I helped her mom to slice up some apples. Aunt Dorothy was coming for lunch in an hour and everything had to be perfect. Aunt Dorothy was the fussy type and she liked getting her way. I glanced at her little brother Cal who was stirring a bowl and every so often, out a finger inside and licked it.
“Cal!” I said. “You shouldn’t eat the cake mixture. We won’t have enough then.”
“But it tastes really good!” whined Jack putting another sticky finger into his mouth.
“How about you watch some TV instead?” I said gently, taking the bowl from him.
Call stomped to the living room and turned on the TV. I arranged the sliced apples on a plate along with some grapes.
“Ooh, very nice Mia,” my mom.
“Are you going to bake the cake now?” I asked.
“Yup, but I don’t think we have enough cake mixture,” sighed Mom. It looks like Cal ate a lot, he’s going to get a stomach ache soon!”
“You could add another packet of cake mixture,” I suggested.
“I’ll have to do just that,” said Mom. “Now the food is almost ready, why don’t you set the table?”
I grabbed some cutlery from the drawer and made my way to the table.
I heard a car park in our garage. That must be Dad with Aunt Dorothy! He had gone to fetch her at the train station. There was a knock on the door and Aunt Dorothy stepped in with Dad behind her.
“Well!” she boomed. “Nice to see you, family.”
There was vegetable stew and chocolate cake for lunch. I ate my whole bowlful of stew because I like vegetables and then I moved on to the chocolate cake. Cal had one piece and so did Mom and Dad but Aunt Dorothy ate three whole pieces! Cal wanted another piece but Aunt Dorothy said it was bad for him.
I discovered something really horrifying. Aunt Dorothy wasn’t just staying for lunch. This time, she was staying for two days! Imagine Aunt Dorothy telling me what to eat for two whole days!
After lunch, Mom suggested we play a game. Cal and I wanted to play Twister and Mom and Dad agreed but Aunt Dorothy wanted to play Go Fish. I don’t even know how to play go fish.
Aunt Dorothy went into another room. Then, the telephone rang. Dad answered it and his calm expression turned into a look of horror.
“We need to go!” he said slamming down the receiver.
“Where?” I asked.
“Not you Mia, just your mother and I,” said Dad. Then he turned to Mom. “Someone has robbed the bank!”
“Oh dear, Arnold,” said Mom. “Whose vault?”
“Ours,” said Dad.
Mom and Dad changed in a second and went to the bank immediately leaving us alone with Aunt Dorothy.
“Your aunt will take care of you until we’re back,” said Mom kissing Cal and me on the head, before leaving.
When they had gone, Aunt Dorothy emerged from the room with a smug smile.
It had been five hours since Mom and Dad left. Cal and I were really hungry. Aunt Dorothy didn’t pay any attention to us. She just sat on the sofa watching TV. I went to the fridge to get something to eat when Aunt Dorothy jumped to her feet and slammed the fridge door.
“Um, I just want to get a snack.”
“No snacks!” said Aunt Dorothy.
“But I’m really hungry,” I said. Why was she interested in what I ate?
Aunt Dorothy yanked open the fridge and took out the remaining chocolate cake that Mom had baked and put it on the table. She also took out the tub of Oreo ice cream and scooped out all of it onto the cake. Aunt Dorothy took the soda cans out of the fridge so that the fridge only held vegetables.
Aunt Dorothy also raided the kitchen cupboards. She took out chips, cookies, marshmallows and all the other goodies.
She dumped all the snacks on the cake and I knew she wasn’t going to offer it to us but Cal didn’t think so.
“Wow! Is that for us?” he said excitedly.
Aunt Dorothy snickered and took the cake and the soda cans in front of the TV and started consuming them, throwing the empty soda cans everywhere. What a slob!
Cal checked all the cupboards for any snacks but there wasn’t any. He gave a sob and ran to his bedroom. I felt angry at Aunt Dorothy. How dare she steal all of our food!
I wanted to comfort Cal. I went to my bedroom and pulled at the drawer at my bedside table. It was a small bar of chocolate. I knew it wasn’t much but at least it was something. I gave it to Cal and he sniffed and broke it in half. He put one half into his mouth.
“Fanks Mia,” he said with his mouth full.
Cal offered me the other half and I ate it.
This had gone on long enough. Where were Mom and Dad? I marched over to Aunt Dorothy who was scarfing down a bag of caramelized pretzels.
“Where are Mom and Dad?” I demanded.
“Hmm I don’t know… don’t bother me,” said Aunt Dorothy, not taking her eyes off the TV screen.
Aunt Dorothy was completely useless. I was furious with her and felt like shouting at her but I couldn’t shout at my aunt, could I?
I went to Mom and Dad’s room. The wardrobe was open and clothes were all on the floor. Mom’s clothes. Her wedding gown, her favourite skirt, the rose gown Dad had bought… Some of the clothes were also torn. I had a nasty feeling Aunt Dorothy had tried them on. That would explain the tears in the clothes owning that her size was not what you’d call thin.
I looked around more. Dad’s desk drawer was open and documents were everywhere. I had a feeling that when Aunt Dorothy went into this room when Mom and Dad got the phone call. The telephone on Dad’s desk had its receiver hanging down from the table. There was a piece of paper on the floor. I picked it up. I recognized the scrawly handwriting as Aunt Dorothy’s. It said:
- Enter Arnold’s room.
- Give a fake telephone call from the bank saying their vault has been robbed.
- Go to the bank and do THE THING.
I had no idea what the thing meant but I knew this was all Aunt Dorothy’s doing. I showed the paper to Cal and went to Aunt Dorothy to tell her about all this.
Unfortunately, Aunt Dorothy was gone! She wasn’t watching TV anymore! That only meant one thing. I looked at the paper. She was going to the bank to do the thing.
I quickly dialled Dad’s number on the telephone, my heart thumping. I needed to warn them before it was too late! I heard the voicemail.
“The person you are calling is unavailable. Beep!”
Urgh! I tried again to call Dad. But I couldn’t so I called Mom. And she picked up.
“Hello,” said I voice that definitely wasn’t my Mom’s.
“Aunt Dorothy! What happened? Where are you? Where are Mom and Dad?” I cried.
“Oh, Mia… I’m afraid they have been killed.”
“WHAT!” I yelled.
“Yes, someone stabbed them in their backs,” continued Aunt Dorothy.
Then, she started false-crying.
“YOU KILLED THEM!” I screamed.
“What?” said Aunt Dorothy sounding surprised. “I didn’t.”
“I saw the paper,” I sobbed.
“Oh.. you did, did you?” said Aunt Dorothy and laughed and cancelled the call.
I looked at Cal. Tears were streaming down his face. I wiped my eyes and pulled him close. I hugged him tightly and took a deep, shuddering breath.
“It looks like we’re on our own now.”