Cobwebs

Cobwebs by Karen Romano Young Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Cobwebs by Karen Romano Young Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Romano Young
Tags: Fantasy, Young Adult
anybody else. Nancy felt they were all avoiding looking at
her.
    “Well, I’m going,” Granny announced.
    “Just this one more time,” said Grandpa darkly.
    Granny Tina took a deep breath. “Rachel,” she said, “get me my canes, will you, dear?”
    Rachel unhooked the canes from the kitchen towel rack. She and Nancy helped Granny descend the curving stairs to the stoop, one on each side of her.
    Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, with the baby Jesus on his shoulder, smiled from his niche beside the front door. He belonged to the landlady, who lived on the parlor floor. They were not Catholics, although Grandpa Joke used to be, thesame way Granny Tina used to be Scots Presbyterian, back in West Virginia. Now they were none of them anything, really, unless you counted Arachnids, which was more of an ethnic thing. Nonetheless they each had their ritual sayings upon leaving the house.
    “Saints preserve us,” said Grandpa.
    “Amen,” said Nancy.
    Granny said a West Virginia “Forevermore.”
    Rachel, who wasn’t leaving, said nothing. She stood in her red socks, rubbing Saint Christopher’s toe with one finger as she saw them off.

11
    I n the car Grandpa Joke broke the silence to say, “Let’s get ice cream when this is over. Häagen-Dazs.”
    Nancy knew it was a peace offering.
    “I second the motion,” said Granny.
    “Chocolate chocolate chip,” Nancy said.
    “Make it two of ’em,” Grandpa Joke said.
    “Rum raisin for me,” said Granny.
    “You’re not telling me everything,” said Nancy. “Why not?”
    “Not now, Nancy,” said Grandpa Joke. The tilt of Granny’s head revealed nothing. Well, Nancy would soon get her alone.
    Grandpa Joke parked in front of the house on the curved street, slammed the car door, climbed the steps, and buzzed. A small light flickered on above the front door. He disappeared inside.
    Nancy knew that her role was to wait for a sign from him to bring Granny up to the door, but she didn’t want to. Impulsively she leaned forward from the back seat and hugged her grandmother, her cheek against Granny’s leathery-soft one.
    “Too bad I can’t drive yet,” she said. “Then I could drive us to Häagen-Dazs while we wait for Grandpa.”
    Had Granny been asleep up there in the front seat? She startled as though she had been, and her eyes darted wildly, taking in the trees and the house, dark except for one inside light. Nancy sensed Granny’s nervousness, so bright around her it almost glittered.
    “But he needs me inside, don’t you realize that, girl?”
    “Why?”
    Granny sat straight up, staring into Nancy’s eyes. “Nothing!” she snapped.
    It wasn’t even the right word, Nancy thought. Granny had definitely lost the thread. “Don’t worry,” she told her grandmother. She sat back, not wantingGranny to notice how her heart was thumping, glad for the dark that hid her face. Glad for her knitting, too, and for her nonesuch pattern that didn’t depend on light, because it didn’t matter which color she chose, or because whatever color she chose was right. At the moment she didn’t care which of those ideas was true; she was just glad to have work to do with her hands.
    She hoped Granny wouldn’t start telling her when-I-was-young experiences; lately whenever that happened Nancy felt like running, itchy and antsy and dark. It disturbed her to feel so cranky and closed in; she used to like hearing that stuff.
Tell me what I need to know!
she thought at her grandmother.
    “Where’s Giacomo, Nancy love?” Was she awake, or sleep talking, or what?
    “He only just went in, Granny. He’ll be a little while.”
    Once this winter when Nancy had spent the night, Annette had sleep talked about the lunch table at school. “He only likes Twinkies!” she said. “Yodels taste stale.” Nancy had made fun of her for the next week, asking her who the Twinkie liker was. This, now, Granny saying strange things, reminded her of Annette’s sleep

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