decision to make it My Decision In The First Place, and I wasn’t scared or sad anymore, I was Angry.
It wasn’t Fair. None of it was Fair. I did everything I was supposed to do. I had tried to help someone. I had tried to do something good. I had tried to save Jose. I had tried to follow all the rules. And nobody cared. Nobody listened. Nobody would even look at me.
I screamed. That was three times in one day. Maybe three times in my whole life. And this time it wasn’t because it was too loud and no one could hear me talking normally. This time it was because no one would listen to me. This time they would have to listen to me. It would be impossible to not listen to me.
And it would be impossible to not see me. I jumped on the coffee table and I kicked the books on the floor. I pushed over the big lamp next to the couch and it went crash. I ran in the kitchen and opened the fridge and the freezer and all the cupboards. I took all the spoons out of the drawer and I threw them on the floor. (I didn’t take out the forks or the knives, because I wanted them to look at me and hear me and notice me, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone.) I pushed over the kitchen chairs. I turned the lights on and off, and I screamed some more.
I heard Simon hiss and jump down onto the floor and run away. Jose said “What are you doing?” but he didn’t try to stop me, he just stood there. Granpy stood up and looked around at the Big Mess and looked very confused and scared.
The Duchess was looking at me with angry eyes, but her smile was gone, and her mouth was angry now, too. She yelled even louder than me, and started saying Come To Me and This Is Our Place Now, and through the windows outside, in the dark, I could see the Dead Eye ghosts starting to come towards the house again.
But I was too angry to be scared. I had known that the Duchess would do something like this again, but no one had listened to me. No one had cared what I had to say. No one was going to stop her. Granmy was even making friends with her. So I yelled even louder than the Duchess, even though it hurt my ears to do it. I looked right at the Dead Eye ghosts outside, and I shouted, “No! This is My Place! If you come in here, then you have to listen to Me!”
The Dead Eye ghosts were walking through the walls now. They were looking at me, and at the Duchess. They were walking slowly, and they looked lost and confused.
The Duchess yelled, “I am the Duchess! You will do as I say!”
And I yelled, “I am the Princess! This house belongs to Me!”