I am good. Mercedes always bugs me when I'm on the computer, so I check my e-mail at my friend Tiffany's house. Sorry I took so long.
My friend Caitlin moved. Now she lives next door to where you and Opa used to live. Mum drove me there for a playdate two weeks ago, and Caitlin's mum told us to get off the computer and go play outside. So we were sitting on the back deck, and it felt weird because I could see your back yard but the new people have been taking out the gardens, and there were two men there dressed in coveralls, like they were mechanics at Dad's work. Caitlin said they looked like the guys who delivered her parent's new appliances when they moved, except it wasn't them.
I don't know why they were in the back yard, but the lady who owns the house now was there and was yelling at them. They had to speak up when they talked to her because she wouldn't stop yelling when they were trying to talk to her.
The men were asking for you. They kept saying they wanted to talk to Mrs. Matilde Zondernaam, and I remembered that's the long form of your first name. The lady said she didn't know who that was, and she was getting really mad, but then her husband came outside and said that was the name of the person they bought the house from. They were still talking about it when Mum and Caitlin's mum came outside. I think they could hear the shouting in the house.
Mum went to the fence and said that you were her mother-in-law and asked if she could help. The men said no, if they had the wrong address there was nothing to do. They said they would like to know your new address, but they said Mum wouldn't give it to them, and Mum said they were right.
Mum and Caitlin's mum went back in the house, and the men said since there was nothing to do they would leave, so the new people went back into your old house. The men were walking by the fence, and I ran up to them and told them you were my grandmother. The fence is taller than I am, and you have to use a gate to get into Caitlin's back yard. It wasn't dangerous.
I told them you moved to an apartment in the Annex, but I didn't know the address. I told them I would tell you I saw them, and I asked if they were delivering something.
One of the men pointed up. I looked where he pointed, and way up in the sky, high up like your apartment, was this door. I could just barely see it was a door. It was floating over your back yard. The door was brown and wooden and looked old-fashioned, like it was from the 1960s maybe. It was the plain kind of old-fashioned, not the decorated kind from the 1800s.
Caitlin asked me what I was looking at. I went back to the deck and you couldn't really see the door from that angle. I told her to try to see it from the fence, but she said it was gone, so I tried again, and it was definitely gone. The men went away while we were on the deck.
I liked visiting you at your apartment. The house started feeling sad when Opa was in the hospital. I liked the Spaghetti Factory too.
Do you know about the delivery men and the door?
EmilyTilly leaned back in her chair and picked up her cup of tea. She finished the cup while she read the e-mail over several times more. Something wasn't... right about it.
She rinsed out the cup and saucer in the kitchen, then returned to the computer to read what Emily had written one more time.
The door. That was it. Tilly could imagine Emily talking to strangers despite Beth's constant warnings — she had never been a shy girl, and after all, she was ten, not two — but she was far too matter-of-fact about the door. Surely Caitlin would have questioned her about seeing something in the sky, or made fun of her, but if she had, Emily didn't mention it in the e-mail.
Tilly bit her lower lip. The mind-numbing Pizza Tela shift had worn her out.
She opened up her spreadsheet about the Others, and made some notes from Emily's e-mail. Then she shut down the computer and went out for a walk.
Implications loomed like monsters hiding in shadowed corners. Tilly couldn't quite make them out, but she knew she wasn't yet willing to face them.