Check out our episode here! Horrid by Katrina Leno
Jane North-Robinson and her mother, Ruth North, are moving to Bells Hollow, Maine, from Los Angeles. Jane’s father, Greer, recently passed away leaving Ruth and Jane with nothing, so they are moving across the country and into the house Ruth grew up in. They've only been in Maine for about thirty minutes when the rain falls so heavily they have to stop their drive and head into a bookstore in Kennebunkport where Jane buys a book. She also spots an Agatha Christie collection, which she loves. This reminds her of choosing to eat her first book. Yes. Eat. When she turned ten, Jane asked her parents for a new bike and when they got her a scooter instead, she got so mad that she ate a page of Alice in Wonderland. For some reason, eating that page soothed her, so she kept on eating every night until she was left with only the cover. Since then, she's refilled the empty covers of her eaten books with journal pages and now she has a large collection. It's one of the few things she was able to bring with her from LA to the creepy old house they’ve just arrived at. When they walk in the front door, Jane decides they are absolutely going to be murdered.
The house is cold, dreary and dark and some of the windows have been broken, so Jane and her mom set up sleeping bags in front of a fireplace in one of the many rooms on the main floor. Ruth has a crew coming to repair the windows and the power should be restored the next day, so they put off really exploring much of the house until later. To get to the room with the fireplace, they pass through a few other rooms including a sitting room with an expensive piano, a dining room and a small kitchen. When they get to the back of the house, Jane begins to smell roses, but it’s not the season for them and Ruth hates them, so they move on to the study. The smell of roses is overwhelming, so Jane goes through the mudroom and out to the backyard. She sees a light come on in one of the upstairs bedrooms and waves up to shadow that passes by the window and continues looking around in the yard. There are roses everywhere. When Ruth comes out to find Jane and bring her back inside, Jane mentions all the roses and that it’s good to have the power on, but no, Ruth says there was no light on and she hasn’t even been upstairs. It must just have been a power surge. Definitely nothing that will cause anyone’s imminent demise.
Ruth and Jane get some shopping done and then settle in for the night. Ruth falls asleep almost immediately while Jane looks through messages on her phone and contemplates sending one to her best friend back in LA, Sal, but she doesn’t have a signal. Then she scrolls down to see the last message her father ever sent her. It was just a quick Outside! but it makes Jane very sad. If only Greer was out there right now. Then she hears a tapping on the side of the house. Is he out there? No, no he’s not. It’s just an old tree. Jane finally manages to go to sleep. The next morning, she decides she’s going to go to school even though Ruth told her she could wait until Monday to start. On the bus, she finally gets signal on her phone and texts Sal that she’s definitely going to be murdered inside the house.
When Jane gets to school, the secretary assigns her a first day buddy, Alana Cansler, who shows her around. She asks about Jane’s first day and how her move was since this is a small town and everybody knows everybody and Jane is obviously new to the area. When Jane tells her she moved into her grandmother, Emilia North’s, old house, Alana seems taken aback and says, after a brief pause, that everyone calls that house the creep house. At lunch, Alana introduces Jane to Susie who lives nearby the creep house and offers to give Jane rides to and from school since they live so close to each other. Alana’s cousin, Melanie, knocks into Alana’s chair and they inform Jane that she’s a horrible bully. School passes and, as Susie drops Jane off in the afternoon, they talk briefly about Jane’s move and they trade phone numbers. Back inside the house, Jane and Ruth talk a little about exploring the house more in the coming days and about why Ruth never came back to Maine to visit her mother after she moved away. Jane feels like her mother is keeping secrets from her, like expensive travel isn’t the only reason why Ruth never came back to North Manor.
That night, still sleeping in front of the fireplace, Jane wakes when she hears a thumping, a sharp scream and the shattering of glass. Jane gets pissed and runs out the mudroom door, trying to catch the jerks who are breaking her windows. She sees two or three shadows running away and angrily storms back toward the house, but stops when she notices that there is a light on upstairs. She sees a hand press against the window, but then the light goes out and everything goes dark. There’s someone inside your house!
