Only a few days of November remain, my friends! Clearly this novella won’t be done by then. For sake of time, then, I think I’d like to jump, just a smidge, to another critical moment. (If you need to catch up, here’s a list of current chapters for What Happened When Grandmother Failed to Die.)
Sal and Chloe flew through the sliding doors. “We have to close these,” Sal called to Thomas, “NOW.”
“What happened?” Thomas was almost lost to the darkness of the room, too far for the firelight’s reach. Only his eyes glowed to Chloe, wide with fear when he saw the blood on her hand, the panic in her face.
The fear locked Chloe’s jaw but she fought it as the men fought time and warped wood to close the doors. “A b-b-body, Dad. They ch-ch-chopped someone up.”
Laughter: Reg hopped up, a smile so big on his face you’d think it was Christmas Anywhere-But-Here. “It’s done!” He clapped and leapt over the sofa to hug his sister tight. “It must be done done done! The signs, they worked!”
But Chloe ran to join Sal at the doors. Stuck. So damn stuck. The wood groaned, denying them. “The Sumac guy and the doctor–”
CRACK. Thomas’ side splintered free above him. He slammed his side to the center and said, “I knew that damn plowman was no good.” He came to help Sal and Chloe, but his strength only made the wood louder, louder, its moans surely echoing throughout the Crow’s Nest. “Get furniture. We’ll block the rest.”
“What about your mom?” Chloe asked Sal as they took the ends of the sofa.
“It’s her bloody curse.” Sal grunted under the load, faltering after only a few steps. “Let her face it.”
Thomas rushed to Sal’s side and shoved him towards Chloe. “Ang, come on!”
But Angela’s shape stayed to the window, her darkness one with Reg’s, her fingers spread out upon the glass.
Oh, the caws.
It began as one, lone but strong. Then another. Another. Another. And in a heartbeat it was a chorus of murder ringing through the air. A cloud of black feathers beat the windows as the crows flew by. Their song seemed to wrap around the house, filling its rooms and all their hidden spaces–
The walking shroud of Madame Yana Perdido stood, hands upon her cane, in the last space of the sliding doors.
Sal dropped the sofa and stood, empty and limp as a scarecrow after a storm. Reg let out a cry and buried himself in Angela’s arms.
Only Angela held her chin high…though she did not move one inch from the window. “Mother.” The word fell, small and hard, into the air.
The grandmother’s head slowly swiveled from adult to adult until at last she stopped with Choe. “Has the sign been made?” That the sofa was but a few inches away from blocking her entry apparently meant nothing.
Chloe pointed at the pile of drawings about the desk. “Reg has made a hundred, all right? You need to get in here before that doctor–”
Thock. “He means nothing. Did you make the sign?”
“We need to call–”
“Did you make the sign?!”
“NO I DIDN’T MAKE NO DAMN SIGN!”
Not a caw.
Not a groan.
Not a flutter.
Only a single, long, growl. Very deep. And very near.
Word Count: 513 Total Count: 12,324
Gah, I didn’t get to my part yet! Here’s hoping the kids behave well enough tomorrow for me to write before we venture off to another Grandmother’s house… xxxxxx
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!