Chapter 22: She's in The Kitchen

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My heart sank. I was in trouble now. The buzzing became more intense.

What was I thinking? I should have known that Mum wouldn't help me, but I honestly thought she would. Especially after all the times we'd up and moved, sometimes in the middle of the night. I'd often wondered if she was running from something.

I was frozen to the spot, feeling like I was standing in an oven.

"You gonna answer the door?"


I couldn't help jumping the second time it chimed.

I was stuck. Should I just hand myself in? Should I try to run?

Mum strode across the kitchen, turning the light on and heading for the front door.

The light suddenly seemed too bright and I squinted, waiting for my eyes to adjust. Johnny seemed frozen too. He was looking at me too intently.

It was no use. There was nothing I could do. I hung my head.

"Hi, Missus Johnson—"

"Ms Johnson."

"Oh, I'm sorry. Ms Johnson. I'm Tracy. I'm from Waratah House—"

"She's in the kitchen."

Don't beat around the bush, Mum. Jeez.

"Oh, okay. Can I come in?"

"Yeah. Kitchen's through there."

Tracy appeared in the doorway and my heart sank further. "Hi, Maddie. How are you?"

I opened my mouth to give the usual 'not bad' response that comes automatically when someone asks that question, but I wasn't fine. Far from it. "I... I don't know how I am. Upset, I guess. I don't know."

She smiled. "It's okay to feel that way. It's all a bit much to take in and takes a lot of getting used to."

Mum leaned on the kitchen bench. "This wasn't my idea. She just turned up here unannounced. I don't want any trouble."

"No one's in trouble, Missus— Ms Johnson. It's okay. I just want to talk to Maddie."

Mum nodded and looked out the window into the darkness as if she was disgusted with the whole thing.

How could I even begin to explain anything to her? Without me mentioning the problems with the ghosts, especially the irate one in my room, my excuses for why I ran away were pretty lame.

I told her I missed Mum, which was true. I told her about Justina — surely she'd noticed how hostile she was towards me — and that I was just homesick and needed a break from it all.

I felt trapped there, even though there were no locks on the doors, but I didn't tell her that part.

"And all the locals were staring at me," I added. "They knew where I was from. They all think I'm crazy."

The buzzing seemed to decrease after I'd gotten all of that off my chest

Johnny stepped closer. "I think you should go back with her."

My eyes flicked to him automatically and I quickly dragged them back to Tracy. Then he just disappeared.

Tracy smiled. "It's normal to feel the way you do. It's often overwhelming for new residents. You'll get used to it in time."

"But I don't want to get used to it. I just want to be home. I just want my life back."

"It's too late for that now," Mum said. "Your life will never be the same again and you just have to deal with it and move on."

"Gee, thanks, Mum," I muttered.

"It's the truth."

Why was she being so horrible? I couldn't understand it. I turned away from her and tried to think more clearly as the buzzing increased again.

Tracy said she would talk to Justina.

I whirled around. "No! That will make it worse. She'll be angry with me for telling you."

"We can deal with it without her finding out that you've spoken to me. I've seen enough of her behaviour towards you to warrant another warning."

Another warning?

I opened my mouth, but Tracy's phone rang. She put up a finger and answered the call.

"Yes. She's at her home. Yes. She's a bit upset, but calm enough. No. Yes. I will."

She frowned and turned away from us, walking to the other side of the room.

I couldn't really hear what was being said on the other end, but I was pretty sure it was Ms Grant I could hear.

"Yes. Will do. No." She ran a hand over her hair and down the length of her ponytail. "I don't think that's necessary. No." A long pause. "No. But... Surely... Okay." She paced up and down a few times. "Okay. Yes. Bye."

I was getting a weird vibe from her. Something had changed.

She turned to me, eyebrows raised. "That was Ms Grant." She sighed. "I'm to bring you back immediately. No more questions. No more discussion. No excuses."


I'd been thinking that I should go back with her till she said that. Maybe it was because the order came from Ms Grant. Maybe it was because there was no longer any negotiating. No more choice for me. It was do it or else.

The heat I'd been feeling seemed to consume me. I felt like I was burning up and the buzzing was stronger than ever.

I felt cornered. All I wanted to do was run out the back door and keep running.

Tracy saw it in my eyes. She knew what I was thinking. "Maddelyn. Don't do anything you'll regret later."

I can't do this. I'm not going with you.

I shifted my weight, trying to work out the best way to get to the door before her. Johnny picked that moment to appear in front of me and the way it made me jump seemed to spur my body into action before I was ready and I dodged to the side and headed for the door, a cold feeling passing along my arm.

As I ran, I realized that my arm had passed through Johnny, which wasn't usually possible, and before I had gotten five paces, something slammed into me and knocked me to the floor.

I was so busy freaking out about my arm passing through Johnny's body that it took a moment to realise that Tracy had crash-tackled me to the floor like a football player.

I was dazed for a couple of seconds, then tried to get free of her strong grip. I flailed around on the floor, but it was no use.

"No! Let me go!"

"Maddelyn! You're making this harder for yourself. Just let me take you back."


"If you don't come with me, we'll have to involve the police."


This had gotten out of hand fast, and it had to stop. I relaxed and as soon as she loosened her grip, I kicked my legs and managed to shove her to the side and scrambled to my feet.

As I took my first step toward freedom, she grabbed my ankle. I twisted around and threw my hands out toward her, as if that could somehow stop her, and suddenly there was a flash of light and I was thrown backwards. I hit my head on something and was dazed for a few moments.

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Author's Note: I hope you're enjoying Maddie's story. Let me know what you think in the comments. I read every one.

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