Jane goes back inside to find a frantic Ruth and no one else inside the house. Jane is so angry that she doesn’t even realize she’s stepped on the broken glass and now has tiny cuts all over the bottoms of her feet. She remembers another time that she got very angry when she was just six years old. She punched a kid over a LEGO horse. Her dad told her that she can’t go around punching everyone because it’s not the right way to solve problems. Jane returns to the present, but is still wistful over her father’s death.
The next day, Jane walks around the house looking for Ruth and finds her outside in the backyard frantically cutting down all the roses, almost like she is in a trance. When she snaps out of it, Ruth abruptly asks Jane if she wants to go for pancakes, so they head out for a local diner. Over breakfast, Ruth tells Jane that she got a part time job helping out an old friend of hers, but then Jane notices someone staring at her mom. Ruth goes over to the man who turns out to be an old doctor. He addresses Ruth as Ruthellen and stares awkwardly at Jane until she’s introduced. He says it can’t be easy being back in North Manor. Well that’s weird. Ruth chalks it up to a creepy old man being creepy, but still… that’s very odd.
After this creepy encounter, Jane goes to a bookstore and café where she immediately feels at peace amongst the Agatha Christie books. She meets Will, the young manager of the shop, and asks if they have any job openings, which they do, and she is pretty much hired on the spot. She also buys The ABC Mysteries and Will borrows it since she likes Agatha so much. He trades her the book for a free coffee and she leaves the shop, set to return the next week to begin working. Jane and her mom go home and have a pretty normal rest of the day. They get things more set up in their home, get the windows repaired and can actually use their phones inside now. Jane texts Sal, has dinner and gets ready for bed. As she prepares for sleep, hopefully the last sleep on the floor for a little bit, Jane feels something brush along her foot in the bottom of the sleeping bag. It’s a rose petal.
The next day, Jane pretty much forgets about the rose petal. She and Ruth get to work on the upstairs. There are eight bedrooms, but Ruth requests they avoid her parents’ old room and the storage room that is closed off because she’s not ready to deal with those just yet. Jane picks one near the front of the house and begins carrying boxes up. Unfortunately, her box of books rips open and paperbacks topple all down the stairs. She gets upset when she realizes one of her favorite Agatha Christie’s, Poirot Loses a Client was ripped in the fall. She is so flustered and angry that, when she gets to her room, she pulls out another book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and eats page 51. Once relieved of her stress, she begins undoing the bed, removing the duvet, and making a pile of linens to wash. As she’s doing this, her door creaks open. But no one is there. Before going to bed that night, she pulls the bookshelf in front of the door, just in case.
The next morning, Susie picks Jane up for school. Jane shares about her new job at Beans and Books, which Susie loves because that is her brother's shop. They also talk about why Jane and her mom moved back into the house Ruth grew up in, because Jane's dad died, and Susie is super nice about it. Classes pass, then at lunch, Alana finds Jane at her locker. Melanie comes by with her boyfriend and asks Alana if she's finished doing her homework for her in typical bully fashion, but then she starts talking to Jane. Jane realizes that Melanie and her boyfriend were the ones breaking windows at her house, so she says if she does it again, she'll call the police. Melanie takes this as a threat but the boyfriend is able to get her to leave. There's a lot of weirdness between Melanie and Jane about Jane being back in the house, but Jane doesn't understand and gets angry. Alana tells Jane she should avoid Melanie, then shares WHY she's been doing her cousin's homework. Melanie's older sister is in poor health after an accident when she was younger and Alana feels bad about it. All this is very weird to Jane. After school, she spends a lot of time thinking about Melanie and her sister and what she has to do with any of it, but her thoughts are cut short when her mom gets home with dinner. As Ruth washes up, Jane notices a strong smell of roses, but didn't Ruth butcher all of them? Oh yes, she did. Jane goes outside and sees even more rose bushes growing, but instead of pretty red and pink flowers, all of the roses are black.
