I never liked going to my Old Granny’s house. It’s creepy, and smells funny. And Old Granny makes me nervous. She must be five hundred years old already, but she doesn’t use a wheelchair or a walker like old people should. No, she may be old, but she moves awful quick.
So I was bummed when my mom told me I had to spend a couple weeks with Old Granny this summer. I had better things to do, like hang with my friends at the mall and talk about the boys we’ll date and the clothes we’ll wear when school starts. It’s my senior year, after all. You’ve got to plan ahead for this stuff.
“She’ll confiscate my phone and iPod,” I told Mom. “There’s no computer in that house. She’s a Nazi.”
“Don’t let Old Granny hear you say that,” Mom fussed. “Besides, two weeks without toys won’t kill you. She’s getting older and could use your help. You might even find that you actually like her, if you can manage to give her a chance.”
“Not another word. You’re going, and that’s the end of it.”
She just doesn’t get it.
So on Day One at Old Granny’s house, she cut me off from the outside world, as expected. I was forced to write stuff down in a notebook just to keep my sanity.
“Everybody needs to get back to the real world sometimes,” she said. The real world. Yeah, I always dreamed of living like the pioneers. I so don’t rock the Pilgrim look.
I tried to explain it politely.
“I have senior year to plan for. If I don’t talk to my friends, they’ll forget me. You don’t want me to be one of those geeky outsider kids with no friends, do you, Old Granny?”
She gave me this hard look. You know, like a wolf might look at a bunny. Then she cackled. Cackled. I swear.
“If those brats can forget you in two weeks, they’re not real friends. They’re posers, and you don’t need them, honey.”
Posers? Where’d the old bat hear a word like that?
“You heard me,” she said, and smiled. At least she still has all her own teeth.
Okay, so maybe she isn’t completely senile. But she still gives me the creeps.
Day three at Old Granny’s house, and we’ve been cooking for two days. It’s insane. And she still eats meat. You should see what she went through to cook a roast. What a time sink. But it smelled so good that I had to taste it. Yes, I shamefully admit that I ate cow, and I enjoyed it.
That night she said, “Well, if you keep on being so sweet, maybe I’ll tell you a secret before you go home. I have to be sure I can trust you, though. We’ll see.”
A secret? What kind of secret can she have? Now I’ll have to play along to see what gives.
Day seven at Old Granny’s, and I guess it hasn’t been so bad. I haven’t slept too great, though, because I’ve heard wild animals outside every night. I won’t say I’m scared, but they do make a racket.
Even at a thousand years old, Old Granny still does her own gardening. She’s had me out there every day helping her. It’s boring, sweaty labor. But it’s kind of fun to plant flowers, and Old Granny cooks with herbs she’s grown herself. I have to admit, her yard smells pretty nice.
On day eight, Old Granny said I’ve proved I can be trusted.
“I’ve had a good time with you,” she said. “You’ve even put on a little weight since you’ve been eating proper food. You look healthier, though you seem a little tired. Isn’t your bed comfortable, honey?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s those wild animals making noise all night. They keep me awake. How have you put up with that for two hundred years?”
She gave me her wolfish look and chuckled like an evil genius.
“Two hundred years? You flatter me. I don’t mind the critters, though. They’re not always this active. It’s because the moon is full tomorrow. And that’s the perfect time to show you my secret. You’ve earned it.”
Was she trying to creep me out on purpose? Because oddly enough, I wasn’t creeped out, just curious. She lives out here in the sticks and does everything herself. She’s ancient, but she has more energy than all my friends. She still looks pretty good, too, and she’s never even heard of Botox.
It’s the tenth day. No one will believe what happened last night, so I can’t tell anybody. That’s why my journal is so handy. When I’m five hundred like Old Granny, I can look at this and know it really happened.
We cooked and gardened all day yesterday, and the whole time I thought about Old Granny’s big secret.
When dinner was over and we got the dishes washed- by hand, naturally- Old Granny suggested we take a walk.
“What, in the woods?” I said. “At night? With the critters?”
“You’ll be fine,” Old Granny laughed. “I’ll take care of you. I’ll only tell you my secret in the woods.”
So she and her wild animal friends were going to eat me. It all made sense. She’d fattened me up and worked me in the garden to make me delicious. But even if that was true, I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I went along.
We went through the woods to a clearing. We sat down on an old log, and I knew Old Granny would tell me finally. I could feel the critters waiting all around us in those woods, though they didn’t make a sound.
Old Granny took my hand. Sweet, huh? I swear I could see her face changing in the moonlight. It was stretching out, getting longer. And her hand felt funny as I held it, like it was sprouting fur.
“Now don’t be afraid, honey.” Her voice had got all deep, like a growl. “It’s time to pass on my secret, and I know you’ll appreciate it. Now this may sting a little.”
Then, before I could even think, Old Granny raised my hand and bit it, hard. Who knew her teeth were so sharp? I felt them go straight through, and heard a couple bones crack. Of course I screamed, as much from surprise as pain.
I’ve never been so mad. I saw red. I pulled both our hands away from her mouth and bit her hand right back.
She just laughed. Only it wasn’t a laugh, it was a bark.
“I knew you were my girl,” she howled. “You knew what to do without me telling you. You were born for this.”
So that’s her secret. I watched my Old Granny turn into a wolf and start baying at the moon. And a few minutes later I was a wolf, and it was my secret, too. Then we went hunting in the woods, and she taught me how to kill. We feasted on our prey while it was still warm. I can’t believe I was ever a vegetarian.
I’m going home tomorrow. But Old Granny and I have decided I should visit her whenever the moon is full. When I graduate, I’m coming to live with her for a year before I start college. She’s got tons to teach me about our secret.
So my Old Granny may be creepy, but I guess she’s pretty awesome, too. How many people have a werewolf for a granny? And I’m really proud to take after her.