Chapter Eight: Tuesday, December 29th

Living in America


"Miss. C-9?"

"Miss. I-7?

Ian grimaced. "Hit. B-4?"

"Before what?" I asked innocently. He glared. "Miss. I-8?"

"You ate what?"

"Your ship, I hope." We were playing Battleship, which my sister had sent me for Christmas.

It was several days after the event, and we were all settling back into our comfort zones. Jae had said it was a shame Abigail got "cross-ified" because she "sort of liked Abigail, even though she did try to like possess me and everyone else."

"You did—the really little one."

"It's called a patrol boat," I said helpfully. He only had one ship left, the submarine. It wouldn't be so hard.

"Whatever. J-3?"


"Mister," he corrected me.


"Well, I'm a guy, so you would say Mr., not Ms."

"Whatever. G-1?"

"Hit." He picked up a red peg and (presumably) put it somewhere on his board. "D-2?"

"Hit," I said, and then added, "I wish there was an R on this board."

"That would make it one big-ass board."

I ignored him. "Cause then it'd be like…R-2—D-2!"

"You're a nerd."

"I know."

"It's your turn, nerd."


"Hit. D-3?"

"Hit. I-1?"

"You won what?"

"The game…right?"

"Right. Clean up!" The rule of the house, brought to us by Keena from her family, was that the winner had to clean up the game. It was a good rule, I thought. Nice compensation for the losers, and humbling for the victor. The winner could gloat all he or she wanted…while cleaning up.

As I cleaned up, I pondered the ghost's appearance, and realized—

No, that sounds shitty. Keena's really gonna kill me now, huh? She's earning a degree as a creative writer, which I realize I totally neglected to mention. That's right, all of the Freak House girls live up to our last names—Cooke, Singer, Penn…

I'm not sure how Jae lives out "Zilliox". She's afraid of it, does that count?

Anyway, I came to the sad conclusion that my life wasn't very interesting, that Abigail Hopkins had been my "once-in-a-lifetime" weird experience, and so we all got used to our boring freaky lives.

Until Easter.

A breathless Rent flew into the house at top speed. He was pointing at the door and yelling gibberish.

"Whoa, slow down!" Nathan said.

"What? What is it?" Jae asked.

"Spit it out!" commanded Ian. When he'd gotten his breath back, Rent said,

"Yeah um I dont really know whats happening but me and Will were out there with the telescope and then there was a lot of green light everywhere and now theres blinking lights in the sky and Will isnt there and I really think you guys need to come cause this is bad."

If that's possible, I think he said it without punctuation, and all in one breath.

"Aliens?!" queried several people in frustration. Rent nodded.

"Ugh, this is endless!" complained Keena.

They all fled to the yard, and it was me and Mira standing in the kitchen.

"Great," I said. I couldn't tell whether or not I was being sarcastic. "This is…fantastic. Space. Aliens. What next, robot-werewolf invasion?"

"Ten to one odds, we get zombies on Thanksgiving." Mira grinned. "Come on, we can take those alien chums."


Today as I type this, it is one year from that day I won Battleship. We kicked those aliens' sorry green asses. We didn't get zombies on Thanksgiving, and I don't think we're expecting cherubs on Valentines Day or leprechauns on St. Patrick's. Will has his fingers crossed for a swarm of groundhogs on February second, but I doubt that (mainly because the groundhog population in this area sucks.)

But if there are, no one will complain, and we'll enjoy it. Not that this has become typical, but I'm not one to turn it down when opportunity knocks. Neither are the others, so we'll just keep enjoying it. Whatever life throws at us, it's gonna be terrific.