Ruth refuses to look at or even talk about the roses and Jane goes to bed with a weird feeling in her belly. Why is she being so weird? Jane calls Sal after Ruth goes to bed and they decide that Ruth is just tired and there’s nothing exceptionally wrong with the roses. Jane’s upset about the weirdness and about missing Sal and her dad, so she goes to bed too. School passes without incident the next day, then Jane begins her job at Beans and Books, which also passes without incident. Jane likes Will and they talk about the Agatha Christie book he borrowed from her. They joke a bit, she’s fired and rehired several times, and Jane is able to think about something other than the mass of black roses in her backyard and her mom being weird.
When Jane gets home from work that night, Ruth is out with coworkers from her new job so Jane is alone in the house. Or at least… she thinks she is. She hears quiet laughter and then what sounds like a marble rolling across the floor. And the sounds are coming from the storage room. She braves her way upstairs and toward the storage room door, but stops when she sees a marble rolling out from underneath the door until it stops in the middle of the hallway. The marble reminds her of a time when she was in elementary school and a bully stole her marble that looked exactly like the one she just found. She got so angry with the bully that she cut off her ponytail. Jane snaps out of her memory and back into the hallway of the house. She approaches the storage room door and looks underneath it, expecting to see boxes, but she doesn’t see a single one. It looks like a perfectly normal little girl’s bedroom under there. And then the doorbell rings.
Jane goes downstairs to answer the door, expecting Ruth who maybe had forgotten her house keys, but no. No one is there. She walks outside to take a look around, but sees no one. When she turns to go back into the house, she’s startled to see a single red rose in front of the door. There’s no way she could have missed it when she stepped outside. She carries the rose inside and tosses it on a table next to the door, then catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror in the entryway and stops. She looks different in her reflection. Her hair is a little darker. She looks tired and sunken, and in her hands is the rose she threw on the table. The thorns prick the skin of her palm. She looks down at her hand and sees that she really is holding the rose, and it’s covered in blood.
The next day, Susie picks Jane up for school and says that Alana’s not going to be joining them. Her cousin, Melanie’s ill older sister, died the night before. Alana told Susie that the nurses were confused when they found her because her hands and arms were all cut up. Alana and Melanie miss school for a little bit, Melanie longer than Alana, and time passes. Soon enough, it’s a week before Halloween. Susie invites Jane to go to the Halloween dance with her and Alana and they talk about picking out costumes. This lifts Alana’s spirits. She’s very sad about Melanie’s sister, so Jane can’t even begin to imagine how Melanie feels. Later, after chemistry class, the teacher, Mr. Barker, catches Jane before she leaves the classroom. He asks her how she’s settling in and tells her he went to school with her mother, who he calls Ruthellen, and to send his regards. He says it was a shame when she left and always wondered if she was okay. That’s… odd?
Outside in the hallway, Jane sees Melanie and offers her condolences. She shares that her father recently passed away, so she can commiserate, but Melanie’s not having it. She tells her to get the fuck away and says Jane has no idea how she feels. What’s her deal? Jane’s actually trying to be nice to her! Jane gets so angry thinking about how Melanie is treating her, so she opens her locker, pulls off the corner of a page from her English textbook, and puts it into her mouth. The glossy page doesn’t melt in her mouth like her normal book pages and does nothing to soothe her anger, so she spits it out onto the floor. She eventually calms down, but spends a lot of time thinking about how angry she always gets and how she can’t undo the things she’s done. Her dad can’t un-die. She can’t un-move to this town, though she really wishes she could.
That evening at work, Jane finds another of her favorite Agatha Christie books, and of course, Will takes it from her. He says the timing is perfect because he just finished the other one he borrowed from her, so they talk a little bit about Hercule Poirot and trade books. Jane is still a little bit sad about everything that happened earlier and Will checks on her. She tells him about her father dying, and he’s kind about it, and then they talk about lattes. He got new flavors to add to them recently… lavender and rose. The lavender is good, and then he asks if Jane wants a rose latte but she says no, she doesn’t like roses.
