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by Jester
Rated: E · Novel · Dark · #2269297
Margot can't get the attention of the adults. To get obnoxious, she sings Kumbaya till...

Chapter 9

Birthday Trick

WTF!. I'll try again. Margot wound her way around the azaleas to the same bay window and began rapping, this time more fervently. Now both Laurel and Bob seemed to hear the noise. They peered out the window as Margot kept rapping.
Can't they see me? Oh, I get it She slapped her forehead.... This must be a birthday trick!

Pulling playful stunts on the birthday boy or girl had been a lively tradition at Hoyt House. She wondered what sort of practical joke her buds had prepared for her 30th. Last month was Josh's birthday. Nothing too bizarre for him, though. Not until he went out to his car. Someone had filled the interior with helium balloons. Poor Josh. He had to pop them all (50 or more) before driving home.

Oh how funny. Pretty clever, I must admit. You guys sure got me this time! So let's party! Margot returned to the front door and pounded as best she could.

"Did you hear that Bob? I could swear that I heard a soft tapping noise again." Lauren began to doubt herself.

"I sort of heard it too", Bob said. Now both stood in the open door casting their gazes everywhere but at Margot.

"All right you two, Margot commanded, "This has got to be the best birthday trick ever! It's as if you really don't see me. I wonder whose idea...." The door slam cut her off mid-sentence.

They're taking this a bit too far. Practically locking me out. At the bay window again, She hollered, "Hi everybody! I see you in there and I plan to join you whether you see me or not." No response at all from any of the partygoers.

"After all that I have been through to get here tonight, I'm in no mood for this. It's beginning to hurt. Stop it guys. I get the joke."

The front door opened again. Lauren stood there and said, "I wonder what's taking her so long this time" Determined to get in, Margot rushed past Lauren and entered the living room before the door was shut.

The Larson's rat terrier, Greta, approached Margot and sniffed up and down her legs, tail wagging. Hi Margot! I'm happy that you're here.

"Oh Greta! Such a good friend! At least you say Hi to me."

Lauren is playing her role all too well, Margot complained to herself. I wonder how long they are going to keep this up.

"Any sign of Margot anywhere out there?", Bob asked.

Lauren gave a look of disgust at the door jam. "Not yet. Late as usual. The Late Margot Green."

"Well Lauren, I'm not late this time!", Margot mentally yelled at her. Lauren just stared off somewhere.

Margot carefully studied Lauren's face as she challenged her: "Are you playing the birthday trick on me?" Then smiled, "You rascal!" That otta work, Margot figured. But there was nothing from her good friend Lauren.
Bob and the others carried on as if Margot was not there, apparently waiting for her. He went to the refrigerator to get a beer. Others hung out around the spiked punch bowl, chatting. A poker game was in full swing at another table. All were pulsing to Adele: "Hello from the Other Side" playing in the background.

All without Margot, whose mind was in a spin. Now it's more like they are ignoring me just to be mean. But they're not mean people. I don't get it. They're taking this a bit too far. This has been one hell of a night.

And who are those other people?, she wondered. Her attention was caught by several other party-goers hovering around. She didn't recognize any of them. They paid scant attention to her other than a gaze her way upon entering the house. Other than that, they ignored her too.

"Hi Margot!" Lauren and Bob's seven-year-old son Beny ran down the stairs and grabbed at her.

"Wanna color with me?" Beny had received a large collection of color markers for Christmas.

Margot almost in tears, "Beny! Oh Beny, of course! Yes." If I can't play with the adults, guess I'll play with Beny.

Beny began to run upstairs till Lauren intercepted him. "Margot isn't here yet sweetheart." Lauren had learned to be patient with Beny. Give him some space when he was obsessing about something. "But she'll be here soon."

Beny frowned, "She's right next to you, Ma."

Lauren chose to ignore the remark. Let's not open that door. Instead of thinking how adorable Beny is, talking about his imaginary friends, Lauren got the creeps. What's going to happen with Beny next, poltergeists in my home? She couldn't get those scary scenes in The Exorcist movie out of her head.

"I need to ask you a question Beny. Does your bed ever shake at night?"

"No." He knotted up his eyebrows. "Why would my bed shake?"

This must seem so weird for Beny to have his Mom such a question. "Just promise to tell me if it ever does, OK?"

"OK." Then, turning to Margot, "Let's go upstairs and color, Margot!"

Bob had been listening nearby. Lauren turned to him and wondered, "Maybe Beny needs some kind of psychiatric help."

He felt protective of Beny. "I don't want to jump to any conclusions right now. That's what shrinks do, always in a hurry to find a DSM diagnosis that fits someone's behavior."

Lauren looked at him skeptically. but said nothing.
"Next, they will prescribe a drug to make our Beny all better. That's one reason why I wouldn't be in favor of it."

