Recap #123: Graveyard School #22: Boo Year’s Eve by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Auld Lang FUCK!”
Title: Graveyard School #22 – Boo Year’s Eve
Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
Summary: A Scary New Start To A New Year…
It’s New Year’s Eve. As Jordie and Jessica Flanders are coming home from a visit to their grandmother, their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Ordinarily Jordie would be bummed. But she’s been invited – and forced to go – to perfect Polly Hannah’s New Year’s Eve party. Compared to that, the middle of nowhere isn’t so bad!
The passengers take refuge at the nearest house – an old mansion. At first Jordie thinks it’s cool, but when she stumbles onto a party of ghosts, she’d do anything to get out and get to Polly’s party – alive!
There was no way on God’s green Earth I was gonna wait two years to recap this book. A lot can happen in two years and, with that blowdryed, spray tanned serial rapist xenophobe in control of nuclear launch codes… shit I made myself sad.
This has long been my first and foremost favorite entry in the entire series. I’ve saved this one and several others in a box that’s ready to pull out in case of a fire, because chances are I will never find another copy anywhere. I got lucky back in 2004 and was able to purchase this separately of the bulk lot I found on eBay. It’s my favorite for a number of reasons:
- It’s a winter holiday horror story, and it’s a December holiday
- It’s a haunted house story
- It involves 1940s era ghosts and I love 40s shit (THAT DOES NOT MEAN I’M NOT AWARE OF HOW AWFUL THINGS WERE BACK THEN. I saw that Daria episode.)
- It’s got Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders as the main character, my fave besides Vickie Wheilson of the main cast
- THAT COVER OH MY GOD NAGATA
(Jordie Flanders by Nanihoo)
Jordie’s another kind of little shit I love, and she’s forced to deal with someone who exhibits her worse traits. Now granted, there’s some of that “Crazy Means Dangerous” shit, I’m not gonna lie, but I love how tense the climax is. And that ending!
[Wing: Not looking forward to that part, but Jordie sounds amazing so far, and I can’t wait.]
What better way to start off our tale than with a stirring intellectual debate between puke perfect Polly Hannah and Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders, the smartest kid in Graveyard School.
“No. Negative. Not. Never,” said Jordie Flanders. “I’m not going to your stupid New Year’s Eve party. And there is no way you can make me.”
“There is too.”
“There is not.”
Their discussion catches the attention of Vice Principal Lucre, who wishes to know what the 411 is, my home poops. Polly explains she’s hosting a fab soiree on New Year’s Eve that will involve fancy clothes and dancing between genders, and even though she’s kindly invited Jordie to attend, Jordie doesn’t want to go. Jordie coldly reveals she’s already made plans. Lucre tut tuts what a shame that is, but reminds the girls school’s ending for Christmas break in a couple of days, so they should be on their best behavior for Santa Claus.
Polly laughed her phony laugh.
Jordie smiled. It made her face feel as if it were going to crack.
When Lucre returns to his fantasy realm, Polly swears Jordie’s going to her party, to which Jordie offers the more pleasurable alternative of dropping dead and being buried on Graveyard Hill then having anything to do with Polly. Polly smugly makes nondescript threats and skips off to ruin someone else’s day, and Jordie decides she’d rather be buried alive instead.
Unfortunately, it turns out Polly wasn’t full of hot air. She’s not only mailed out hand written invitations, but Mrs. Hannah is calling around to confirm the invites with the parents of the invitees. Jordie is unable to escape her mother’s iron grip on her shoulder, and doesn’t like the look on Mrs. Flanders’ face as she gets all the deets. Jordie’s mom has confirmed she’s going to the party, as a way to say thanks for all the help Mrs. Hannah’s been on the women’s soccer team. Mrs. Flanders gets a faraway look in her eyes discussing how they can get Jordie a brand new dress for the occasion, thinking how she’ll get the chance to doll up her daughter, to be a girl she knows Jordie is vehemently NOT. Jordie, however, would like to say to her mom “Fuck you AND your attempts at enforcing gender stereotypes” but settles for declaring she doesn’t need a new dress and she’ll tell Polly personally she can’t make it. Mrs. Flanders won’t take no for an answer, not understanding how Polly is the absolute worst and how nobody else wants to go either. Mrs. Flanders decides, okay, you don’t NEED to go… just like you don’t NEED a computer for the next few days. Or weeks. Defeated but still pissed off, Jordie tells her mom to leave her computer and she’ll go to the stupid party. Jordie’s mom assures her she’s doing the right thing. Fuck off, lady. Her computer returned, Jordie accepts she’s years away from executing proper revenge on her mom, but can use her mental energy to focus on figuring out how to get out of the party before it’s too late.