Later, after work, Jane calls Sal. Sal apologizes for missing Jane’s calls the night before but… Jane didn’t call Sal, especially not at what would be 1:00 in the morning. She was asleep by 9:30. Maybe her phone is broken or something because she definitely didn’t make those calls. The rest of the conversation is awkward after that and it ends abruptly, leaving Jane feeling queasy. The only thing that can make her feel better after this mostly terrible day is eating a page out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. After feeling better for a brief moment, Jane begins to feel uneasy. She hears someone moving around in the storage room. But then she remembers it’s not a storage room. She walks toward the room and realizes a light is on inside, and then she sees a shadow pass under the door. Then the light turns off. Then the doorknob turns. Then the door slowly opens an inch. Nope. No thank you. Jane hears her mom come in the front door and bolts downstairs.
Jane tells Ruth that there’s somebody upstairs, so they grab knives and call 911. They head for the mudroom door, but then Ruth remembers her keys are by the front door, so she has to go back through the house. She makes it safely through and they leave for the police station. Jane looks up at her bedroom window and watches as the light in there turns off. Ruth asks Jane what happened and she explains hearing a person walking around and seeing shadows and lights in the storage room. She tells Ruth that it’s not a storage room anymore and asks if maybe someone could be living in there since the house was empty for a while before they moved in. Jane says she thought it was Ruth and that her brain was trying to make it be Ruth so it wouldn’t be so scary. Ruth says that they’re safe, and then they arrive at the police station.
Ruth knows the officer, Officer Elton, who helps them from her teenage years and, after he takes Jane’s hand and says, “you look exactly like her,” Ruth asks to speak with him privately to tell him what happened. Jane doesn’t think she looks too much like her mom, especially when she was younger, and she really thinks she should tell the officer what happened to her herself, but Ruth insists on speaking to him alone. Jane is left by herself feeling uncomfortable and left out of something she should be included in. She gets out her phone while she’s sitting alone and sees a text from Sal saying Ok? weirdo. That doesn’t make any sense to Jane, until she scrolls back through the messages she sent to Sal and finds one that says Everything is so good. Everything is perfect. I love it here. Uh… Jane did not send that message.
When they leave the police station, Jane is freaked out. Did she even see any of that stuff that happened? Did she make it all up? The police said there was no one inside their house, so she must have made it up. Or maybe she’s seeing things… Officer Elton escorts them back to their house and walks through with Ruth to check one more time. Jane feels uneasy as she sits down to eat while Ruth walks through the house. She thinks back to when Melanie was outside breaking windows. Is it possible that it was Melanie who broke in? Was it Melanie who sent those calls and messages from her phone? Why would she even do that?
When the officer leaves and Ruth sits down to eat, she offers to let Jane stay home from school the next day to rest after this exhausting night, but Jane turns her down. Ruth thinks that's ridiculous! If her mother had given her the option to stay home from school, she would have accepted without question. She didn't care for school and got in trouble a lot. Jane didn't know this about her mother, but when she asks more about it, Ruth changes the subject. It seems like Ruth is hiding something from Jane. She goes to her room to go to bed not long after, eating another page from her book and listening to Greer's voicemail message before falling into an uneasy sleep.
The next morning is strained. Ruth couldn't sleep so she started going through the things in her father's study and found a lot of old boring paperwork. Jane asks if her mom remembers her teacher, Mr. Barker, and comments on the old name that people always call her, Ruthellen. She explains that her mother was very proper and sophisticated and hated the simplicity of Jane's name. She also hated that once they moved away they never came back to visit. But really, after living in the house for a short time, Ruth asks if Jane is truly surprised that she never wanted to come back home.
