Monday, December 3, 2012

The Girl in the Ghost House - Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Evelyn ducked the second she heard the flap of the wings behind her. She fell onto the dusty carpet and rolled over. She pulled her bow out and pulled the arrow back and hoped she could aim better this time. She let the arrow go, not really knowing what she was shooting at. And she just barely saw something black in the corner of her eye flying across the room. But when she shone her flashlight there was nothing there. Evelyn was shaking. The Thing with Black Wings had almost gotten her.

“Oh, deary. Looks like it left again.” Lacrymosa sighed before laughing, “That was a very good try. But maybe next time deary, you should try aiming for it instead of the stairs.”

“I was aiming for it.” Normally Evelyn wouldn’t get so cross with people but she still felt her heart beating fast and her stomach felt all twisted in knots and she did not appreciate Lacrymosa making comments about her aim, “Anyway, you weren’t helping very much.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve made you mad, haven’t I?” Lacrymosa said and began to sniff, “I always do that. Make other people sad or mad. It’s not nearly as fun as when I make people happy.”

“Well, I’m not mad. I was just frightened that’s all.” Evelyn said, shining the light up the stairs to where the golden shaft of her arrow stuck out. “I’ll be right back.”

“Oh, dear, you mustn’t shine your light so directly at the gap in the stairs. You’ll make it angry.” Lacrymosa said as Evelyn was climbing the stairs.

“Oh, great. What is it this time?” Evelyn kept going up the stairs and had just reach the place her arrow was when something with glowing eyes and rows of white teeth jumped out of the crack at her. She screamed. And then. Evelyn began to laugh. “Why, it’s only a cat!”

“It’s the smiling cat.” Lacrymosa giggled again, “He’s so cute and fat. Oh, and also, he guards the stairs and since you woke him he probably won’t let you pass.”

“What do you mean, won’t let me pass?” Evelyn picked up her arrow and slowly stepped away from the cat that was curled on the stairs.

“He’ll eat your soul if you try to get past him.” Lacrymosa smiled.

“So he’s a ghost too then?” Evelyn asked sighing, “Is there nobody alive in this house?”

“Well, I think there is the Man with the Music Box who lives in the basement. I think he’s alive. At least he was last time I was in the basement. It’s been ages though.” Lacrymosa laughed, “It was so delightful getting to see it though. I miss it sometimes.”

“But if it’s just in the basement.” Evelyn didn’t like the idea of a Man with a Music Box living in the basement and her stomach still didn’t feel too good form her encounter with the Thing with Black Wings, “If it’s just in the basement can’t you go there whenever you like.”

“Oh, unfortunately I can’t dear.” And Lacrymosa laughed, “What a silly idea! I can’t leave my nail!”

“Your nail?” Evelyn looked up at the nail that was coming out of Lacrymosa’s head. “That one?”

“Yes.” Lacrymosa’s eyes looked funny as they crossed so she could look at it, “You see, none of us ghosts can leave the place we died. The Professor in the Attic. Dear William in his bathtub. The Twins who live Under the Stairs. None of them.”

“They can’t move?” Evelyn asked. “Why not?”

From upstairs there was a rumbling and a shaking and dust fell from the ceiling as the top floor shook. Evelyn looked at Lacrymosa who was just laughing hysterically, making small cracks in the plaster around her.

“Oh, the Singing Lady is very upset that I’m talking to you! Oh dear! What a fuss she’s making!” And Lacrymosa laughed more.

“Aren’t you afraid of the Singing Lady?” Evelyn looked up at the laughing woman.

“Oh dear, of course not. She can’t hurt me. See, I died on this nail, so wherever it gets used I get to live. I’ve seen the top floors, the attic, the kitchen, even spent some time outside on the front door. Even if she took my key she can’t lock me in my room.” Lacrymosa smiled, “You see, dear girl. The Singing Lady doesn’t really have any power over any of us. The Professor and William just haven’t realized it yet.”

“So that’s why they have Trevor and Faucet. To do things for them around the house since they can’t move?” Evelyn was beginning to understand.

“Yes. Exactly. And they’re not the only ones––” Lacrymosa said before the clock in the hall started to strike 3 o clock. “Oh dear, it sounds like you only have a few hours left before sunrise.”

“Will you help me, Lacrymosa? Is there a way for me to get my key back?” Evelyn asked as the final note of the clock faded in the heavy air.

“Well, you can’t take it from her. Keys cannot be taken. They must be given. Anyone who stole a key––” And Lacrymosa shivered, “Well, they’d rather have the Thing with Black Wings find them before stealing a key.”

“So I have to convince her to give the key back?” Evelyn sighed and sat down on the dirty stairs, the Smiling Cat looking down at her and bending its head sideways. “How am I supposed to do that?”

“Well, it won’t be easy.” Lacrymosa said before smiling brightly, “But I’m certain a smart girl like you could figure it out!”

“Right.” Evelyn sighed, “I’m gonna go ask the Professor for help.”

“Oh, you can’t do that.” Lacrymosa pointed towards the Smiling Cat that grinned wider, “You’d never get past the cat.”

“So who can I ask for help then?!” Evelyn asked, feeling very frustrated at Lacrymosa.

“Well, I guess you could ask the gardener. He used to know the Singing Lady back when she was alive. I think he was secretly in love with her.” Lacrymosa giggled as she said it.

“Alright, I’ll go ask the gardener.” And as Trevor shook his small rat head, Evelyn paused, “Where is the gardener?”

“Why, in the conservatory of course!” Lacrymosa laughed and the wall was covered in a spiderweb of cracks, “Where else would a gardener be!”

“I’m sorry, but what is a conservatory?” Evelyn was beginning to grow tired of Lacrymosa’s laugh.

“Oh, its a room built out of glass and filled with plants!” Lacrymosa’s eyes became dreamy as she spoke, “I was there for almost a whole decade holding a bench together. What a lovely place...”

“Thank you very much.” Evelyn grabbed Faucet and called as she started on her way. “Come on Trevor!”

“...except for the lions of course.” Lacrymosa sighed before she began to giggle to herself in the person shaped space in the cracked wall. The Smiling Cat smiled wider and turned around a few times before settling on the stairs. Trevor ran after Evelyn squeaking angrily as they made their way towards the glass door where the word, “Conservatory” was etched into the surface.

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