Taïga is out walking Tramp, when suddenly the dog starts whining. He pulls so hard on the leash Taïga has to let go.
‘Hey, Tramp! Come back!’ Darn dog… what happened to him? Then she is seeing her again. The pretty pale girl from the party. ‘Hi!’ Taïga starts to walk towards her…
The girl takes off, running through the woods.
‘Hey!’ Taïga sets after her. I won’t let her disappear again!
Regularly she checks if Taïga’s still following her.
The pale girl runs towards a big white house.
Hesitantly Taïga stops when she recognizes the Salas’ home. Mitchell has told her there was a terrible accident a few years ago, and nobody’s ever seen the grieving couple since…
And suddenly everything becomes clear. It’s obvious! … She wants me to help her! ‘Wait, Sandra!’
The girl waits for her on the porch.
Suddenly Sandra vanishes, she becomes transparent and glides through the door. Taïga cannot do the same, so she just rings the bell.
A tall pale man opens. At first Taïga thinks he’s a ghost too, but then he speaks.
‘Eh… good evening… My name’s Taïga Grey and I’m here about Sandra.’
He stares at her, then he shuts the door in her face.
Damned kids… can’t leave us alone… ever since the accident…
‘Wait!’ Mrs. Salas is running down the aisle.
‘Please… don’t leave yet.’
‘I would like to hear what you have to say about my daughter…’ Taïga can see Sandra waiting for them.
Taïga follows the strange pale woman up the stairs and into the house.
‘Please have a seat.’
Taïga hesitates. ‘Well, your daughter, Sandra, is sitting in the sofa…’
Mrs. Salas shines up. ‘Where exactly?’
‘Ehhh… right there.’ Taïga points with her finger.
Mrs. Salas sits down “next to” Sandra.
‘Now, will you please tell me why you’re here?’
Taïga tells her everything, from the party until tonight.
Suddenly the door bursts open, and Mr. Salas strides purposefully into the living room.
‘I think I told you to leave?’
‘Calm down, Jay. This little girl has seen Sandra!’
‘And you believe her?’
‘As a matter of fact… I do! Tell him, Taïga… go on tell him she’s here!’
Taïga is a littled scared of Mr. Salas, but she tells him that his daughter stands right behind him. She holds back the fact that Sandra seems to be upset.
‘Behind me? Oh my… I just walked on her toe!’
‘Stop it, Jay! It’s not funny! Sit down and listen to her!’
Taïga can see how Sandra changes into that pale ethereal girl once more, how she tries to speak to her mother… Taïga can only figure out one word that makes no sense to her… “mumsy”.
Astonishingly Mr. Salas takes a seat, and Sandra seems to have calmed down too, as she sits down again next to her mother. Taïga tells her story once again.
‘… But my grandmother probably can… And I think it takes her a lot of energy to be visible to me. Right now she spoke to you Mrs. Salas.’
‘What did she say?’
‘It makes no sense…’
‘See? I told you so!’ Mr. Salas cocks his eyebrows in his wife’s direction.
Taïga murmurs. ‘I could only hear “mumsy”…’
Sandra’s mother and father looks at each other… Mr. Salas takes a deep breath.
‘Could you tell us what she’s wearing?’
Taïga takes a quick glance at Sandra who smiles encouragingly. ‘I don’t know about the color, but she’s got a skirt with butterflies…’
Mrs. Salas starts crying, but Mr. Salas smiles. ‘OK… Go ahead… Call your Grandmother…’
‘… at the Salas… I need you to come and help us, Granny. Do you remember when I told you about that little girl I once saw in our backyard? Well, it seems it’s Sandra Salas!… I know she’s…’ She lowers her voice, ‘… dead… Can you help us?… Please, Granny…’
Of course Granny comes to help Taïga. Poor souls… Let’s hope I can do something for them…
Taïga is a little disappointed. Sandra is right there, in front of Granny, but Granny can’t see her!
‘Can you show me something that belonged to her?’
