She was curled up on the couch reading while her son worked on his homework at the kitchen table. She glanced up to see how he was doing and saw a group of boys playing catch out on the lawn.
"That looks just like Bobby Giles." she thought. But Bobby would have to be almost 50 by now.
She put down the crochet piece she was working on and got up from the chair, "Hey, do you see that?" she said to her mother who was sitting at the kitchen table working on a jigsaw puzzle.
Wait, was that right? She looked out the window again and it had started to snow. Big fat flakes drifting down and covering the rose garden with a fine layer of leaves, golden in the fall sunlight. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs and turned away from the window.
"I'm going to my room for a minute," she said but no one was there.
When she passed her sister on the stairs she realized she needed to make a call. "It's your turn to do the dishes," her sister sneered at her. She snapped back; "It's not, I did them yesterday. You just want to sneak out and hit the racetrack early." Her brother shrugged, it was the truth after all.
Yes, definitely need to make a call.
Opening the attic door she wasn't exactly surprised that there was a mess there, but she was surprised by the amount of mess. There were papers strewn everywhere and trail of sawdust on the floor.
"No! Oh no, oh no, oh no!" She was panicking now as she raced to the closet at the far end of the attic. The one that had to remain locked. Had to.
The door stood open. The box, THE box was laying on the floor. The top broken. Sawdust in a pile. Broken pieces on the hardwood floor. She picked up two halves and tried to see if they could be pieced back together, but there was a sliver missing now. It would never fix exactly right. She set the box back upright and started to see if any of the fragile things had survived the fall.
"Excuse me? Ma'am? We got a call to come to this address? I'm assuming that's you?"
She turned around, oh good the crew was here. Waving her arms around the attic in a helpless gesture she said, "I don't know what happened. But..." she trailed off, it didn't matter, the cleaning crew was there. Sorting and refiling. Tossing the broken things. "Oh no, I need that!" she would shout as they would hold up an obviously ruined item. "Do you really?"
"I guess not."
Hours passed. Finally a cry of triumph came from the back of the room. "Found it!" She looked over and one of the crew was holding up a football. "Looks like it came in through that window and knocked over the cage there. Once they were loose it was game over."
She looked at the cage. Oh yes, them. Anytime they got loose they did make a mess of things. The crew was busy wrangling them all up. "Careful, they bite."
One of the crew held up a hand with a dark black furry shape holding on to a finger by it's sharp fangs, "It's okay, we have gloves." He shook it off and locked the cage again.
"Should you just get rid of those as well?" She asked hopefully.
"Sorry, lady, you know we can't do that. We're just here to clean up the mess, you have to take care of the rest."
She went to the cage to count. One, two, three, four...there was one missing still. She knew leaving it out was a bad idea. You had to get them all under control at once or one day you open the attic door and well...this.
"There's one missing."
"Did you check your pockets?"
Oh, right. She put her hand in her pocket and felt it there. She pulled it out carefully and looked at it in the light. "I wonder how it got there."
"Probably snuck up on you when you weren't paying attention. They do that. Here drop it in quickly."
All five locked back away. Now curled around each other sleeping peacefully. Worn out from the damage they had done.
The crew was finished. Everything tidied back up. Things put back to right. Some old things tossed. Some ruined things never to be seen again.
"Did you want us to clear out these broken pieces?" The head of the crew was vacuuming up the spilled sawdust.
"Not just yet. Even the broken pieces are something to look at right?"
She put them back in the box and added a layer of bubble wrap this time. Maybe that would keep them safer. She set the box on the high shelf and closed the door.
"Keeping them on the high shelf isn't the best place for the fragile items, Ma'am."
"It's not is it?"
She locked the door and turned away from the closet.
"Thank you for calling Viking Cleaners, your protection is our business."
The alarm went off and she rolled over to start her day. "Thank you...." she mumbled.
Her husband gave her a sleepy smile, "You're welcome?"