’Nancy, please open the door,’ Mariah told her niece.
She had locked herself up in the room for the past two days without food or human contact. It started the day the police came to interrogate her. She had not been herself since then, and Mariah was getting worried. ‘I just want you to talk to me. You need to talk to someone. You can’t keep your sorrow all bottled up. Come on, Nancy, open up and talk to me, please.’
‘Go away, aunty. I don’t want to talk to anyone, just let me be. Don’t you get that?’
‘Do you want to die? That is a good way to die but not in my house. I am going to make you a promise and you know that I don’t make promises all the time. I promise that if you do not open this door in the next three seconds, you are going to hate me for what I will do to you.’
Nancy jerked up from her bed and opened the door. She did not talk to her aunty, just went back to her bed. She sat down and faced her closet.
‘You look like that ghost of Christmas past. What have you done to yourself? You are not taking this in a good way at all.’
‘Maybe it is because I do not know the best way to take the death of my parents. Maybe you can teach me since you still have your parents?’
‘Oh, sweetheart! It is not your fault or anyone else’s.’
‘It is not my fault at all. It is the fault of my parents, but they did not deserve what they got.’
‘Why would you say that it is their fault? I knew my sister and she would not have wished to die by the crumbling of her dream house.’
Nancy did not want to talk about what she felt because for all she knew, it was just a feeling. She was no psychic.
‘Is there something that you are not telling me, Nancy? If there is anything, let me know now. What did you mean when you told those men that they would find a clue on the soil? You can talk to me.’
‘How will I know that you won’t think I am mad? How do I know that you won’t send me to a psychiatric home? I know that what I am thinking and feeling is very crazy, but I don’t want you to look at me as if I’ve lost it.’
Mariah came and held her, but Nancy pulled back. Her heart bled for the little girl. Her brother was adjusting but she was having a very hard time coming to terms with what happened. Mariah knew in her heart that she would do anything to see that nothing happened to Nancy or her brother, but first, she needed Nancy to trust her.
‘I will never do anything to hurt you, Nancy. I hope that you will believe me. I love you. You are all I have of my twin sister. Now, please, will you tell me why you said that the clue is in the soil?’
Nancy took a deep breath and decided to tell her. Maybe her aunt would eventually believe but she doubted it.
‘When we moved into the house, I noticed that the sand at the backyard was unusual. On a closer inspection, I saw that it was very soft, like it could not hold anything without sinking. I called my dad’s attention to it, but he told me that he could not feel anything. I think he did not believe me. He thought I was telling him that so we move back to our former house, but that was not true.’
Maria was getting confused herself. She knew that Nancy was a very intelligent girl but she did not really get what she was trying to say. ‘Honey, I don’t really get you. A part of the house might have soft sand but that is not a reason for the house to sink.’
‘You don’t get it. It was not just soft. It was alive. It was breathing.’
‘Nancy, you are not making any sense. How can the soil be alive? Is that even possible? I can see that you have been watching a lot of horror movies. That kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life. I think you are overreacting.’
‘Aunty Mariah, please do not patronize me. If you do not believe me, just say so. Don’t sugarcoat it. I told you what I felt. I always have this feeling that I have a connection with the earth around me. If you do not believe me, please leave my room.’
Mariah was taken aback. Nancy was downright rude. If she was going to live with her for a long time, it was better that they established some ground rules. She stated the first rule, ‘May I remind you that this is my house and I will not be asked to get out of any room in it. If you don’t like it, deal with it, girl, and do not give me that kind of attitude again. Am I speaking in tongues?’
‘No, aunty, you are not,’ Nancy said in a low tone.
‘Good. And for the record, I do not believe you one bit. I think you have been watching a lot of horror movies and you cannot separate the two anymore. I am trying to imagine why the earth that I am stepping on should be breathing.’
‘That was what I was afraid of. I knew you would not believe me.’
‘Girl, did your mother drop you on your head when she gave birth to you? What is your problem? I am sick of watching you turn into the ghost of your mother. You have to pull yourself together and come and help me in the kitchen.’
‘I am coming, but one day, you will believe me. One day, you will.’
Nancy went into the kitchen to help prepare dinner, and ate with the rest of the family for the first time in so many days.