Chapter Two

In which Emma has a nighttime visitor.

 

Finding Wonder

 

It shouldn’t have been surprising as to how drafty the old place had become over time. But Emma, shivering under her covers, was more than annoyed when the night air drifted in from all around her. Adelle could have at least warned her. Just a little.

Thankfully she had been able to charge her phone enough to drown her misery in a mix of pop songs and rock music. If she concentrated, she could convince herself that she was back in her own bed, surrounded by her treasured boy band posters, flat screen TV, and DVD collection. But every time the wind blew, sending shivers throughout her body, she would return back to the cold sheets.

Emma had spent all day picking up after Adelle and making sure the woman didn’t pin herself under anything else. She had even helped fix the old generator. Well . . . not fix. Just had made sure Adelle didn’t electrocute herself. And thankfully the generator still had some life in it. If not, Emma would have had to wait until next week when the handymen came to help out, to resuscitate her precious baby.

“I-I love you, phone.” She snuggled up to it, praying the battery would give off some heat. “M-maybe we can h-have some fun together i-in the morning.”

Emma let her eyes wander over the walls, noticing just how much paint was peeling off. The vanity in the corner wasn’t in good shape either, the mirror’s reflection seeming to fade every time she looked at it. This place was nothing more than a dump, she thought. There was no way Adelle could get it in the shape she needed in order to sell it by the end of the summer. But the woman didn’t see it that way. The house has a good foundation, she had said when they were packing their bags. It would be a shame to let it rot away. A stupid joke that was.

Emma took in as much detail as she could see with the tiny bit of moonlight that shone through the dingy window. The baseboards, warped. The door hinges, rusted. The wooden floor, cracked. The rat, large-

Wait. . .

Rat?

Her eyes widened as a large white rat crawled on the floor. It came closer. Closer. And made its way to her messenger bag.

She hurled her pillow at it. “Those are my snacks!”

It hopped away and ran out of the room.

She jumped out of bed, turned on her phone’s flashlight app and ran after it.

“You disgusting varmint-“

A small white rabbit hopped away from her.

“What?”

It looked up at her, nose twitching.

She moved the flashlight beam up and down the hall. No rat.

But how did this rabbit get in here. . .

She was going absolutely crazy. Wasn’t she?

The rabbit started hopping away.

“Wait.”

She followed it down the hall, noticing it was going straight for her great-grandparents’ bedroom, where Adelle was sleeping. Great. If that woman woke up, how was she going to explain this?

Well, maybe if she just blamed it on the house. It was drafty. There could have been a hole somewhere the rabbit came in through. Or maybe she was just dreaming it all. She had had lucid dreams before. Or maybe-

The rabbit stopped, looking up at her. It was so close to Adelle’s opened door, it could run in there if she spooked it.

“Come here. Come here.” She slowly lowered herself to the ground.

She cursed herself for not getting a snack to coax the rabbit. Of course, this whole thing was just weird for her. At least in the suburbs and city, she didn’t have trouble with rats and rabbits.

“Come on, little guy. Come over here.”

The rabbit sniffed her outstretched hand.

“That’s right.”

It seemed to be debating on if it should come over. She stretched a little further. And it hopped the opposite way, right into her Adelle’s room.

“Crap!”

Emma tiptoed to the door. Hopefully, Adelle would be asleep.

She peeked her head in, searching for the animal. The moonlight, though, wasn’t as bright on this side of the manor as it was on hers. But there was no way she was going to shine her phone’s light in here.

“Honey?”

Emma froze.

“You alright?”

She looked towards the bed. Adelle rubbed her eyes, yawning.

Crap.

“Y-yeah. I’m alright.”

“What are you doing? Did you have a nightmare?”

She scooted into the room, making sure not to step on the rabbit. If it even existed. “I was just cold. It’s way too breezy in this house.”

“Oh. Sorry about that. It’s just something that comes with a house’s age.” The woman got out of bed and rustled around with something in one of the many boxes she had brought in earlier. “Here. This’ll keep you warm.” She offered a large blanket, one that had been crocheted by some random aunt Emma never really knew about.

“Th-thanks.”

“You’re welcome. If you need another, just come back. I brought extra just in case.”

“Okay.”

Emma slowly turned around, scanning one last time for the rabbit, and walked back out into the hall. She stood there for a moment, listening to Adelle get back into bed and under the covers.

Heading back as slow as she could, Emma let her phone light fall over everything she could. But there was no sign of the rabbit. Even when she was back in her room, no evidence pointed to any creature, besides the random dead spider in the corner, being with her.

Emma was truly going crazy.

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© E.N. Chaffin 2018. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.

 

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