On the way to school, Susie comments on the police driving by the night before and Jane explains to her what happened, and that she probably made everything up. Susie doesn't think so and says that if Jane was a true alarmist, she wouldn't be living in that house in the first place. Uh… why? Because it's creepy? Sure. That's it. Jane also talks about thinking it might have been Melanie who broke in, but she really doesn't know. They get to school, but decide to skip later and go get coffee. Jane and Alana have a lovely conversation about grief and about how Melanie must be feeling but also about how she's an asshole. Then they really think she is when Jane opens her locker to find everything inside shredded to bits. No one but Melanie would have done this. Susie says she'll take Jane to the mall to replace everything that weekend and Alana plans to tell her mom. To take their minds off all this terribleness, the three friends decide to have a sleepover at Susie's house.
After work on Friday, the sleepover plans change. Susie can't host it anymore and neither can Alana, so it falls to Jane and the Creep House. Susie and Alana arrive in PJs with snacks and Jane orders pizzas. She shows her friends around the house and they are stunned, but also find the house a little sad. Susie loves the room with the piano and sits down to play a beautiful song and then the pizza arrives. The delivery person is shitty about the house and Jane gets book-eating mad again. Susie and Alana are kind of afraid that Jane is going to punch the delivery person, but she doesn't. She just needs to go eat a page of her book real quick. She slips away from her friends but before she can make it upstairs, she hears the piano again. And there's no one playing it. Weird…
Jane decides to eat pizza instead of paper, so she goes back to the living room with her friends. She starts to text Ruth but then realizes that she already did. Ruth sent a message about eating dinner with her co-workers and Jane replied for her to take her time, called her mama, and said she was having lots of fun. That doesn't sound like her at all. She almost passes out, then her friends get her some food and they sit and watch a movie together. Jane asks for Susie to turn up the volume but doesn't tell her that it's because she's trying to drown out the piano music that apparently only she can hear.
The next day, Ruth makes breakfast for the girls and then they get ready to leave. Jane is being really weird and thinks that Susie and Alana can't wait to get the hell out of the house. She doesn't even walk them out. Ruth asks if Jane is okay and she flips out saying that she hates the house and breaks down crying. Ruth rushes to her and realizes that she's burning up with a fever. She sends her up to bed while she runs out for medicine, but Jane decides she needs to text Susie and Alana to apologize and tell them she must have been sick and not realized it. She goes downstairs to get her phone, sends the text and then falls asleep standing up. She staggers back upstairs feeling like everything is wrong. And she's right. When she opens her bedroom, it's destroyed and spelled out on the floor in rose petals is the question: do books taste like roses? Jane screams and passes out. Fucking yikes.
But don't worry, it gets worse. When Jane wakes up, she can't move. She can't turn her head. She can't even scream. She's been buried alive. But then she hears Will's voice and is in the doorway of her bedroom. What the hell? Will gets Jane back into bed after explaining he came up to pick up Susie's phone that she accidentally left, but when she lies down, a puff of rose petals floats up around her.
When Jane finally gets out of bed a couple of days later, she's feeling much better. She finds Ruth in her father's study throwing things away, so she offers to help. Ruth takes a pee break while Jane goes through drawers in the desk. In one, she finds a card written to her grandfather, but Jane never knew him, so there's no way she would have made him a card. She asks Ruth about it and Ruth says that, because she didn't know her grandfather growing up and all her friends had grandparents, she asked her father if he could be her grandfather, too. Okay… Weird.
Jane asks if the storage room that's not really a storage room since there are no boxes, a bed and a dollhouse in there after this and Ruth becomes incensed. She says that room was her playroom and then it was a storage room and she doesn't know why her mother got rid of the boxes and added a bed. Maybe she was fucking obsessed with beds! It's a very odd thing to get so angry about, but then Ruth changes the subject to dinner, makes Jane leave the room and locks it. Why is Ruth so angry? Is it grief over the loss of her husband and parents? Must be. Whatever it is, Jane suddenly knows something bad happened in this house.
