Chapter Thirteen

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AN: Wolf spider bites are unpleasant but harmless. They hurt, though-my aunt (accounting for her being a bit of a wuss) had a miserable go of it. I don't much like them, personally-they're large and fast. And the end of this chapter...oh, boy.

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He was out of the house at four in the morning. Safer that way-he wouldn't have to deal with questions.

It was still raining and part of the old porch had finally given way. Water had collected down there and he could see a drowned rat bobbing gently up and down.

Nice. Very nice.

He stepped over the hole, ignoring Scarecrow's comments about the hilarious possibility of him falling through and landing on the rat.

There were more rats inside-he could hear them scurrying away from him. Great. Hopefully this wasn't brought on by a rat bite...

God, why did it always feel like someone was watching him?

Because Kitty's ghost is totally staring at you.

Shut up, Scarecrow.

You know it is! It's probably playing 'I'm not touching you'.

No, it isn't.

Haha! It's probably standing RIGHT BEHIND YOU going, "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!"

Just because you have the maturity of a six year-old doesn't mean that the non-existent ghost does.

He went upstairs, hoping the staircase wouldn't finally give out. It didn't and before he was really ready, he found himself in the attic.

It was hot and stuffy up here. A black widow had made a home on the window, though, so he'd just have to suffer.

Now, just what had she gotten into up here?

Elias had mentioned the trunk. He'd start with that.

He pushed it open and felt a sudden pain in his finger.

Oh, boy.

Told ya you should've worn gloves.

No. No, it was all right-he'd disturbed a wolf spider and gotten bit.

It scurried off and he breathed a sigh of relief that it hadn't been a black widow.

That scrape had been fairly good-sized. Accounting for her clumsiness-let her near a stepladder and she'd fall in five minutes-whatever had caused it had to be at least visible. No hidden needles or anything.

He eyed the wolf spider, which had retreated to the far end of the lid. Was there anything in here...ah. A jar.

He swooped at it with the jar, knocked it in, and set it upside-down on the floor. There. One less thing to worry about.

Now, what could she have...?

Uh, Jonny?

Not now.

Yeah, now.

What.

Somebody else is here.

You know, he almost hoped it was Batman.

He froze, listening for something, and heard nothing at all.

You're imagining things.

Am not!

He tuned him out-if it turned out to be nosy kids, they wouldn't be leaving. He'd just stack the remains quietly in the cellar and get on with things.

Not even a little fun?

I am busy. No.

The wolf spider was pissed-it was moving quickly back and forth in its glass prison, sometimes making little lunges at the sides of the jar. Served it right, bity little monster.

A hunk of wood jutted out from the side. He'd seen it initially and dismissed it as age breaking the trunk, but maybe not.

It was the best guess he had, and he was not lugging this dusty old thing downstairs and back home.

He wrapped his hand in the remnants of a dress and snapped off the piece of wood. There. He'd just take it back home, run some tests...

I'm telling you, somebody's here.

Fine. We'll look. I got what I was looking for anyway.

He released the spider and started downstairs. He'd made it to the third floor-he'd always hated this floor, there was a shrine to Granny's dead brother on it-when he finally heard what Scarecrow had been fussing about.

Told you so.

You did.

The noise was coming from the staircase and he backed into an open room and waited. Three...two...one...

"Kitty?"

What the hell was she doing? Did she have a death wish?

"What are you doing in here?"

"Long story...why are you up? This place is a health hazard, you shouldn't be here."

She shook her head slowly.

"I don't remember."

There was a BOOM! of thunder and they both jumped.

"Come on, let's go home, get you dried off." He took her hand. "Sleepwalking?"

"I don't know."

They were halfway down the stairs when she stopped and pulled on his arm.

"Jonathan?"

"What."

"Who's that?"

Not again...

"It's nobody." He turned around, intending to just pick her up, and stopped cold.

Granny was standing at the top of the staircase.

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