There’s Someone Inside Your House


Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Makani and Ollie leave Ollie’s car at school so he can make a sneaky exit if Grandma Young returns early. Then they walk home. It’s only three days until Halloween, and decorations line the streets. Makani and Ollie arrive at Grandma Young’s house and instinctively whisper to each other, though they know Grandma Young isn’t home. They retreat to Makani’s bedroom, turn on some music, and have sex. A little while later, Makani lies in bed next to Ollie and watches him sleep. She feels happy and content. Grandma Young texts her that she’s still in traffic, but things have begun to move—she’ll be home in about an hour.
In a conventional (and arguably sexist) slasher film, characters who engage in transgressive behaviors that subvert traditional (western, Christian) social values often end up the targets of the killer’s attack. Makani and Ollie have just had sex, which many conventional slasher films view as a transgressive behavior. Does this mean they’ll be the killer’s next victims? Yet, the book has repeatedly subverted as many genre conventions as it adheres to (it contains far less gratuitous violence, for instance) so it’s not a given that Makani and Ollie’s sexuality seals their fate as it would in a typical slasher film.
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Makani goes downstairs to get a drink of water. She freezes when she notices that the flatware drawer is open. “Grandma?” she calls out—but there’s no response. Other than the steady tick of the grandfather clock, the house is silent. Makani closes the drawer and decides it must have been open when she got home. She leaves to use the bathroom. When she returns to the kitchen, her stomach drops: the drawer is open again. Makani tries to calm herself and checks the back door. It’s locked. She wonders if she’s leaving the drawers open herself and forgetting about it. Maybe she’s losing her mind and her forgetfulness is a manifestation of her traumatic past. Makani walks to the living room. She drops her cup of water when she sees her grandmother’s jigsaw puzzle: it’s filled in, and it wasn’t before.
The open flatware drawer mirrors the opened kitchen cabinets that Grandma Young has been complaining about for some time. Readers already know that the killer tends to mess with their victims’ belongings before they attack, so it seems a safe guess that the killer is in the house with Makani, poised to attack. Tension rises as Makani second-guesses herself, wondering if she has been leaving the cabinets open herself. And, of course, the reader is privy to information about the killer’s habits that Makani is not, which lends the scene an element of dramatic irony. Finally, when Makani sees the completed jigsaw puzzle, she’s no longer able to deny that something isn’t right—someone is in the house who shouldn’t be there.
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Makani returns to the kitchen. She places her water cup on the counter and grabs a towel to clean up the spill in the other room. When she returns to the kitchen, the water cup is gone. Makani freezes, suddenly remembering that the killer had rearranged Rodrigo’s living room furniture. She thinks about how many times the cabinets and drawers had been left open over the past few months. Has the killer been messing with their victims before the murders? Before Makani can react, a hooded figure emerges from behind the grandfather clock.
Makani connects the dots when she realizes her water cup is missing, recalling the information Ollie passed along from Chris’s police reports about the killer rearranging Rodrigo’s living room furniture—there’s no longer a doubt that the killer has been in the house. Her horrific realization gets scarier once she thinks back and realizes the killer has been messing with her and Grandma Young for months, violating their privacy and sense of safety by opening the kitchen cabinets and drawers. In what has become a recurring technique in the book, Chapter Fourteen ends with a major cliffhanger, as an unidentified hooded figure—presumably the killer—appears from behind the grandfather clock. 
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