At lunch the next day, a run in with Polly in the cafeteria makes Jordie review why she dislikes the girl so much. Jordie might be a smart kid and she enjoys learning new things and asking questions, but she’s not a suck up and a teacher’s pet like Polly. Polly to her, hell, to EVERYONE, is a “rigid, rule-sucking, humor-free human clone of some magazine moppet.” Jordie sits down with Stacey Carter and Maria Medina and they compare notes, on the cafeteria food (which Jordie compares to an experiment on decomposition she once did) and Polly’s party. Turns out Jordie’s not the only one who got slimed, and Maria thinks it’s funny and sad Polly could only make people go to her party by making her mom FORCE them to go. Polly joins the girls and brags over how many people will be attending.
“Everyone got an invitation who was supposed to. And that’s not just anyone.” She fluffed her hair, then turned her attention to Stacey, Maria, and Jordie. “You have to RSVP. It’s written on the bottom of the invitation. It means ‘repondez s’il vous plait.’ The translation is ‘reply if you please.’ It’s French.”
They stared at her. Then Jordie said, “C’est impossible. Merci.”
Polly’s pale, china-hard eyes narrowed. “Are you making fun of me?”
“Who would do something like that?” Maria said sarcastically.
Polly rubs it in that she knows Mrs. Flanders is forcing Jordie to go, but Jordie pulls out her ace and explains her family’s visiting her grandparents for Christmas and they live out of town. Jordie doesn’t add, however, they’ll be back before the 31st, and figures she’ll need to devise a way to extend her stay to miss the party. Seeing Stacey and Maria groan as Polly rambles about the party, Jordie can’t do anything to help them, but swears she’d rather dance on a grave than be anywhere near the Hannah household on New Year’s. Too bad no one noticed a shrill wind blowing through the old graveyard as Jordie thought this. [Wing: Jordie, I love you already, but OH MY GOD, you attend Graveyard School. You know to be careful what you say!]
Jordie is trying her hardest to wear down her mother’s adrenaline, having been dragged through several stores in search of a new dress and so far they’re both empty handed. Unfortunately, stubbornness is a trait shared between Flanders mother and child, when Mrs. Flanders comes upon an ingenious solution while in the middle of traffic and slams down on the breaks.
“You could have killed me! I’m in the death seat, statistically speaking. Did you know that? And this car is so old, it doesn’t even have air bags.”
Her mother angled the car into a parking space. “You’re right, Jordie. You don’t have to buy a new dress.”
“I don’t?” Jordie was immediately suspicious.
“No. You can buy an old one.”
Mrs. Flanders points to a house converted into a shop, “That Old Magic Clothing Consignment Shop.” Jordie is livid and says the house is so old it should’ve been condemned. How safe could it be?
“You’re right,” said her mother, ice in her veins. “It probably doesn’t even have airbags.”
Soon enough Jordie is forced into the old clothing store, where she and her mom are greeted by a creepy little old guy. Mrs. Flanders stammers they’re looking for a party dress for Jordie, who makes her distaste for the entire affair known to all.
“I think you should know that I’m attending this party against my will.”
The manager muses that maybe the right dress will “present itself” to Jordie, and after he departs Jordie quickly ditches her mother in search of a place to hide. Jordie wanders through rooms filled with old clothes, glass displays packed with old jewelry, and even old (and used) make-up. [Wing: GROSS.] Jordie tries to find some corner to stash herself in when she turns down an aisle and sees a girl in an old fashioned blue dress. Only, the girl is her! Jordie shakes her head and finds herself staring at her reflection in a large mirror built into the door of an old wardrobe. Jordie briefly smells the lingering odor of old cedar and honeysuckle when she feels a compulsion to inspect the wardrobe. Inside the bottom drawer, Jordie discovers the same dress she saw her reflection wearing. It’s made of blue velvet, with a collar of lace and a light blue sash around the waist. The scent of honeysuckle returns when Jordie’s mom catches up to her and, almost possessed, Jordie declares she wants THIS dress for the party.
