Oh, those stairs…
Lark didn’t wanna go. She really didn’t wanna go. She said there were too many stairs, and they were too hard for small dollies (even though we’re kind of bigger dollies). Small-ish dollies, then. She sat down at the bottom an’ told me I outta go on without her.
But we’d been through the whole house together. Didn’t feel right skippin’ it, didn’t feel right leavin’ her behind. She just hadda come. I begged her please, pretty please. I’d get Bean to carry us up. I just really wanted to finish the adventure together.
At least she got up. I could see her thinkin’ some bout what she was gonna do. She kept lookin’ sideways up the stairs. Then she finally walked over, gave a big sigh, an’ said we outta go. Yay, Lark!
Goin’ up inna third floor was strange. It was like alla sound went dead, like your ears were numb, an’ nothin’ inna world could make sound again. There was a dull weight pressing in an’ wrapping round your whole person. An’ it was bright, so bright! Once we were alla way up, I did hear something: a bug, buzzin’ an’ smackin’ inna window over an’ over. Bzzz… Whap. Bzzz… Whap. Bzzzz…. Whap.
We sat onna rail an’ looked round the room first.
It was a big room, with windows on all sortsa sides, an’ doors leadin’ inna other places. There was a big table inna middle, too. There was a big table off to the side, too. An’ some lost bug, bzzz…whappin’ like it was gonna get him out somehow.
The room was makin’ sounds. The floor creaked when you walked, but it creaked too when nobody was walkin’ on it. There were thumps against the wall. I didn’t think much bout it. I mean, it’s an old house. We were at the top of the very old house. Old places talk to themselves a bit. All the shimmyin’ an’ shakin’ from down low travels up their ribs an’ out their mouth, sorta like it does with people too, talkin’ with mouths.
We talked bout what we wanna do: look out some windows, check out the closed doors, peek round for lost things? The more I talked bout goin’ an’ doin’ an’ movin’, though, the more unsure Lark looked, kinda like she didn’t wanna be there at all. I figured maybe she just needed to get movin’ some, an’ she’d start feelin’ more comfortable. So I got her over to a big window.
It was pretty outside. We started talkin’ bout flowers an’ spring an’ birds. I said maybe we outta go check what the other windows showed. We’d just gotten over when there was more bzzzz…whappin’, an’ this giant bee-like bug (but no fuzz! A mean, angry, bee-like bug with no soft cuddly bee fuzz!) landed right at Lark’s feet. She kinda sorta screamed. It took off right quick an’ smacked the window again. Then there was a moaning creaking sound from behind one door. Lark was done. She said we hadda go. Now. There were ghosts, an’ she didn’t wanna deal with no ghost.
I tried to reason with her. It was pipes. The house was old. The bee-bug didn’t hurt us none. Grammy Happy’s ghost friend, Alma, went with Grammy Happy. She got invited to leave her house an’ travel west to a new one. But Lark wouldn’t even look at me.
I thought bout all those closed doors. I wanted to look in ’em, just to see what there was. But Lark was well an’ truly sure there was a ghost inna house. Inna room. Waiting to pounce an’ do…whatever ghosty things ghosts wanna do. It wasn’t fair to make her look behind alla doors, or even wait while I looked behind ’em. I’d seen enough.
C’mon. Let’s go.
She was better once we were outside. There was a li’l drizzle, so we got smile-damp, but that was ok. Birds were singin’ loud inna trees, an’ the ground was covered over in pretty white flowers. Wren agreed we could make one more stop if it was outside, so we went to visit an old friend.
Grammy Happy hadda old apple tree. Maybe crab apple. Dunno that there’s much difference. It was a nice old tree, an’ it’d make small apples every fall, an’ it made Grammy Happy happy. Made lotsa squirrels happy too, an’ I know there were some cats that slept ‘neath its branches, dreamin’ of mice an’ milk. Sometimes, inna rain, bunnies would go hide in its hollow-out trunk, keepin’ dry. But the apple tree got old an’ tired, an’ it needed a rest. So now there’s just a stump. But I like to think apple-tree’s spirit is still there, waitin’ for a good seed to help it come back so it can make apples again.
After the apple stump, Lark said we outta go smell some flowers too, cuz they were so very pretty. We stayed there, layin’ inna flowers, til the sky got dark with clouds, an’ we hadda run (cuz we weren’t gonna be smile damp no more. We’d be flat-out soaked!)
It was good, seein’ Grammy’s house again. I hope it makes other people happy too. It’s a good house, fulla stories an’ dreams an’ mysteries.