She goes to her room, stressed out over her mother's rage and grief of missing her father and pulls out The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, tears out a page and begins to eat. She hears the house creaking around her, but then Ruth steps into her bedroom and witnesses the book eating. She gets upset, takes the book and begins to cry. She sits down on the bed, a puff of rose petals fluttering up around her, and sobs, then abruptly leaves the room, taking Jane's book with her. Jane gets angry, begins to cry, too, curls up into a ball and falls asleep.
When Jane wakes, she sees that her mother hasn't come out of her room, so she goes downstairs and plans to sneak into the study. The locked door unlocks and opens as she approaches it, so she goes inside. She looks through a locked drawer and finds lots of school files and report cards of Ruth's. They start out cute and normal, but as the years pass, Ruth seems to get upset and angry. One of the teachers suggests she see a psychiatrist, but then there's a letter from Ruth's dad, Chester, to a doctor informing him that they'd have to have secret appointments because Emilia, Ruth's mother, wouldn't approve. After this comes notices of fights and detentions and suspensions from school, and then an ultrasound. Why would Jane's ultrasound be in the drawer with all this stuff from her mom's time in school?
Jane leaves the study after this and goes up to the storage room, which is also unlocked. She explores the drawers and closet and finds them full of fancy, frilly little girl clothes and a teddy bear and other things for a girl no older than eight or ten. But why? Jane sits down at the vanity in the room and opens those drawers as well. In one, she finds a polaroid of a little girl in a lacy pink dress standing in front of North Manor. It's Jane, but she had never been here before moving just a few weeks ago. She studies the photo more and sees, no, no that's not a picture of herself. It must be someone else. It is. Her name is Jemima Rose. Jane looks into a hand mirror after this and sees the words sister and hi appear in the fog of her own breath. Did her mother have a sister?
After thinking for a little bit about why on earth anyone would keep a girl's bedroom exactly as it was as when she was eight, Jane realizes that that awful thing that happened in the house that she knew happened earlier is that Jemima Rose, her mother's sister, died. But is she a ghost? She can't even think that word. She leaves the room after this and encounters Ruth in the hallway. Jane confronts her mother about Jemima. How could Ruth not tell Jane that she had an aunt who died when Ruth still lived in this house? Is that the reason why she never wanted to come back here? Because she misses her sister? Ruth says that there was an accident that she doesn't want to talk about and that Jemima was never Jane's aunt, she was just a little girl who died and now Jane needs to let her rest.
The next day at school, something strange happens. Melanie comes up to Jane and threatens her to try to get her to leave the Manor and the town. Jane has no idea what's happening, but Melanie says don't act like you don't know. Know what? Melanie says her family is dropping like flies. It sounds very menacing and then, in what feels like an out of body experience, Jane punches Melanie in the face. Susie rushes in and separates them, then takes Jane to the bathroom to cool down. Why would Melanie say all those things? It doesn't make sense.
After school, at Beans and Books, Will and Jane decorate for Halloween. They also talk about the Poirot book that Will hasn't finished yet, Mrs. McGinty's Dead. He asks for a clue and Jane says the mystery is a Secret de Polichinelle, a secret that everyone in town knows so they never talk about it, and they assume that Poirot knows it too, but he doesn't. He says how much he likes the book and then reaches out with a sad look in his eyes like he has something serious to say, but a customer comes in, so he never gets to.
A few days later, Jane goes with Susie and Alana to get stuff for a Rapunzel Halloween costume and then the day arrives. Susie has plans to pick Jane up at eight that night for the school dance. After school, Ruth isn't home, so Jane wanders around, thinking about Jemima. She goes out into the yard and stares at all the roses that just keep blooming even though it's almost November and there have been several freezes. There's no way they should still be growing. Jane texts a picture of the roses to Sal who says she doesn't know anything about roses and that there must be something keeping them alive. Yeah, or someone.
