Chapter 18: Mum, it Wasn't Her Fault

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Justina narrowed her eyes. "Just shut up! You don't know anything."

She turned and stormed out the back door, slamming it hard.

Living here was gonna suck big time.

I took some deep breaths and tried to relax. I found some bread, butter, and Vegemite and made myself a sandwich.

"Whoa, that's a lot of Vegemite."

I turned to find Kaydan behind me and relief flooded through my veins. "It's nice like this."

"How can you stand it so thick? It's like a black blanket on the bread."

"Easy. You should try it sometime."

"No thanks. Too salty. I like it spread nice and thin. I like to be able to taste the bread and butter too."

I chuckled, which surprised me considering how crappy I'd been feeling. I liked Kaydan even more.

We talked about nothing much for a while as he made himself a Vegemite sandwich with such a small amount of it smeared across the bread that I told him he should just have bread and butter. It was relaxed and easy. He seemed like a nice guy.

The ghost in my room kept entering my thoughts. What had happened to her? How long ago did she die? Why was she still here? I thought that maybe Kaydan would be the right person to ask, so I just came straight to the point.

"You must get a lot of people coming and going in this place."

"Yeah. Some. Why?"

"I was wondering who was in my room before me."

His face went pale. "Why do you ask?"

Oops. I hadn't thought of a sane reason for wanting to know. "Uh, I just feel a sort of negative energy sometimes."

That was lame.

His eyebrows rose. "Oh, are you into all that feng shui stuff?"

"Um, kinda."

It was a good enough reason and I probably wouldn't have thought of it myself. I thanked him silently.

He ran a hand through his hair. "I don't know if I should tell you."

"Why not?"

"You might not want to stay in there."

I crossed my arms and stuck out a hip. "Try me."

"Okay." He scratched his chin and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "The girl that was in there died recently — but don't worry, she didn't die in the room."

His eyes glistened with unshed tears and I felt a pang in my chest.

Me and my big mouth. I hadn't thought this through. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."

Why don't I just twist the knife some more? Why don't I think before I speak?

"It's okay." He looked out the window. "Her name was Kassandra. She was a friend of ours."

"I'm so sorry," I didn't know what else to say.

"She was bitten by a Funnelweb spider and didn't get to a hospital in time."

"Oh... That's terrible."

She'd told me about the bite, but hearing it from Kaydan felt more intense. More real. Funnelwebs were kinda everywhere, but it was rare for someone to be bitten and even rarer for them to die. There was antivenom available that could be administered pretty quickly.

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