The funeral, as much as I remember of it, was held quietly, in ‘The Castle’, which was the by-name of Grandma Stella’s home. It was a big affair – the Castle, not the funeral – I think her husband, the family architect, had it built deliberately labyrinthine so that Maggie and I could spend a traditional amount of time exploring and finding wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, and closets, none of which lead us into Narnia. A minor setback. Once we discovered the replicated tower we were sure we would find a dragon or a Rapunzel stashed away up there, but there was only a bunch of boxes with old clothes and all the assorted genres of dust and cobwebs. Needless to say I spent the best twelve years of my life in that house, and I don't care how cliché that sounds.
There is one other thing about the Castle and, perhaps more importantly about Grandma Stella that is highly relevant to this narrative. She, through some feat of fate, is one of the world’s leading computer programmers, and the height of her accomplishments now ‘runs’ the house. Life is ironic, like I said, and very few people actually understand that when I say my Grandma Stella is, unlike many others of her generation, ‘computer literate’ I mean it with a passion. So now the house is run, managed, and monitored by an artificial intelligence named Prince Vlad Dracule, perhaps better known as Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula if you prefer; one of the disadvantages of having a computer literate grandmother with a gothic horror streak and a Masters in Eastern European History
“DO YOU REALISE THAT IT IS 3.65AM, EXIS?"
I nudged the and rolled back, my wheelchair making clicking sounds over the tiles.
“Thanks for the heads up.”