Mrs. Flanders is… not exactly thrilled when she sees the dress on account of how out of date it is, so of course Jordie wants it even more as she watches her mother squirm. [Wing: Flanders, you are forcing your daughter to go to a party she doesn’t want to attend and forcing a dress on her, and now you’ve taken her to a used clothing store. You have ZERO right to complain about the fashion.] The sales guy returns to see how everything’s going, and Jordie announces she found her dress. Mrs. Flanders tries everything she can think of to talk the guy OUT of selling the dress, asking where it came from and pointing out it’s so old it’s probably really valuable and expensive. The guy names a price Jordie’s mother can’t argue with and has no choice but to buy the dress. The sales guy advises her not to store it in plastic for too long and of course,
Because wooden hangers won’t damage the dress like wire ones will. The man promises Jordie this is definitely the right dress for her, and she’s going to have a most interesting party. Unnerved, Jordie quickly leaves with her mother when the faint scent of honeysuckle returns once more…
Christmas came and went, and Jordie convinced her parents to let her stay at her grandparents’ house for a couple more days hoping her mom would forget about the party. She didn’t. And from the way Jordie’s older sister Jessica seems absolutely determined to make sure they both get home on the 31st makes Jordie suspect Jessica’s been bribed. So now Jordie is hunkered down in an old bus station bathroom, pretending the stall door is jammed wishing she can run out the clock. Jessica announces she’s getting someone to drag Jordie out, so, Jordie figures she can at least fuck with her sister. When Jessica returns with some maintenance guy, Jordie makes a big show of washing her hands with an oh so innocent grin smacked on her face. Why hello dearest sister, whatsoever is the matter?
“Hi, Jessica,” said Jordie with a big, innocent smile. She finished washing her hands and made an elaborate show of drying them with the paper towels.
The maintenance man said, “Is this the kid? I thought you said she was stuck.”
“Perhaps I was mistaken,” said Jordie sweetly. “But I was under the impression that this was the women’s bathroom.”
Dull red stained the maintenance man’s cheeks. He said to Jessica, “If that’s your kid sister, you’ve got my sympathy.”
The minute the guy leaves Jordie aims for the stall again, but Jessica grabs her arm and drags her outside. It looks for a moment that the bus has indeed left without them. Victory! Oh but wait, here it comes lumbering down the road now. Looks like Jordie’s going to the party after all.
Jessica orders Jordie to seat down and shut up, so of course Jordie decides to ramble to mess with Jessica, talking about how old and funky the bus looks, how it reminds her of Skip Wolfson, a classmate with a severe fear of buses because of the haunted school bus that stalked him (which we’ll find out more about in “The Tragic School Bus”). [Wing: SKIP!] Jordie offers to let Skip tell Jessica ALL about it as Jessica tries to pretend Jordie doesn’t exist. That said, Jordie turns her attention to the other passengers in an attempt to beat the monotony with some light conversation, only they’re ignoring her too even though she’s not being annoying. Or rather… it’s like they can’t tell Jordie is there. A young guy reading a book looks in Jordie’s direction as she asks him a question, squints his eyes, then goes back to his book. Jordie stares at two women with old fashioned hairstyles sitting in the back, yet when one of the ladies looks back at Jordie she begins shaking her head, like she can’t tell if Jordie is there or not, while her companion tries to reassure her of something. Jordie is suddenly overcome with a massive feeling of nausea as the two women look directly at Jordie, and she tries to get her sister’s attention when the bus leaps and swerves into the air and Jordie bashes her forehead against the window!
For a moment, Jordie smells the trace of honeysuckle again and feels as though she’s laying inside a coffin as she hears someone say “What a beautiful memory picture” in her dead ear-HER DEAD EAR?! Jordie can then hear Jessica calling her name and feels her trying to shake her awake, when Jordie sticks her tongue out. The sisters exchange barbs.
“Some people think you’re smart, but almost no one thinks you’re funny,” she said.
“Have you looked in the mirror lately? That should be good for a laugh,” Jordie shot back.