‘Let’s go upstairs, her room is exactly as it was at the time of the… accident…’
Granny walks around the room, picking up things, putting them back again. Suddenly she recoils.
‘I can feel something! A presence… and I think it’s bound to the cuddly unicorn on this dresser…’
Taïga can see Sandra standing right there, apparently Granny can’t…
Granny looks expectantly at the parents. ‘I need to use the unicorn. May I?’ She doesn’t wait for an answer, just puts it under her arm and walks out of the room, talking over her shoulder. ‘You better wait in the living room, both of you. I need to maneuver somewhere spacious! Come Taïga!’
‘We must have faith in them, Jay.’
‘I know, Tatiana, I know. Let’s do as Mrs. Grey told us, wait in the living room.’
Sandra’s parents are waiting… holding hands, staring out the window with unseeing eyes, each lost in their own thoughts…
Granny puts the unicorn down in the middle of the large hall.
‘Is she here?’ Taïga imitates Granny’s stance when she answers.
‘No… but maybe she hides in the unicorn?’
‘You’re absolutely right. Are you ready?’ They smile and Taïga retreats a few steps.
Granny takes out her “new” wand and tentatively sweeps it through the air… Seems good enough…
Taïga doesn’t leave the unicorn with her eyes.
‘Simsalarooost…. Simsalabooost… bring forth the ghost!’
‘Simsaladied… simsalacried… bring forth the dead child!’
And there she is… still a little pale, but living! Taïga claps her hands.
Suddenly Taïga pales and slinks behind her grandmother.
‘He’s here…’ she whispers…
But at the same time as Taïga murmurs ‘Death…’, Granny feels his presence.
‘Run girls! Run! I’ll take care of this!’
Taïga grabs Sandra’s hand and they run for shelter with Sandra’s parents.
The two girls erupt into the living room.
Jay hugs his daughter hard, and kisses her hair.
‘Go away… all evil spirits, ahem… All evil spirits, leave this…’
Granny still can’t see the Grim Reaper, but she can feel him… and somehow she can hear him too.
‘There… is… a… price… to… pay…’
‘I … will … take … what … is … mine!’
Granny recoils from the gravelly voice and the sudden cold that is pushing towards her. She feels her eyes roll backwards and she’s falling… falling…
‘My darling, darling…’ Tatiana’s voice is broken by emotions. She hides her tears in her daughter’s hair… Taïga smiles at them, for a moment she’s forgotten about what’s taking place in the hall.
A loud thump makes Taïga leave the touching reunion scene. Granny is lying lifeless on the floor… the Grim Reaper is nowhere to be seen…
But Granny just fainted, she grunts and opens her eyes. ‘Where am I?’
Taïga hiccups and dries her tears. ‘Oh, Granny, you scared me!’
But suddenly Taïga feels something inside her, like someone squeezing her heart, and a shiver runs down her spine.
‘What is it, Taïga?’
‘I… I don’t know…’
Sandra holds on to her mother, but something is wrong… terribly wrong…
‘What’s happening, Mumsy?’
Mrs. Salas smiles bravely. ‘Don’t worry, darling, we’ll be together now… for eternity…’
‘It’s… time… to… leave…’
Taïga gets on her feet and runs outside. She slides to a stop on the porch. She can hardly believe her eyes!
They are all ghosts! But why?
They disappear into the ground, at the Grim Reapers feet. Hurriedly she runs down the stairs to check where they went.
When she sees the three gravestones something bursts inside her… Granny can’t keep her tears at bay either.
‘I love you, Granny! Please don’t leave me…’ She sobs into the soothing warmth of her grandmother’s embrace…
Together they walk out of the garden…
Part I – End of Chapter 29
You have just finished reading about how The Grey Witches came to Midnight Hollow. If you want to continue reading the Next Chapter…
If you’d like to find out something about where the next Chapters will take Taïga and Granny…
Maybe you’d like to know in advance who they will meet…