Mum and Dad say Granny is buried in a cemetery next to Grandpa and Aunty Susan. They say she died in her sleep on Sunday night, and was buried on Wednesday morning. They say she died of old age. They’re wrong. I don’t want to say they’re lying, but they’re wrong. Granny told me this on the Friday evening after she was buried, when I found her in the attic.
Dad had been in the garden, on the phone to his boss. Mum was downstairs, fetching a torch. But I didn’t need a torch. The light from the upstairs corridor lit up her face. She was smiling. She put a finger to her lips and told me to shush. Mum called for me from below, asking for help finding a torch. When I looked back up, Granny was gone.
Mum and Dad say Granny was very confused at the end. Apparently, she had dementia, and that meant she was always confused. But Granny didn’t seem confused when she taught me where to step, and where not to step, in the attic. She knew I had done well in my spelling test on Thursday, even though I hadn’t even told Mum and Dad. She wasn’t confused when she explained that, no, she wasn’t a ghost or a zombie or a vampire.
She said she was hiding in the attic because there were bad people after her. I had to keep it a secret because Mum and Dad might be involved. So I didn’t tell anyone. Not even Sally at school, and I tell her everything.
I’ve seen Granny three times now. I’ve brought her cookies, leftover supper, and some smelly brown drink from Dad’s secret cupboard in the kitchen. She liked that drink a lot.
Sometimes she calls me Rachel (my Mum’s name). She tells me off for not doing the dishes or coming home late. When I tell her that I’m not Rachel, I’m her granddaughter, she smiles, and says she was joking. I don’t find it funny, but I don’t tell her that. Mum says it’s always better to laugh than to be mean.
We talk about all the adventures we’ll go on when the bad people give up and leave her alone. I told her I want to go to London, to see the Queen in Buckingham Palace. She tells me she wants to visit Dorset, to see the house she grew up in. Maybe one day we’ll have time to do both, she says. I doubt it now, though.
I haven’t seen Granny in a week. On my third visit, I stepped in the wrong spot in the attic. It made a loud creaking sound. I heard Mum and Dad running from their bedroom, to the attic ladder. They climbed up and they both said my name in their angry voice. I tried to hide Granny, but she wouldn’t move. So I told them everything: about Granny in the attic, the bad people, the brown drink (Dad looked very angry at that bit).
When I finished, Mum made a sad face and Dad sighed. They told me Granny wasn’t in the attic, that she was no longer with us. They said sometimes people miss someone so much, and wish so hard to see them again, that they think they can see them, even if they’re not there.
I asked them if they could see her. They said no, I was by myself in the attic. Me, some cookies, cold chips, and Dad’s drink.
They took me for an ice cream the next day. I pretended I believed them. If they are with the bad people, I still have to pretend. But I know Granny is still up there, in the attic. One day, we’ll go to Buckingham Palace and Dorset. I just wish she stopped hiding.