“Wait right here, I’ll be right back,” said Mary.
Ella stood at the bottom of the wooden staircase near the front door. She would have liked to sit, but the couch in the living room was covered with pieces of a drum kit. It was Ella’s first time at Mary’s house, and she couldn’t wait to leave. Not everything everyone said at school about Mary’s mother and their house was true, but it was just as strange. Ella watched Mary climb upstairs, avoiding the clutter of books and shoes and plants and phone chargers and pieces of clothing, all covered in little white hairs.
“Mom, I can’t find my cleats,” she yelled as she faded into the upstairs.
The smell of the house reminded Ella’s of her Aunt’s, a lifelong smoker, basement, but she didn’t see ashtrays anywhere. There was so much furniture, but no room to use anything. Where did Mary do her homework? Where did they eat dinner? She walked towards the stack of boxes on the dining room table, and just as she poked her head into the mess, a rabbit popped out and onto the table. She shrieked, but almost immediately reached for her phone to take a snapchat. “Found Mary’s friend!”
Ella heard footsteps coming down from the stairs and stuck her phone in her back pocket. Mary saw the rabbit on the table.
“Oh, yeah. Mom lets them out for a while in the afternoon,” said Mary.
Ella looked past the dining room into the kitchen, where she saw a glimpse of three large pet cages, connected with colorful plastic tubes and compartments.
“Ready to go?”
Ella grabbed her backpack and just as Mary opened the front door, Mrs. Hinkley appeared at the top of the staircase, petting an all-white rabbit in her arms.
“Goodbye, girls. Have a good practice.”
“Your house is all kinds of messed up. I can’t wait to tell Jess!” Ella said as the door creaked shut.