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The things in the walls Part 1
“Beep beep beep bee…”
Kate groaned and flicked of the alarm.
“Kate? Aren’t you up yet? It’s 7:00 and you haven’t showered!”
Kate gasped, leaped out of bed and ran to the bathroom.
“I’m up, I’m up!”
She grabbed a towel and hopped in the shower, enjoying the steam on her face.
“KATE! Get out of the shower! You need breakfast and you only have fifteen minutes! It’s the first day of school, and you can’t be late! ”
“Coming, hang on just a sec’, I just gotta…”
She wrapped a towel around herself and one around her hair.
“KATE! Are you dressed yet? Get a move on or you’ll have to walk! I’m leaving in ten minutes!”
Kate scrambled into her room and pulled on a pale blue Aeropostale shirt, jeans, and flipflops with blue beads on the straps. She yanked her hair into a low ponytail and a sparkly blue headband. She grabbed her blue and pink messenger bag, threw in her binders and a yellow folder, and rushed downstairs.
Okay, mom, she thought, where’s breakfast?
The kitchen was a wreak. Bowls littered the table and counter, dirty spoons, trays and a mixer filled the sink, and her mom stood in the center, beaming.
“Hey sweetie, guess what? I tried a new recipe for waffles, so dig in!”
Kate sat down at the only available clear space and looked at the waffles, as her mom chattered on about the great new color she painted the door.
They were dark brown, burned around the edges, and giving off an odor that wasn’t too pleasant. Kate steeled herself, slathered on maple syrup, and took a cautious bite. She barely stopped herself from gagging.
“Yeah, uh, great, Mom, but, you know, I should go, I’m gonna be late, so…”
Her mom looked so crestfallen that Kate felt guilty.
“Tell you what, mom, why don’t I wrap them up and eat them on the way to school, alright?”
Her mom nodded and wrapped the waffles in Saran wrap. She handed them to Kay along with her lunch bag, keys and a stray paper.
“Oh, and sweetie?” called her mom as Kate rushed to the front door, “the front door is still wet, so take the back way so you don’t get wet paint on your shirt.”
Kate reversed her step and ran back through the kitchen and to the cheery, but unused, yellow door. She put her shoulder to it and shoved. It popped open in a cloud of dust. She stumbled into the sun, and gazed at the beautiful view of the Vermont countryside. The green trees gleamed in the sun and the brook sparkled as Kate took a step forward.
Kate felt something slide under her feet as the porch gave way to stairs which flew up at her and struck her as the ground slid toward her…”
“Shoot.” Said Kate in a small voice, her big eyes tearing up as she felt the long tear in her jeans, the beads flying off her sandals, and the hot, red wetness at her knee, cheek and toe.
“Kate, what happened, I…” her mother broke off at the sight of Kate on the ground, cheeks wet with red blood and tears, her broken sandals and ripped jeans, and the blood dripping from a gash in her knee, a scrape on her cheek, and covering her entire toe, “Oh! My word!”
Her hand flew to her mouth.
“Kate Oh no! Your knee! Your face! Your…Toe?!”
She scrambled down the stairs and pulled Kate to her feet, helping her to a kitchen chair.
Her mother pulled off Kate’s sandals, rolled up her jeans, and cleaned her various injuries.
The cut on her face wasn’t bad, just bleeding, and it stopped promptly as her mother gently applied a liquid that burned and made Kate wince, her eyes spilling over again.
“Shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoo…OW!”
Her mother quickly applied the disinfectant to Kay’s knee and slapped on a blue bandage.
“Oh, mom, stop, oh please don’t do my toe, please, ow!”
Her mom dunked the toe into a basin of soapy water. Kay hollered at the top of her lungs,
“Shhhhhh, shhhhhh, shhh,” said her mother, “It’s not really that bad, is it?”
“YES IT IS!” screamed Kate.
Someone knocked on the door. Kate’s mother jumped, and splashed all the soapy water over Kate’s foot. Kate shrieked, and the persistent knocking on the door faltered.
“Hello!” called Kate’s mother, “Just a moment!”
“Kate,” she said in a low voice, “put a bandage on your toe. There’s a big cut, but it’ll heal and it won’t hurt. Much. I’ve got to go to the door.”
She stood up, grabbing a dishtowel from the counter, and, wiping her hands, rushed to the mahogany front door.
Kate, wincing as she bandaged her toe, heard the front door open and a man’s voice say,
“Hello. Mrs. Brooks, I presume?”
Her mother, sounding a bit flustered, answered,
“Yes, I am. May I ask who you are?”
The man replied,
“Mr. Roderick. L. Troughtman, at your service. I presume you have heard of me before?”
Her mother made an odd choking noise.
“Um,” she said, “Aren’t you the…health inspector?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Troughtman smoothly, “And I’m here about your house.”
Kate heard her mother gasp.
“Wha-what’s wrong with it? It’s a lovely house.”
The health inspector coughed.
“Well,” he muttered, his voice oily as a Hummer, “You see, we’ve just uncovered some old records, and it seems that several kids have disappeared in this house, and since you’re new, I thought I’d let you know. Also, the back steps…”
He rambled on. Kate rolled her eyes and looked at her watch. Then she screamed.
“MOM! It’s 8:00! Homeroom is at 8:10! We gotta go NOW!”
She tore around the corner, mindless of her bloody toe. She threw on a pair of worn white sneakers, not bothering to tie the laces, and skidded up to her mom.
“Kate, not in those jeans!” her mother said, exasperated.
“Kate, stop yelling! We’ll go when I’m ready…”
Then she glanced over at her daughter and shrieked. Kate was flushed. Her eyed were bright and wet, and her leg was bleeding from a new wound.
“Kate? Kate?” Her mother was kneeling over her. Kate realized she was on the ground, and that her leg hurt quite a lot.
“I think I’ll just go,” said the health inspector nervously, as he turned to leave.
“No!” cried Kate’s mother, “Call an ambulance! Kate, dear, what happened? Can you tell me what bit you?”
Kate’s vision was hazy. Her mother was swirling and covered in mist. She heard her own slurred voice say, “cat” and then she slipped away.