Ruth gets home and gets ready for her own Halloween party with coworkers. Jane helps her put on makeup like a scarecrow and remembers when Greer used to help her get ready for Halloween when she was a kid. Ruth never liked Halloween much, and then Jane realizes why and asks Ruth about it. Halloween is when Jemima died. Ruth says yes and that's why she doesn't like it, then pauses like she's going to say something but then changes the subject and dismisses Jane so she can continue getting ready and leave for her party. Susie and Alana get there early, dressed like a vampire bride and a sexy cat, and then Jane puts on her Rapunzel costume. Alana shares some alcohol she swiped from her parents' liquor cabinet and they head to the dance.
The dance is a lot of fun especially since Alana keeps pulling tiny liquor bottles from her bra. The girls dance and have a great time and Jane pulls out her phone to text her mom that she's enjoying herself, but then she sees a text from Will that says he just finished the book and has to ask… does she not know? Know what?! He says never mind, but she won't let it go. The girls go to the bathroom after and Jane's head starts buzzing and she's freaking out. It's a secret de Polichnelle. She tells Susie and Alana why she's upset and they finally tell her the secret. Jemima Rose fell into a hole in the backyard of North Manor on Halloween while playing Hide and Seek with a friend. They were planting rose bushes and they weren't supposed to be in the yard, but they were and she fell in a hole and got buried alive. Ruth left town for California just after the funeral. But wait, that doesn't make sense. Ruth was a kid when her sister died! Oh no, Jane… Jemima wasn't Ruth's sister… she was yours.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Jane freaks out even more. Everyone in town knows that she had a sister. Susie, Alana, Will, Melanie, Ruth, her teachers. Even Greer knew. Her own father didn't tell her. But Jemima wasn't Greer's daughter, so maybe he didn't feel right about telling her. Still. Everyone knows. Everyone. Except her. She asks Susie to take her home. They talk on the way about how Ruth should definitely have told Jane about having a sister and how awful everything is. When she gets home, she plans to go to bed immediately.
But that doesn't happen. Ruth is coming down the stairs when Jane walks in the door and says she got the text that Jane sent. It's another message that she doesn't remember writing about how much she hates Ruth and how Ruth only ever wanted HER and now she can't have either of them. Uh… Jane definitely didn't send that, but now it's out in the open. Ruth asks who told her about Jemima, but that doesn't matter. Jane says she should have told her she had a sister! Ruth says she tried, but she should have tried harder.
Ruth finally tells Jane what happened when she was a teenager. She says Emilia didn't care anything for her and wished she was a boy to carry on the family name. Ruth got in trouble all the time and then got pregnant. She had plans to give up the baby, but Emilia took her and named her and raised her as her own. When Jemima was old enough, she knew that Ruth was her mother, but their relationship was strained. Ruth, who used to be so angry all the time, thought that her hatred and resentment all went into Jemima when she was born and that there was something wrong with her. But then she died in the rose trench and Ruth left and everything was better after that. She mourned her daughter, but she had to get away. Then she met Greer and then they had Jane and everything was better.
Jane asks how exactly Jemima died, so Ruth tells the story of how she was playing in the yard with the housekeeper's daughter, Annie Cansler, fell into a hole and couldn't get out. The name of the friend rings a bell with Jane and then she puts everything together. Cansler is Alana's last name and therefore Melanie's last name. Melanie's sister, who had an accident as a child and hasn't been right since, must be Annie. That's why Melanie hates her so much. And then it gets worse. Jane realizes that all those messages and calls that everyone thinks are weird weren't made by her, they were made by the ghost of Jemima.
Even though she should be terrified because GHOST!, Jane is no longer afraid. Ruth goes to bed and Jane goes to Jemima's room where she sees her sister appear. They talk quietly, Jane afraid that Ruth will hear them and come in, but Jemima assures her she won't wake up. Then she says that someone is coming and asks if Jane wants to have a little fun. That's when Jane hears a crash downstairs and Melanie's voice. She and her boyfriend Jeff have broken into North Manor. Jane hides in the closet and listens to Melanie explain to her boyfriend that they had to break in tonight since Jane is at the dance and Ruth is at a party to look for something. They start in Jane's room.
