Chapter Seventeen

'Are you sure, Wybie?' Mrs. Phils asked him. He nodded.

'My grandma's probably gone to the Pink Palace to look for me,' he replied. He sounded a bit worried.

'Why are you covered in cobwebs, Wybie?' Roseate asked.

'Long story, but basically . . .' he began to explain, I began to listen, 'well, I felt something was really wrong so I snuck out again to try and get this key to get us out . . .'

'Wybie!' I exclaimed. He gave a guilty nod.

'She caught me in the act, created some cobwebs in the boiler room and stuck me to them, then gagged me. Told me what she was planning to do to you then left and locked the door. It took me a long time to free myself, fell asleep in the middle of trying. It was only when I heard you screaming, Coraline, that I was determined to free myself so I could help you which I eventually managed to do.'

'Just in time,' I told him, 'That voice you mentioned in your head, it was – it was your grandma's sister's voice wasn't it?'

'Yes, I believe you're right, Coraline,' he answered.

'Is Yalia okay?' I asked Miss Barlow.

'Well, her eyes are back but last time I saw her, she was very miserable,' she told me.

'Could we,' I asked, 'could we make a stop at the Simmons' place? I wouldn't mind seeing Yalia.'

'I can't see why not,' Mrs. Phils said. The others nodded in agreement.

Mrs. Phils stopped the car on a dirt track close to the house; it was once a cottage before extensions had been added to make it bigger. It was in the middle of a small field which had long grasses and infront of the house was a small garden which had a white fence around it. As I got out I could just about make out hanging baskets either side of the door and a small ginger girl sitting sadly in a sandpit. She was wearing the same dress which her doll had worn. I raced toward the house.

'Yalia!' I called out. She looked up from wiping a tear from one of her brown eyes and gave a shriek of delight. She rushed to the gate and out into the field. Her face was alight with happiness at seeing me. She fell over several in her rush but she didn't seem to care that she was getting grass stains and mud over her dress. She hugged me so tightly that I wondered if she would ever let go.

'You're alive, you're alive . . .' she whispered while rubbing a head against the remains of my coat, 'how did you get away?' she asked.

'Well, partly luck and partly Wybie coming to help . . .'

'And partly you?'

'I guess,' I replied with a small smile. I looked up to see Yalia's parents and her sister coming toward us. They had probably been worried that Yalia had run off.

'Y-y-you're a-a-alive?' Neila stammered, gawping at me.

'What's it look like!' Yalia answered with a cheeky grin. Their parents just smiled.

'Thank you for saving our little girl, Coraline,' her mother said, 'I don't know what we would've done . . .'

'You're welcome,' I responded.

'I still can't believe I met a real witch though!' Yalia exclaimed. She had evidently not changed that much since the encounter in the other world. Neila rolled her eyes and sighed. I got the impression that Neila was never going to hear the end of this. 'You could come inside now and tell me what happened,' Yalia said hopefully.

'Sorry, Yalia, I have to get home. Perhaps I could come over tomorrow, if your parents don't mind . . .'

'I'm sure that's fine,' her father said, 'what do you think, dear?'

'Yalia has nothing on tomorrow, as long as it's okay with Coraline's parents.' Yalia's mother replied. It seemed that their worry over Yalia had brought the parents closer again.

'Well, I'd better go,' I told them, 'I can't deny my parents much longer.'

'Bye, Coraline!' Yalia called after me. A few moments later, I heard her parents complaining about the mud and grass stains she had got on her dress. I smiled.

I slowly walked up to the door of my flat. I felt very happy, in a few moments, I would see my parents. The other four stood not far behind me. I knocked.

It was Miss Spink and Forcible who answered the door. They stared at me.

'Coraline?' they both said slowly and at the same time.

'You got my name right!' I exclaimed in surprise.

'Well of course,' Miss Forcible replied.

'Mel!' Miss Spink called, 'Mel, come quickly!' As I stepped inside, I saw my mother come into the hall. My real incredible mother!

'Mom!' I shouted, racing down the hall toward her in delight.

'Coraline!' she cried, in happiness and relief, 'My baby!' I had never seen my mother act like this before. She was normally so, worn out and so, unemotional. It was almost like she'd completely lost control. She embraced me with passion I wasn't used to. 'Oh, Coraline, I thought . . ! I was certain . . ! I'm so sorry I didn't believe you!' I looked up at her face. Her smile was so real and kind. She looked like she had been crying and it looked as if she might start again any second.

The others were slowly making their way into the house. As soon as my mother spotted Wybie she asked Miss Spink to call Miss Lovat. Apparently she had come to look for him earlier but had left shortly before we arrived. Wybie looked a little nervous.

'I need to phone your father to tell him he needs to do get more groceries,' my mother told me. She went off to make a quick call. Wybie and I went into the kitchen. It was strange that it looked so similar to the one we had been in such a short time ago. Someone knocked at the door. Miss Forcible opened the door and Miss Lovat soon came into the kitchen. Wybie looked very awkward.

