Rule one. Stay near either grandpa Jim, mom, or Mr. Marshal at all times.
Rule two. If something she didn’t understand starts happening, ask what to do. Don’t act on instinct, because odds are her instincts would be wrong. They had been doing this for awhile, and mostly knew what they were doing. Try and learn whenever she could, and that way next time she wouldn’t have to ask.
Rule three. What they say goes.
Rule four. Look at Nina’s notes. Do what they say. Try to get a grip on what’s going on. They’re confusing, but do your best.
Rule five. Do your best to stay away from electronics with speakers in them. Keep them muted or off when she’s not using them. If they started playing music, run to get Mr. Marshal or grandpa Jim as soon as she could. Do not listen to music. Bring earplugs everywhere you go.
Rule six. Keep a mental note of where the doors are in your house, and wherever else you go.
Rule seven. Start keeping a dream journal. Write down exactly where you go, as best you can. Write as soon as you wake up in the morning. Tell your dreams to grandpa or Mr. Marshal. Especially keep an eye out for a hotel.
Rule eight. He talks to people. Keep an eye out for anybody acting strange. Even people you know. Matt and Charles especially. If he starts talking to you try your best not to listen, and at least try and tell somebody. It’ll be tough to do.
Rule nine. Think things out. Understand what your actions might result in before you do them.
Rule ten. It’s okay to be scared. Don’t trust people who tell you otherwise.
On the couch, she looked over at her mom, who hadn’t said very much. She suddenly felt the need to comfort her somehow, and she wasn’t sure exactly why she would need to. But she hugged her, and the three of them stayed that way for a while.
That night she started thumbing through Nina’s notes. A lot of it was pretty nonsensical. It really was a journal. More than half of it was just memories and ramblings from her childhood and the occasional outline for a story or even a drawing. The remaining third or so was startlingly direct. It almost read like a guidebook. Izzy asked her mom why they were written like they were.
“Nina does her best,” she said. “It’s hard on the mind, if you do this stuff long enough.”
“How old is she?” she asked.
“Older than me and older than grandpa, and that makes her quite a bit older than you.”
She threw herself into the project. She did everything she could to keep her head busy and full of stuff. In the minutes between, she got shivers and kept looking over her shoulder. Not once did she cry. She would not cry. She wouldn’t be scared. She was going to be brave.