The bus driver assures the passengers everything’s okay, yet they’ll have to walk the rest of the way. It’s pitch black outside and Jordie wonders how long, exactly, was she really out as Jessica forces Jordie to get her bag so they can follow the group on the road. Outside it’s not only dark and cold but raining in sheets, and Jordie can’t believe Jessica is wordlessly following the bus driver even though they’ve no clue where they’re really headed. Unfortunately, Jordie smells the honeysuckle again and loses the strength to keep up with the other passengers. Jessica doesn’t even notice, or care, Jordie’s not with her, and soon they disappear into the darkness.
Lost, cold, and upset, Jordie wanders down an icy road for what seems like an eternity until she comes upon blessed salvation in the form of a mailbox and paved driveway.
What a beautiful driveway.
Looking up she can detect small lights in the distance, and follows the driveway to a large, old looking mansion. Enraptured with the thought of a safe haven, Jordie is further elated thinking of how much guilt she can wring out of Jessica for losing her, and out of her parents for trying to make her attend that stupid party and putting her in this mess in the first place. Things are starting to look up… until she realizes she’s landed smack dab in the middle of ANOTHER New Year’s Eve party. You know people, the Syfy channel does a Twilight Zone marathon every year there ARE alternatives. Still, a warm house is a warm house and Jordie appreciates being allowed to have a room along with some of the other passengers from the bus. Jordie follows a housekeeper by the name of Martha up a long set of stairs, and sure enough finds her sister Jessica completely zonked out on a bed in the first room she tries. Jordie tries to thank Martha… but when the housekeeper turns to face Jordie and their eyes meet, the same nauseous feeling returns and Martha seems to disappear before Jordie’s eyes.
Jordie tries to steel herself and use logic instead of assuming the absolute worst. After all, this shit only happens at school. It can’t follow her… can it? Jordie reasons she bashed her head, she’s cold and freezing, a near death experience would make anyone see things that aren’t real. But she still expects some of the dark shadows in the candlelit hallway to become real and reach out towards her. Jordie tries to make Jessica wake up and convince her they need to leave, but Jessica mumbles a few words and falls back asleep. Frustrated, Jordie tries to calm down, and figures once she’s gotten clean, put on some dry clothes, and eaten something she’ll be feeling better and not be freaking out. Thankfully the bathroom attached to her sister’s room is immaculate, and she comes out feeling fresh and reinvigorated. Of course, outside it’s still totally pitch black, making Jordie feel she’s smack dab in the middle of Haunted House Country. Jessica snoozes on while Jordie hunts through her suitcase looking for something dry to wear. She does. The blue dress, which her mother forced her to bring and made her model it for her grandparents. What the fuck lady, you can’t stand the dress but you still make Jordie show it off to her grandparents, are you that obsessed with dressing her up? So, Jordie’s got no choice but to wear the dress to a New Year’s Party after all. Her one comfort is that the dress makes her look at least somewhat older, which gives her an advantage in a world run by marginally sane adults. It’s then Jordie realizes she’s got a guest, a girl with long brown hair standing in the half open doorway of the room. The girl only laughs at Jordie and sticks her tongue out before running down the hall. That convinces Jordie something weird’s going on and she wants to find out what.
“Ectoplasm, ectoplasm, go away, come again another day.”
Jordie makes her way down to the New Year’s Eve party, and it’s absolutely jam packed. No one seems to notice Jordie enter the crowd, and it seems her dress isn’t quite so out of touch since the guests are all wearing old fashioned clothes as well. Jordie assumes she’s at some kind of costume party as she makes her way through the people, who only barely notice she’s there as she says “excuse me” over and over again. She’s a bit surprised by how fancy the food is, failing to see any of the typical party snacks like chips and dip, but nevertheless makes a plate for herself and scopes out a quiet corner to sit down. When she finishes, Jordie returns to the throng of people and excuses herself past someone. The man turns sharply, seems offended just by Jordie’s presence and drops his glass. Jordie expects the guy’s going to blame her even though she hadn’t even pushed him, and makes an ugly face. The man loses all color and his companion remarks “Zounds, Merrick! You look as if you’d seen a ghost.” Sigh. What do you expect from adults.
[Wing: I need to introduce “zounds” into my vocabulary immediately.]