'Um, hi Grandma . . .' he said nervously, not looking at her. She starred; looking from Wybie to me and back again.

'Wyborne, I told you . . . Coraline, you're . . .' she tried to begin but didn't seem to know what to say.

'Sorry, Grandma . . .' Wybie murmured.

'He was only doing what he thought was the right thing to do,' I told her quickly before she could get too annoyed.

'And you both managed to get out . . .' she said slowly and thoughtfully, 'I told you not to take the risk, Wyborne but . . .' There was a moment of silence. 'It was the right thing. Don't get me wrong, Coraline, I just thought it was better to lose one kid rather than two . . .' Although I felt slightly irritated with her, I could see where she was coming from. I gave a nod.

'I would never have got out without him,' I told her, 'he was real brave.' Wybie went a bit pink and grinned awkwardly. My mother came into the room a moment later.

'Your father will be back in an hour or two,' she told me, then took in my appearance, 'Coraline, you're in a state! I'll have to call your father again to tell him to pick up some new school uniform for you. What did that witch do to you!'

'Well, she could've done worse . . .' I mumbled. Just then, Mrs. Phils, Miss Barlow and Roseate entered the room.

I told my mother from the beginning what happened, with some help from the others. Once I'd finished I wasn't sure whether I felt better because I had got it off my chest or if I felt worse because I'd had to think about everything that had happened. When I'd finished I realized I didn't know what had become of Orto, not that I really cared. I asked Mrs. Phils if she knew.

'This may seem hard to believe,' she began, 'but it seems once the buttons are in a kids eyes, they can only last 24 hours outside the other world. We weren't exactly sure what to do with him so we had him tied up and took shifts to watch him. After one shift, we came back to find nothing but a couple of black buttons. It seems he turned to dust.'

'Quite sad in a way,' Miss Barlow added, 'the whole time, right to the very end he believed that that witch would come and get him. He may have even known about the time limit, we're not sure.'

'She forgot all about him,' I said, 'never mentioned him, just used him to get to me.'

'Indoctrinated really.' Mrs. Phils said. I didn't know what she meant but the adults obviously did as they all nodded.

'Would you like me to give you a bath, Coraline?' my mother asked me. I nodded. A bath did sound good.

For once, I didn't mind being treated like a little kid. It was really good to be getting so much attention from the adults. My mother was horrified at how bruised I was and even more horrified when she saw what behind my knees looked like; incredibly red, incredibly sore. After my bath, I rushed into the drawing room to lock the door. The adults had done their best to block it with tape and boxes. With difficulty, as I only had half a key, I locked the door.

While me and Wybie ate lunch (Mrs. Phils, Miss Barlow and Roseate had gone home), the cat came in thru the window to join us. It soon went into the drawing room and fell asleep next to the roaring fire. I kissed Wybie on the lips while I thought no-one was looking. I turned round to see Miss Lovat and my mother giggling.

My father soon arrived home. I leapt into his arms.

'Aren't you a bit big to be carried around?' he asked cheerily. My mother went to help him bring the shopping in. They insisted I didn't come and help which was fine with me. Last of all, they brought a large basket in.

'I know we said no before,' my mother told me, 'but, we reconsidered.' They put the basket next to me on the floor. It jostled a little. I looked inside. I gasped in delight. Inside was a very sweet white and brown puppy. It was adorable! I flung my arms round my parents, thanking them multiple times.

'You'll have to think of a name for her, Coraline,' my father said.

'And you'll have to train her!' my mother added.

'Ora, shut up!' I murmured with a laugh, 'stop yapping! Some of us are trying to sleep here!' The puppy paid absolutely no attention to me and continued to race around the room. I sighed with a smile. She'd get tired eventually.

I was so tired that I fell asleep despite the noise she was making. I opened my eyes to see Tasia above me. She was smiling.

'I'm so glad you're okay,' she told me.

'So am I,' I replied with a grin. There was a moment of silence. 'You, you knew that was gonna happen, didn't you? That the beldam would . . . That's why you got Wybie.' She nodded. 'And she would've killed me soon after, wouldn't she?'

'I don't know, actually.'


'I could only see as far the buttons being sewn. Knowing her, she would've but I don't know how soon after that.'

'Why didn't the adults come and help me though?' I asked, 'I don't understand.'

'Adults can't go thru the door, they can come out if they are in the other world via the door but not go in it. It gives them electric shocks; the beldam has that much control.'

'It will be alright though, won't it?' I inquired nervously.

'It seems so, you got rid of your half of the key, didn't you?' she said. I gave a nod. 'But I can't give you a certain answer, angels can only see a few days into the future.' I smiled. She smiled to.

She began to fade away, as dreams do fade. I would wake up the next morning and go to see Yalia. Everything would be alright. At least, for the moment.