The next morning I saw that Grey had left a message, checking on me because we hadn’t talked in a few weeks.
I needed time so I headed uptown to see him.
On the way, I was reading over the new passage in the journal and I noticed that something else had been written in it before, but had faded or been erased… It was part of the story my father told me when I was little, about Elainnor (I always thought it was spelled “Eleanor” until Augustus told me.) It was the part where she first sets out to gather the four things she needs… I could only read a few lines clearly but I could see the word “Galifanx” which I remembered.
I should mention that since I’ve had this volume I’ve also had dreams about that story. Maybe it’s been sinking in while I’ve been carrying it with me (along with the compass and the stick. I must look totally ridiculous walking around the city like Henry David Thoreau.)
That’s what was on my mind when I noticed that the cab driver had been talking to me about the weather. He was complaining about how it was supposed to be hot and sunny today. I looked out through the front windscreen and it looked bright as can be. We arrived at Grey’s, I paid and got out.
And that’s when I saw the black cloud moving up 3rd, blocking out the sun. I knew in an instant. The Storm.
I ran inside. Remembering how slow the elevators were, I took the stairs to the 7th floor. Grey let me in and I bolted the door. Even with the door locked and the apartment hidden you can still see out the windows. Outside was totally dark. And then it slowly faded back to day.
I thought it was gone, that I’d outrun it, but then we started hearing the banging. At the door, inside the walls… It was trying to get to me, or get back into Neithernor by following me through.
With the apartment hidden I couldn’t call a door to Neithernor (and even if I could’ve I worried it could somehow break in and I would’ve let it in after me.)
I was going to call Cole but I thankfully noticed my phone’s screen flickering and remembered that The Storm could reach through technology too. So Grey and I spent two days trying to figure out what to do, all the while listening to The Storm inside the walls, trying to find a way in.
We were trapped.
At one point I concocted a plan to race out the window and down the fire escape but there was no way of knowing how long it would take me to get down or how quickly it would notice I had run out. Grey tried to assure me it couldn’t get in as long as the front door was locked, but even he didn’t know how strong it was, what it was capable of.
And then the paintings started coming off the walls.
It was banging harder and harder, trying to break through.
I was terrified and not hiding it well. I felt terrible for bringing this to Grey, who’d managed to stay hidden for decades. I had to do something. I had to get out, or at least somehow find a way to tell Cole, and tell you.
And then I realised I had the stick with me.
Couldn’t I do some kind of magiq and fix this? Somehow? Hurt it or distract it or get a message through it? I tried to run through the minnying, thinking maybe I could pass through to the floor below, or leap to another building… But it all seemed ridiculous. I could do that in Neithernor, which is full of magiq, but what could I do here?
And then something happened. It’s a blur, but looking back I must’ve been running through the stories I knew, trying to find something I could use to fix all of this. I just needed to get myself together, and stop freaking out. My father would be counting on me to be brave. To solve this and keep fighting. I barely felt the stick shivering in my hand…
When Grey yelled for me to come to the parlour.
I ran in and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The journal was floating in mid-air. Not floating actually, but flapping. It turned and banged itself against the window. Then it dove to the coffee table and exposed the inner side of its cover. I didn’t know what was happening, what I was supposed to do…
Until I saw the compass crawling out of my bag, across the coffee table, with the little loop on its top holding a pen, which it dropped beside the journal.
Grey was in shock. I was in shock. What was happening? Was I doing this?!
I was. I raced over, scrawled a note on the cover and then the book flipped over, the compass crawled onto it, and it took off into the air again, flapping toward the window.
At first I thought it had something to do with the bird in Neithernor. The saddle on its back. But then it dawned on it. The ant and the caterpillow.
I was somehow sending a message to my boyfriend with the enchanted contents of my purse, using a magic spell I made up from a fairytale my father told me.
I actually asked the book if it knew where it was going before I opened the window for a second and it flew out. I watched it flap down Park Avenue until it was too small to see anymore.
I turned to Grey who hadn’t moved a muscle.
He finally said, “If there was ever a doubt you were a Green…”