Jordie’s happy that this party is still better than being stuck with Polly Hannah, but wishes she had someone her own age to talk to and wonders where the laughing girl disappeared to. Jordie can only find the other passengers from the bus. Jordie returns to the top of the stairs and inspects the party from the balcony overlooking the room, wondering if the guy throwing the party supplied costumes for everyone and grinning at the idea of asking Mrs. Flanders if she can wear her dress for Halloween. A voice from behind asks if Jordie’s enjoying “my” party and Jordie almost tumbles over the creaking railing. It’s the girl from earlier, who introduces herself as Dolores. She claims this is her New Year’s party, or rather, it’s her very rich aunt and uncle’s. Dolores says her relations HAVE to be nice to her, but even though they bought her a new dress they wouldn’t let her come to the party. Jordie tries to be polite, saying she’s thankful for the hospitality Dolores’ aunt and uncle have shown her after the bus crash. Dolores says she’s glad somebody like her finally came to HER party, and Jordie starts to get the sense they share an interest in annoying their parental figures. It’s then Dolores announces she’s definitely ready for this party, and tells Jordie to watch as she rushes downstairs and flips a woman’s glass out of her hands. The woman screams her head off as the glass falls and shatters while Dolores laughs her ass off and runs away.
Jordie’s a bit awestruck that Dolores has the cheek to pull such shit as she watches the other party-goers try to calm the screaming woman. When Dolores reconvenes with Jordie, she can see Jordie’s a bit freaked and tells her it was just a joke. Jordie points out no one else is laughing, and the glint of malevolence in Dolores’ eyes reminds Jordie too much of Bentley Jeste, the class clown whose antics were a bit too infectious and Jordie found herself roped into a prank war that almost-NO, don’t think about that (Well we will, when I recap “Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death!”) No, the comparison doesn’t ease Jordie at all, especially when Dolores says it’s her turn to pull a trick. Jordie refuses on the grounds she doesn’t want to get thrown back in the rain and because, as much as she’s shown screwing with her mom and Jessica, she’s not gonna be rude to the people who gave her shelter. Dolores says SHE is Jordie’s host as well and it would be rude not to, especially when she only wants Jordie to snuff out some candles on a table. Jordie admits that’s not much of a trick, so figures why not.
Her way down the stairs Jordie brushes past two women who ignore her, which gives her some comfort. She hasn’t had to deal with patronizing questions from adults like she usually does when dragged to adult affairs, but the lack of acknowledgment of her presence is starting to bother her.
Jordie was accustomed to parties where adults said, “You’ve sure gotten big, young lady,” and “Do you like school?” and “Do you have a boyfriend, heh, heh, heh?” She’d always wanted to say, in answer to the stupid questions, “Define big,” “No but it beats hard time,” and “No, I don’t have a boyfriend and I bet you don’t either.”
But, of course, she didn’t.
She wonders if maybe Dolores is just super attention starved. So Jordie goes downstairs and begins extinguishing a few candles. But it seems someone is SUPER offended by what Jordie’s doing, because as she’s blowing out the candelabra on a table, the guy directs everyone’s attention to it, runs up, and FLIPS THE TABLE OVER WITH JORDIE STILL ON IT.
Jordie only narrowly avoids getting her legs broken as she’s tossed on the ground while some men try to restrain the guy who flipped the table. The man tries to explain what he saw while Jordie fears she’s gonna get it now, but no one yells at her or even checks to see if she’s hurt. Dolores seems to think this is hilarious but Jordie’s lost what little partying mood she had when an older woman named Margaret shows up and demands to know what tricks Dolores has been up to now. Margaret appears to be Dolores’ nanny or babysitter, and begins dragging her to her room, ignoring Jordie, while Dolores starts screaming and raging all the way. Jordie can’t believe what she’s seeing, feeling a bit of envy and disgust at what a spoiled brat Dolores is. Jordie follows the two to Dolores’ room, and overhears Dolores making threats about firing Margaret when she’s old enough. Margaret points out when Dolores is old enough she won’t need her anymore, so Dolores pulls a 180 and says Margaret better not be leaving. Margaret says she’s not going anywhere… which is what Dolores’ parents said as well.
Margaret’s face became serious. “It was an accident, you know. They loved you very much.”
Dolores shrugged. “Who cares?” she said.