Jane stays in Jemima's closet, sure that Melanie is going to leave soon and that everything will be fine, but then she hears Jemima in her head telling her it won't be fine. They have a silent conversation about Jane finally being able to see her and how Ruth used to have long hair like they did until she ate it and had to have it removed from her stomach. Jemima says she knows that Jane likes to eat book pages and that she knows what it's like to love things so much you have to eat them. She liked to eat roses when she got angry because they helped her and Jane does the same thing! Jemima tells Jane that Melanie is in her room touching her special books, taking them, then she gets a truly evil smile on her face and disappears.
There is a loud thump and moaning sounds which startle Melanie's boyfriend so much that he wants to leave, but Melanie shouts that they have to find it! Jeff doesn't think that they'll be able to find whatever it is after twenty years, so he leaves. Jane thinks all this is hilarious and then all her fear drains away and turns into anger at Melanie for being inside her house. Jane steps out into the hallway as Jemima flickers the lights and Melanie screams. Jane asks why Melanie is in her house and she finally says she's looking for something that belonged to her sister. Then she asks if Jane knows what actually happened to their sisters.
Melanie tells a story that ends with Jemima falling into the hole in the yard, but it starts very differently. She says that her mother would sometimes bring Annie over to play while she cleaned up the Manor and it seemed like Annie and Jemima were friends, but actually Jemima was very mean to Annie. She picked on her. She cut her hair. She pushed her around. She killed kittens. She broke her arm. She tried to push her into the hole. She tried to kill her. Jemima says Melanie is lying and that she'd never hurt anyone. She was just having a little fun, but then Annie pushed her in and didn't try to help her out. Jane says this to Melanie and she doesn't deny it, but then she says that her sister was tormented since then by Jemima's ghost and then she finally broke down and ended her own life. All Melanie wants to do now is get her sister's teddy bear that she left in the yard all those years ago and get out. Jane says that all this is fucking pointless because both their sisters are dead, but then Jemima chimes in that she's having fun. Melanie tries to leave but the doorknob won't turn and then the lights go out.
When the lights come back on, Melanie and Jemima are gone. Jane feels her phone vibrate and realizes she has a bunch of missed texts and calls from Will, Susie, Alana and Sal. Will's last text says he's coming over to talk and then she sees his truck pull into the drive. She stops him from coming in and says everything's okay and she'll call him tomorrow. He offers to take her out to the diner or to take her anywhere to get her out of the house, but again she says everything's okay and she'll call him tomorrow. As he leaves, she thinks about losing Greer and losing her friendship with Sal and then she thinks about how similar she and Ruth and Jemima are. Just three little girls who like to eat things that they shouldn't to fill them up with something other than unstoppable rage.
Jemima reappears then and they talk about how mean Melanie is and how Annie was mean too. Annie laughed at Jemima's dresses and hair and she didn't like that. Jane asks where Melanie is then and Jemima says she went for a walk by the rose bushes. Jane runs outside when she hears a cry for help, but Jemima tells her she should go back inside. Then she falls and hits her head. She tries to get up but her body is so heavy. Jemima tells her she should just go back inside but she can't. She staggers up when she hears another cry and manages to get over to a hole by the roses and sees Melanie in it. Then the dirt begins to swallow her up. The only thing left out is her hand, but then it starts to sink down into the ground, too.
Jane tells Jemima that she can't let Melanie die, she should go get Ruth, but Jemima says that they let her die and what's happening now is only fair. She says Melanie was so mean to Jane, she stole her journal, the last one she had ever written in about Greer. Jane struggles but then just stands by the roses as Melanie sinks. She thinks that Jemima is right. This is finally fair. Nothing has been fair since Greer died, since they had to move into this house, but now… this is fair. As the dirt swallows Melanie, Jane puts a rose petal into her mouth and swallows it, too.