Melissa Slogar laid sideways across her bed and stared up at the underside of her lacy pink canopy. She was bored. Bored bored bored bored bored. The house was so empty these days. There was no one to play with, nothing to do. Her mother was hardly ever home and there was no one else left. They didn’t even have those awful parties anymore because practically everyone else was dead, which was so boring. Dead people were boring. Her mother was boring. This empty house was boring. Boring boring boring.
She was so bored that she’d even welcome back that stupid little murderous teddy bear. Maybe it would try to kill her and that wouldn’t be boring. Maybe she could kill it so that it would be dead again. That wouldn’t be boring. That would be kind of fun.
Melissa rolled over onto her stomach and pushed forward with her toes until her eyes and nose hung over the edge of the bed. She stared down at the lacy pink ruffles of the bed skirt and the shaggy pink rug under her bed. She couldn’t have the stupid bear back. It was long gone. Her mother would have to start all over with some other stuffed animal and Melissa didn’t even know when she was going to start since she was never home anymore and okay, Melissa didn’t want to marry a stuffed animal because that was stupid but she was bored now and at least a stupid stuffed animal husband would give her something to do.
Melissa pushed forward again, sliding off the bed until her head rested on the shaggy pink rug. She grabbed the bed skirt and shoved it up to look under the bed. A dozen pairs of shiny black eyes stared back at her. She kept all her old stuffed animals under the bed. Her mother wouldn’t let her get rid of them but Melissa wasn’t a baby anymore. She was too old for all the stupid stuffed animals her mother made the maids arrange on her bed, so every morning when they were done she shoved them all under the bed. Maybe she’d just pick something out herself and take it down to the lab so her mother would get the hint and get started already. She reached under the bed and pulled out an orange-and-black striped tiger that had a sharp-toothed smile that Melissa had always liked. Those teeth looked like they could do some damage.
Melissa tucked the tiger under her arm and rolled the rest of the way off of the bed. The bedspread kind of slid off with her but the maids could fix that later. She got to her feet and shook out the ruffles on her stupid black dress, then left the room to take the tiger down to her mother’s lab.
Melissa dropped the tiger on the workbench in her mother’s lab and turned to leave but before she even got to the door she was bored again. She wasn’t supposed to be in the lab but since her mother wasn’t around she guessed she could do whatever she wanted. There were a lot of interesting things in her mother’s lab. All sorts of knives. Electrical stuff. Chemicals. A whole cupboard full of chemicals. Bottles with long names on them and beakers and flasks and stirring things. Melissa looked at the cupboard and then back at the tiger. She didn’t have a brain for the tiger, but maybe she could make the solution her mother soaked the brain in so that it would be ready when her mother got back. Maybe she could use the knives to get the tiger ready. Knives were not boring. Maybe, if her mother didn’t come home soon, she’d go out and get a brain by herself. A really cool one, and then the tiger would be fun, and if her mother was mad, well, that would just show her that maybe she shouldn’t leave Melissa at home alone and bored all the time.
Melissa opened the cupboard and got to work. She meant to use her mother’s notes, but the notes were long and hard to understand and boring, so Melissa just kind of skimmed. She got out a large beaker and poured the chemicals from her mother’s notes into it. Measuring was boring so she skipped that part but pouring and stirring was fun, and then the mixture started to turn colors, and bubble, and heat up, and that was not boring, that was interesting, so Melissa pulled all the bottles out of the cupboard and poured lots of things in and mixed and stirred and then she poured in a few drops from a small brown bottle with a skull symbol on it and fizzed and bubbled and made smoke. Melissa giggled and added more, and the cloud of smoke rose from the beaker and filled the room, and Melissa added some more, even though it smelled kind of bad and made her head sort of spinny. The spinning was interesting, too.
Melissa giggled again and lifted the bottle to add some more but froze with the bottle in the air over the beaker. There was a growling sound coming from somewhere in the room. Melissa shook her head—it really was getting very spinny—and she heard the sound again, only it wasn’t just one growl, it was lots of growls. She turned her head carefully. The tiger toy was standing on her mother’s workbench on all four legs and it was growling it at her. While Melissa watched it sort of shimmered and then next to it there was another workbench with another tiger and it was growling too, and there was another workbench behind that one and there was a growling tiger on that one, too. The tigers opened their mouths and their growls turned into taunts. “Boring, boring, boring,” they growled. “Stupid. Baby. Stupid. Boring. Boring. Stupid.”
Melissa was not going to be taunted by stupid stuffed tigers. She grabbed for one of her mother’s knives, but she forgot she was already holding the brown bottle, so when she grabbed for the knives she accidentally dropped the bottle into the beaker. It shattered in the beaker and then the beaker shattered and the chemicals hissed and bubbled on the table. Her mother was going to kill her for damaging her precious lab, but Melissa couldn’t think about that for long because another thick, heavy cloud of the smoke filled the room so she couldn’t see at all.
Something soft hit her on the leg, but she couldn’t see what it was, and then she felt sharp teeth on her ankle and she screamed and kicked out and the soft thing disappeared but then another soft thing hit in the shoulder, hard, and knocked her to the ground. Melissa rolled up on her hands and knees and crawled to where she thought the door was but she couldn’t find it, and then there was another crash, and another, and it sounded like all of the bottles and beakers were breaking, and the growling got louder and louder. Melissa was being pestered by poltergeists and she couldn’t get away from them. She covered her head with her arms and huddled on the floor and screamed and screamed for help, but she was all alone, so no one came.
So right now the scores stand like this:
Lord Slogar -45
Professor Helena Slogar 0
Melissa Slogar -40
Elias E. Gorr -5
The Old Dam -25
Cousin Mordecai -10
Willem Stark -5
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