Chapter 21: Home

 

So Jenny sighed and turned and banged her toe on the vacuum cleaner. And when she looked down the Purple Path was gone and she really was back in the cupboard under the stairs which had no knob on the inside. She pushed the door a couple of times but it wouldn’t open. Then she frowned. A girl who has just had such an adventure must be able to work out how to get out of a cupboard. But then suddenly she heard her mother calling:

‘Jenny, Jenny, where are you?’

So, accidentally on purpose she knocked over her father’s golf clubs. And straightaway someone pulled the cupboard door open.

‘What on earth are you doing in there, Jenny?’ said Mrs Berry. ‘It’s full of spiders!’

Jenny smiled at the thought. Then she said: ‘I was just getting my backpack. Is Grandma Lily back yet?’

Her mother looked at her quizzically: ‘What do you mean ‘is she back yet’? Grandma Lily hasn’t been anywhere. She’s in the kitchen making tea. I’m just nipping up to wake baby Wills. He’s been asleep far too long! It’s after four o’clock!’

Jenny watched her mother disappearing up the stairs. Then she walked over to look at herself in the mirror. Her hair looked a bit untidy. But not too bad. And, oh yes, her eyes were back to being brown. Yes, they were definitely not blue anymore.

Jenny threw down her backpack and ran into the kitchen. And there was Grandma Lily, looking just the same as usual, with absolutely no white cloak and no crown of flowers. She turned and smiled: ‘Hello Jenny dear, what have you been up to? Would you like some hot chocolate?’

Jenny wondered if Grandma Lily was going to mention Raggedy Lyme. After all they were on their own, so nobody would hear. But Grandma Lily said nothing. She just made tea and hot chocolate and placed it on the table. Jenny was about to mention their adventure with Molly and the Fairies and the Raggedy Knights, but Jenny’s father strolled into the kitchen reading his newspaper. He sat down next to Jenny and tweaked her hair: ‘What have you been doing out here,’ he said.

‘Not much!’ said Jenny, frowning at Grandma Lily. ‘Just walking through upside-down valleys and being frightened by monsters that were not there!’

Her father laughed but Grandma Lily’s expression did not change. She just looked at Jenny’s father and said: ‘Well, well, Mr Berry, you’re awake at last! Would you like a slice of my Christmas cake, after such a busy afternoon?’

‘Yes please, Lily, you old Witch!’ joked Mr Berry. ‘You were snoring as loud as me!’

Grandma Lily laughed and then she glanced down and said: ‘Oh, what’s this?’ She bent over and picked something small up from under the table. ‘I think this might be one of your beads, Jenny,’ she said. ‘You’re lucky it didn’t get kicked under the cooker and LOST!’

Mr Berry looked up from his newspaper: ‘Good job Grandma found it,’ he said. ‘Saved it from having to go to that Raggedy Lyme place of yours. Or don’t you believe in it anymore?’

Jenny looked at Grandma Lily and started to wonder if she did believe in Raggedy Lyme anymore. Perhaps she had imagined that whole adventure. Perhaps she had fallen asleep in the kitchen just like everyone else. Perhaps she had dreamed the whole thing. But then she noticed Grandma Lily holding the bead up to the light and as she turned it in her fingers, it twinkled bright orange.

Just like it did before.

Then Grandma Lily returned it to Jenny’s box of beads.

‘That’s a nice one!’ said Mr Berry. ‘It’s a good job you didn’t lose it, because it’s the only orange one you have.’

‘Yes,’ said Grandma Lily. ‘It really is the most beautiful bead of them all.

Jenny quickly felt for her necklace around her neck. But it wasn’t there. Had she imagined that as well? But just then Jenny’s mother came into the kitchen carrying baby Wills and a slightly grubby backpack:

‘Where on Earth did this bag come from, Jenny? I don’t remember seeing it before!’

‘Oh!’ said Jenny. ‘I borrowed it from one of my friends!’

Jenny’s mother handed Wills to Mr Berry and started to investigate the contents of Jenny’s backpack: ‘Jenny dear, it has the weirdest things inside! There’s a very strange looking torch,’ she said. ‘And there’s a big bag of toffees. I thought I’d told you no toffees until your new teeth are through!’

‘They’re for Daddy,’ interrupted Jenny. ‘They’ll help to teach him how to chew.’

Mrs Berry smiled and then she frowned: ‘And, Jenny, what on Earth are you thinking of doing with this pot of pepper?’

‘Oh you never know when a handful of pepper might come in handy,’ said Grandma Lily, handing Mr Berry a slice of cake. Then she looked at Jenny and smiled and put her finger across her lips not to tell.

And Jenny smiled back.