Margot joined Beny in his bedroom. "Look at all the different colors. It's like a rainbow."

They don't look so bright to me, Margot thought.

Beny laid out sheets of white paper for the two of them. "I'm gonna draw the bakers. What are you gonna draw?"

"I'm going to draw a picture of your front door. The one I just pounded on."

Beny presented her with the tub of colored markers. It held dozens of them. Margot reached for one that resembled blue. But her fingers went right through the plastic felt marker. I can't grab it enough. Weird or what? She grabbed at markers over and over, wondering why they seem to be so slippery.

"Beny I think I'll play something else. By the way, who are the bakers?"

"They always make bread in the kitchen", he replied dismissively.

"Oh? I've never seen anyone here making bread before." I've never seen either Lauren or Bob ever baking bread. What's he talking about?
Lauren clearly heard Beny's side of the conversation. Now Beny's talking with his new imaginary friend, Margot, who isn't even here. And what was that about bakers? Oh my, what's next?

Lauren called for him, "Beny, uhh ....have you eaten supper yet?"

"No. I'm just playing with Margot. But she can't do the colors right."

Why must we have a child that gives me the creeps? With a hand to her forehead, Bob is so casual with Beny's overactive imagination. 'It's healthy for a child'. Yeah, right. Maybe, maybe not. But I gotta tell him something. "It's just your imagination honey. Nothing to be afraid of."

"It's only Margot Mommy! Not the others."

The 'others' again!, Lauren groaned inwardly. Who could they be? No... I don't want to know! We might need professional help. Bob and I need to talk.

For Margot, it was time for self-talk. OK, Margot. Let's find out one thing: Is this the birthday trick or not? And if it's not, what then? "Beny, remember how we like to play jokes on the birthday boy or the birthday girl?

"Yeah. That's always funny!", Beny smiled.

"Do you think that they are playing the birthday trick on me tonight?"

"I don't know. Usually, I have to keep it a secret. But no one told me that."

What is happening? Where's my reality? No one seems to see or hear me but Beny and Greta. What am I now, someone's imaginary friend? What's happened to me? Nah....Margot! This is just a strange dream.

"Beny! Guess who's here." The arrival of two out-of-town cousins distracted Margot. "Remember how I said that Jake and Mara would be here. You probably don't remember them."

"Oh Jake, It's been so long!! Hi Mara. So glad you could make it. This is Margot's 30th, you know."

Jake and Mara nodded eagerly and made a beeline for the table with spiked punch and finger food.

Looks like Jake and Mara brought some friends with them. Margot watched three "friends" trail behind Jake and Mara.... totally ignoring Lauren. What the hell! It's like Lauren can't see them. And they don't seem to see her. But how can that be?

"I'm sorry my parents act that way Margot. They can be so rude!" Beny was exasperated by his parents' behavior. "They act like you aren't even here!. And what about the other three who came with Jake and Mara? Who are they? They totally dissed them...." He rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever."

Margot contemplated this. Yeah. Jake and Mara also acted like I was not even there. They know me. More than weird. Or are they also part of the birthday trick conspiracy?

"Ever ask your parents why they do that?"

"Yeah, twice," he said sadly. "The first time they looked at me like I was from another planet. The next time Ma got upset with me. So I stopped asking them. They already think something's wrong with me anyway. I don't get it."

Margot didn't get it either. Clearly, there were 4 people at the door. No... 41/2 people. The fifth one was hardly there at all. Weird. Pale as can be....

She looked around the first floor. Through the windowed pocket doors, she could see the living room as expected, however, it was rather dim looking. A TV was on with the ESPN channel. Jake was lounging on a couch sipping a beer, apparently oblivious of her.

I don't like this. No hugs. No smiles. No real contact. And... no Josh. I need contact dammit! Margot yelled out into the void. I want someone's warm breath on my cheek. Forget about Josh for now. A bear hug from Bob. Just anything!

Screaming now. "Is anyone willing to hear me?" Margot, embarrassed about her outburst, looked around. Apparently, no one heard her.
"OK dammit! I'll keep yelling till someone hears me. I'm going to be really obnoxious. I'm warning you." Margot waited in silence, nothing.

OK Margot, she asked herself, what would be really obnoxious? I know! That awful 'Kumbaya' hymn.

"Someone's waiting Lord, Kumbaya. Kumbyaya...Someone's crying Lord, Kumbaya. Kumbyaya" All right. Keep it up. Be relentless Margot till one of them says, Uncle!

"I won't quit! Someone's praying Lord, Kumbaya. Kumbyaya... Someone's hurting Lord, Kumbyaya... Someone's...."

Next, Margot heard, "Hey You! What are you doing here?"

End of Chapter 10


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