“I told you that there was. I said, there is a human child. A nasty, eggsy eating human child. I told you that we should not come. I told you that this was a horrible idea.”
“It is not a bad idea,” said First Voice.
“It is a horrible, rotten, nasty idea,” said Second Voice. “And now what are we supposed to do? Walk out there in the open and just say hello?”
“She is asleep. There’s no need to be a Grumgobber about things.”
Mavis was wondering if she actually was asleep. Maybe she was. It was an awfully weird dream though. And what if she was awake after all? What if there was someone in the room with her?
One of her eyes popped open. Instantly she was aware of how bright it was in the room, or how bright it seemed, after she had had her eyes shut for so long.
There was no one there. No one standing beside the bed, no one in the dim recess over by the toy cabinet. The door to the hall was closed, just like it had been all morning.
After a while her eye hurt from being open and she closed it. Maybe there was someone in the hallway. Maybe she had been dreaming.
The world went back to its previous miserable stillness.
“This is beyond a horrible, rotten, nasty idea. This is an idea worthy of the Strumblug.”
“That is very unkind,” said First Voice.
“It is the truth,” said Second Voice, getting higher and whinier. “We are going to die and it is going to be your fault.”
“We are not going to die. We are going to walk over there. Under the bed, see? She’ll never know we are there.”
“But what about the…”
“Do not say it,” said First Voice. “Do not say it.”
There was a tinkling sound, as something fell to the floor. It jolted Mavis more widely awake than she had been in a long time.
She sat up.
Instantly, she regretted it. The room dipped to the left and then went even deeper to the right, as if she had just been over the largest of ocean swells. There was too much pain for her to see anything, anyway.
But she did hear a squeak. A tiny, close by squeak as if someone had started to scream and someone else had stopped them.
“Oh, great! You’re up!” cried Roger, bursting in the door.
“I’m not up. I’m listening.”
Rodger slowly opened and closed his mouth. “Wow. It’s happened. I’ll pick up your certificate from the Loony Bin.”
“Knock it off, Rodger. I’m serious. Is there someone visiting?”
“Nope, it’s just us. Grandma is in town and Grandpa is having his siesta.”
“What about Linda?”
“All she’s doing is watching youtube and texting people.”
“I don’t think it was her…”
“She’s on the porch,” said Rodger. “There’s no way that you could hear her.”
Mavis sat quietly, letting her head spin slowly like a globe whose base was sitting on a tilted desk.
“Will you do something with me?” asked Roger. “Please? I’m soooo bored.”
“I can’t, Rodge. You know I can’t.”
“You could try. Couldn’t you at least try?”
“Why don’t you read something?” asked Mavis, in desperation.
“I’ve read everything on the kids shelf.”
Mavis gave him a look. “Since when have you stuck to the kids shelf?”
“Since Grandma took my book and told me that the Odyssey wasn’t appropriate for a ten year old.”
“I read it when I was ten.”
“Tell Grandma that. I think she thinks that Mom would be mad.”
“Mom won’t care,” said Mavis. “She’d say that you were expanding your mental horizons.”
“You should tell that to Grandma, too.”
Mavis rested her head on her hand. “Rodge.”
“Of course I’m not ok.” Her voice was very low. “Would you please find something to do, Rodge, so I can sleep?”
Roger nodded. “Sorry Maves. I’ll be good. I promise.”
Mavis curled up in a little ball and listened to Roger’s retreating footsteps. There were tears behind her eyes, but she wouldn’t let them out because it would hurt to cry. “I wish that there were voices,” she whispered. “I wish they would help me do something. I wish I could go on an adventure.”