Dolores has another tantrum when Margaret says she has to go to bed, and Margaret takes it all in stride as she promises to wish Dolores a Happy New Year’s at midnight. Jordie hides in an alcove as Margaret locks the door (just as Dolores throws something heavy at it) and leaves down the hall. Jordie goes up to Dolores’ room, and Dolores says from the other side where Margaret keeps the key. Jordie enters Dolores’ room, who promises now they’re gonna make everyone pay, especially Margaret. Jordie’s awe for Dolores vanishes, realizing she’s an even worse version of Polly. Jordie’s is now feeling disgust mixed with fear while Dolores sprays perfume on her wrists. HONEYSUCKLE perfume. And inside her room is the very same cedar wardrobe from the clothing store. Dolores claims it’s an old piece of junk, and voices her desire to get rid of everything in the house once she’s old enough for her trust fund. Including her aunt and uncle and Margaret. Dolores’ mood swings and the creepy light in her eyes makes Jordie wonder about what Margaret’s actual job is regarding Dolores, when Dolores snaps at Jordie to hand over her dress. Jordie point blank refuses, so Dolores tricks her and locks her inside the wardrobe. Feelings of claustrophobia are heralded by the cedar and honeysuckle scent, as Dolores sweetly wonders how much air Jordie’s got.
Dolores says the doors and walls of the wardrobe are so thick, Margaret might not hear Jordie. Who knows how long she might be in there? Pissed off, Jordie knows this isn’t true, but Dolores’ words suddenly make it feel like Jordie’s dress is constricting around her neck and making it hard to breathe. Jordie relents and Dolores opens the door just enough for Jordie to hand her the dress, which is a bitch to take off in such a cramped space. Jordie puts on another dress (assuming the lack of jeans is because these are only Dolores’ party clothes) while Dolores struts around the room, saying the blue dress looks MUCH better on her. Jordie sees an opening as Dolores preens, bolts out the door and locks the room. Dolores rages and howls for a few minutes on the other side. When she finally calms down, Jordie orders her to return her dress, pointing out midnight’s coming pretty soon. Dolores relents, and Jordie thanks her… and then leaves to put it back on. Dolores starts screaming again when Jordie points out she NEVER said she was going to let Dolores out, wanting as much distance between them as humanly possible. Jordie finds an empty room on the first floor to change back into her blue dress, muttering what a brat Dolores is… and then hands extend out of the walls making a grab for Jordie’s neck.
Oh yeah, now shit’s getting real. Backed up against the wall, hearing Dolores cry for the dress, Jordie realizes the wallpaper is covered in honeysuckle vine designs, as it bulges forward almost as if more hands were trying to burst through from the other side. Jordie breaks out of the room, not sure which way she’s running as a clock chimes and someone cries “Fifteen minutes.” And then a door opens in front of her and out pops… a SKELETON!
Jordie is shocked speechless as the skinless visitor preens in a nearby mirror before heading in the direction of the party. Jordie hears no screams about an unexpected guest when the vine patterns in the hallway rug wrap themselves around her ankles. Jordie falls to the floor as more vines try to ensnare her wrists before they morph into snakes. Venom dripping from their fangs, the snakes lunge at Jordie as she claws her way to freedom while Dolores sings “Give me back my dress.” Jordie tries to escape back to her sister’s room, where no matter how much Jordie screams Jessica won’t wake up. Jordie backs a chair up against the door, but more green vines slither up and try to unlock it. Jordie goes ballistic, smashing the vines with the chair and stomping on them into green goo, but more keep coming. Thinking fast, Jordie searches for something to stem the tide in her sister’s bag, some kind of weapon, when she finds a tube of exfoliation cream. Guaranteed to remove layers of dead skin.
