Author: Candyland (candy__chan)
Fandom: Coraline: A book by Neil Gaiman. A young girl makes her way through a door into a world that at first glance seems to mirror her own. But soon she realizes that things are not always as they seem, and she must keep her wits about her if she wants to escape with her parents, her eyes, and her life.
Taunt: My fandom has a bouncing mouse circus. ‘Nuff said.
“Grandma, hurry up!” Ginny scurried ahead. “I want to see!”
With a good natured sigh and a shake of the head, Coraline did her best to oblige. It was difficult for one to hurry, though, when one had long since lost the physical exuberance of youth and the capability to walk without one’s joints creaking in protest. But that was the way of the world when one reached what is commonly known as old age.
But while the body might not have been completely cooperative on all occasions, the mind was as sharp as ever, and the strength was there when it was called for. And now it seemed to be called for. How else was she to keep up with a rambunctious granddaughter who did not wish to wait?
So she hurried up to the flat where she had once lived with her parents, may they continue to rest in peace. She was at the age to have her own children and grandchildren; her own mum and dad had long since passed on. They never seemed to recall what had happened to them beyond the very threshold she was about to cross.
But Coraline remembered. She never forgot, not even as she grew up, went off to school, married, began her own family. The true story of how she had bested the beldam had become a bedtime story for her children, and now her granddaughter, who laughed it off as silly.
They had been in the area, and heard that the ancient building was to be torn down to make room for some new development, and so she had decided to go see the old place for herself, just one more time. There were many fond memories held in that old house, along with the less than pleasant recollection of her greatest trial.
Upon hearing of the impending adventure, her granddaughter had begged to come along; she had refused initially, but she had been outvoted on the matter. She felt a vague sense of unease about it all, as she did not know exactly what she would see when they arrived. Her son-in-law had been good enough to drive them, but he had opted to wait in the car. He had terrible allergies, and he was afraid the dust would set him sneezing for the rest of the week.
As she moved up the stairs, she glanced down towards the lower flat, where Misses Forcible and Spink had resided with their dogs, their odd knick-knacks, and their stories of their days in the theatre. Miss Spink had passed before Coraline had gone away to university, and by the time she had come back, Miss Forcible had moved. Coraline’s mother had said that a distant relative had come to collect her. Coraline did not know what had become of the woman in the ensuing years, but she was fairly sure she could make an educated guess.
Her eyes then moved skyward towards the top flat, where Mister Bobo had lived with his mouse circus. It still amused her to think that she had once thought him nameless, simply referring to him as the Crazy Old Man Upstairs. Even now, though, she still could not figure out exactly how the mice had known so much. Warning her against the door, saying her name correctly when no one else could, calling her their savior…all the little messages Mister Bobo had brought to her from them. It still baffled her. She did not know where the man had gone. Again, an educated guess could be made.
The empty flat was to the side, where she had encountered her Other Father for the final time. She preferred not to think about that too much, though. He had tried to help her, though Her influence had proven too strong, and so leaving him down in that horrible cellar had not brought her any happiness.
And finally, the place they were coming to see, the flat where she had lived with her parents.
“Ginny, be careful,” she said, doing her grandmotherly duty. “The floorboards aren’t what they used to be. Don’t want you to fall through. Your parents might be cross with me if you do.” Despite a jocular tone, she was completely serious about that, but the little girl laughed anyway.
She herself was treading carefully as she moved through the rooms that she and her parents had once occupied and called home. Some of the boards were visibly rotted through, and some were missing entirely. The walls were in no better shape; when she had asked about the place, she had been warned that it was in danger of falling down, and she now saw that to be absolutely correct. The building had stood empty for quite some time, it seemed, and it showed.
“Grandma, this place is incredible!” Ginny said happily, skittering from room to room without any heed to the warning for caution. “You really lived here?”
Coraline had to smile. She was certainly seeing how people who knew the both of them would say that Ginny seemed to take after her grandmother more than anyone. Always running around, always on the move as she searched for something new to explore.
While Ginny’s search pattern was more erratic, Coraline moved with a bit more deliberateness towards one particular room. That was the real reason she had come back here after all this time. She wanted to know if it was still there. Down the corridor to the drawing room, where her own grandmother’s uncomfortable furniture had stood.
As she arrived there, Ginny popped up beside her, seemingly out of nowhere. “What’re you looking for, Grandma?” she asked, walking along beside her. “What was this room?”
Coraline did not answer. She was far too busy staring at the spot on the far wall. She had been led there that first night by a mouse (or was it a rat?) in the corridor, scratching its way along the floor, and then she had gone there of her own free will to seek and save her parents after they had been stolen away by Her. Coraline rarely thought of the monstrous woman by any true name, preferring instead to think of her only as Her, or occasionally the beldam.