Jordie spreads the cream near the space under the door and around it while Jessica continues to be useless. The snake-vines start to writhe in agony when they touch the goo and die. Thoroughly convinced this place is a 12 out of 5 on the haunted meter, Jordie uses the time before the vines get in to get out of the dress if it’ll make Dolores’s rampage stop. Back in her semi-dry clothes, Jordie throws a pitcher of water in Jessica’s face and forces her half awake sister into her coat. Dragging Jessica under one arm, and with their bags AND the dress in the other, she threatens the vines that if anything happens to her the dress is finished. The vines obey, and Jordie hurries out the door as Jessica groans about feeling sick. As they head down the hall the candles sputter out one by one, the floor swaying, the shadows dancing erratically. Jordie finally drags Jessica to the balcony overlooking the party, where it’s now one minute to midnight. Jordie cries for help with what little strength she has left, but manages to shout loud enough to get one woman’s attention. The horrified woman screams as Jordie waves the dress like a flag, when Dolores comes speeding down the hallway screaming for her dress. Jordie flings the goddamn thing back at Dolores… who doesn’t care anymore, and is now running straight for the Flanders’ sisters, her hands outstretched like claws as Margaret begs Dolores to stop. The railing gives way, and time seems to stop as Jordie, Jessica, Dolores, and Margaret go over the railing while the people below start moving at hyperspeed. Jordie can hear the clock chime midnight as people sing and scream, and they start to spin and twirl and bleed together in a whirl of light. A single thought exists in Jordie’s mind.
This is the worst party I’ve ever been to.
An eternity later, someone whispered in Jordie’s ear.
“Did you have fun at my party?”
Jordie awakens in a run down room, laying atop splintered wood, her sister inches away, and the scent of honeysuckle in the air. Jessica wakes up demanding to know what’s happened and assuming it’s some twisted joke Jordie’s pulled. Jordie spells it out they spent New Year’s Eve in a haunted house, looking around at the dust and cobwebs in the ballroom and realizing the house has been empty for years. Outside a grainy window, the sisters can see daylight. They’re about to leave when Jordie notices something above the fireplace; a portrait of Dolores and Margaret, and Dolores is wearing the blue dress. It’s then Dolores whispers she only wanted someone to play with besides Margaret, and begs Jordie to stay. Jordie gets the fuck out of there, ignoring Jessica’s complaints about finding the driver and other passengers, and the two sisters flag down a bus far from the mansion. Jessica explains to the driver what happened to their previous bus, but the driver says that bus NEVER made it to the station because of the storm. No one even takes this route unless it’s an emergency. Jessica is too exhausted to argue and collapses in the back while Jordie asks WHY no one uses this route. The driver says there’s nothing up this way except the abandoned Perdido Mansion (Remember Perdido Bay from “The Skeleton’s Revenge?”). He mentions something about a tragedy.
Seems some rich kid and her governess died during a party many years ago when they fell to their deaths.
People even believe the house is haunted.
It’s a sunny January 1st, and the party goers are about to have breakfast. Once their hostess departs to bring her husband his morning meal in bed, they begin discussing all the creepy, disturbing things that went on during the party. They swear they don’t care how powerful this guy is, they’re never going to his parties again. One guy still believes he saw someone blowing out the candles on that table, while a man claims it was probably the same girl who knocked his glass to the ground.
And as they talk among themselves, a faint odor of honeysuckle lingers around the portrait of the girl in the blue dress and her nanny overlooking the guests.
I wonder what the connection between Perdido Bay and Perdido Mansion was. Was Dolores’ last name Perdido?
[Wing: This book is a trip! I’m still amazed I’d never even heard of the series before you started recapping it; it’s so much more fun than I ever could have hoped.]
I once thought of a sequel to this book, “Happy Boo Day,” involving Jordie’s birthday party at her grandparents’ home when the trip gets sidetracked and the guests end up at Perdido Mansion, which has been turned into a hotel. I wrote at least 20 pages in one of my old notebooks, including a sequence where Jordie gets lost in her attic before being attacked by her reflection in a mirror and plummeting through the floor.
With this the last post for 2017, and my last post of this year, I just wanted to say how thankful I am that I’ve been given a space to talk about Graveyard School and Shivers and all the other stuff I’ve recapped so far. It’s difficult for me to find places where I can engage in actual conversation about these books because they’re so niche, and this coupled with Endangered Bodies and Legion of Super-Bloggers has helped me be far more invigorated with my writing than I’ve been in a long time.
Thank you to Wing who gave me this opportunity, and thanks to all of you reading and commenting on these posts.
You guys have helped make life a bit more livable for me.
[Wing: Thanks for joining the team here, Jude. You’ve brought amazing books to the site, and your insight into the genre fiction we recap around here adds so much to what we do.]
Activities Section: Instructions to throw a spooky New Year’s Eve party.
- Polly Hannah’s Wardrobe: N/A