The door was still there, as foreboding as ever.
But time had not been kind to it, either. The wall around it had crumbled, and the door itself was swaying, as it seemed to be hanging on by a single hinge, the upper one. So it was closed, but only in the loosest sense of the word.
“Grandma, what’s back there?” Ginny asked, bouncing in front of Coraline.
Before Coraline could reply or remind the girl not to jump around like that on such old boards, the movement sparked by Ginny’s bound seemed to do something. A vibration moved along the floor, up the wall, and to the doorframe…
There was a loud crack.
And the door fell away, slamming to the ground in a cloud of dust and broken wood. The doorframe splintered where the locked knob had held it shut, sending a small spray of fragments into the room.
Instinctively, Coraline hunched and wrapped her arms around the girl to protect her from any flying debris. As the dust settled, she glanced up towards the spot. Beside her, she heard Ginny let out a soft “Wow…” of surprise.
There was no brick wall behind the door.
Only a gaping, reaching darkness that seemed to swallow any light that dared venture towards it.
Coraline cut her off. “Ginny, leave. Now.”
“Go. Now. Go outside. And don’t look back.”
Ginny was obviously startled. After all, Grandma almost never spoke harshly to her, and she sounded very serious. In a rare moment of youthful wisdom (as the young may be smart, but are rarely wise), she hurried to obey, scampering back down the corridor towards the front door.
But it was odd, the little girl thought as she got to the front door. She could have sworn she heard a scratching noise near her somewhere. It did not sound quite like a mouse; they’d had a mouse in their home once, much to her mother’s dismay, and so she knew what they sounded like. This sounded different, but she didn’t know what it sounded like.
And as she opened the door, she could have sworn she heard a woman’s voice say her grandma’s name.
How very, very strange.
Ginny’s father was waiting for her outside. She tried to tell him what had happened during the abortive trip into the old house, but the story didn’t seem to want to come out right. Her father looked confused when she told him of a door that opened onto nothing, and hearing a strange voice whispering, and Grandma’s sudden instructions for her to leave. And all the while, she kept thinking that somehow, this all sounded sort of familiar, like she was remembering a long-forgotten fairy tale or bedtime story…
Her father straightened. He still looked confused, but he told her to get in the car and wait. He would go in and retrieve Grandma, and they would go home. Enough was enough for the day.
But no sooner had he put his foot on the lowest step did the building begin to sway and shake. He jumped back and stumbled backwards towards the car as the first large piece of wood came crashing down, from the roof to the ground. He dove behind the car and told Ginny to get her head down. She did not listen, and continued to observe through the car window.
The rest of the ancient building followed quickly, tumbling down into a heap of faded, broken wood and crumbled rubble. It took mere seconds, though it felt a great deal longer than that.
Ginny and her father both watched the sight in awed amazement as the ground shook beneath them. Neither was hit by anything, or hurt. But as the last piece of roofing landed on top of the pile, with a few faded shingles fluttering from it, both let out cries of horror.
Grandma Coraline was still inside the building.
They hurried to town and summoned the police, telling them what had happened. Rescue workers rushed to the scene, though it was doubtful that they would find the woman alive. Her age and the amount of debris were both factors against her in her chances for survival. Nevertheless, there was always a chance, and so they began to search.
Ginny stood beside her father as the dig began. In spite of her fear, she felt a certain guilty fascination at all the fuss and noise and equipment being wheeled in to help clear the site. She had never seen anything like this before, and it intrigued her.
A movement caught her eye, but there was nothing there when she turned her head to look.
How odd. She could have sworn she saw something there. She thought it had looked like a pair of eyes, glowing like a cat’s. But that was silly. There wouldn’t be any cats around here.
The search continued, and the rubble was cleared away.
Officials were baffled when they reported to the family that no trace of anything had been found. No body, no clothing, no personal effects, no sign that anyone had been in the building when it collapsed. But her granddaughter and son-in-law both insisted that she had not come out of the old complex.
She had not left, but no sign of her was found in the wreckage. It was as if Coraline had simply…
PS. Moo ha ha XD It took me ages to decide how to end this, and I ultimately decided to throw the villain a bone, because I thought the Other Mother was actually a pretty cool bad guy, and I’m one of the weird ones who tends to like the bad guys.
I’m also going to add that this is speculation based off the BOOK universe, rather than the movie. It was a decent movie, but I thought that the book was much better. Anyway, that’s the end of this. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!