Chapter 1: Whatever happened to predictability?
It was a calm and peaceful morning in the Miller household. Outside, birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and somewhere in the distance, a wind chime caught a gentle breeze. This was just the break Scottie Miller needed after the grueling spring semester. This slow, lazy morning was well-earned, as was his overflowing bowl of cereal he richly deserved. And so, wearing his sweatpants and a t-shirt, he sat at the kitchen counter crunching away at an overly sugared spoonful of Cheerios, caring not for the dribble of milk that ran down his chin. He just knew; this was going to be a good day.
He nearly fell off his stool when he heard his sister shouting his name.
“God damnit, Scottie! Get your ass out here and give me a hand!” she shouted while the doorbell repeatedly chimed.
Nearly tripping over himself, Scottie ran to the door and yanked it open. While expecting to find Hannah, he instead was greeted by dozens of brown boxes filling the porch, stacked so poorly that whatever was inside surely wasn’t in one piece anymore. Behind them and holding a box of her own, was his dear, sweet sister Hannah.
“Where the hell have you been!” she asked dropping down her load onto an already beaten and dented box beneath. Though she may not have heard the crinkle of something breaking, Scottie sure did. “Why aren’t you checking your phone?! You were supposed to be helping me three hours ago! I’ve been stuck shucking all these boxes on my own,” she said as she raked her short, dark brown hair back, tucking it under her bandana.
“…Huh?” was all Scottie could muster as Hannah groaned in frustration, turned in a huff and began marching across the lawn toward a large, yellow moving truck.
Scottie ran after her. “What are you talking about? We weren’t going to get started until Friday!”
“No, dumbass, that’s when they have to list it,” she said, barely turning back. “Mom specifically said we had to clear out the Westbrooke house today so it can be re-carpeted tomorrow.”
“What? When did she say that?”
Hannah stopped and looked at him, slightly dumfounded. “She texted me, like, a thousand times last night, like I would forget.”
“She didn’t text me,” Scottie said.
“Well there’s a shocker.” Hannah was never one to be low on sarcasm. Grabbing a handle, she hoisted herself up into the back of the truck, having left its roll-down door open. The interior was chock-full from floor to ceiling with varying shades of cardboard, crammed so tightly together it was as if pieced together by a grand champion of Tetris.
“Holy shit,” Scottie said seeing the work to be done. “You do this all yourself?”
“Fuck no,” Hannah said picking up yet another box. “Turns out there’s a fraternity across the street.” Her cheeky smirk spoke volumes. “Those boys were all too eager to help a young woman. Speaking of which…” she said as she pushed the box into Scottie’s chest. He took it with a grunt.
“Poor guys,” he said as she turned back to the load. He couldn’t help but think, with how she filled those yoga pants and loose tank top, they would have finished the entire renovation just to watch her hips sway. “You sure there’s anything left over there?”
Hannah picked up another box and dropped it on top of his other. He groaned slightly as his chin barely cleared the top.
“Oh yeah,” she said. “The last owner was a hoarder or something.”
She looked him over quickly, noticing for the first time his tank top and baggy sweatpants. “You really need to go change. We got a lot of shit to still do.”
Much to Scottie’s dismay, Hannah’s assessments of the Westbrooke site were pretty damn accurate as the house seemed to hold so many boxes, it could very well have stashed the Ark of the Covenant.
There was little furniture that needed to go. A table, two chairs, pots, pans, and yet no plates or glasses. All the cabinets were completely bare and looked as if they had never even been stocked. There was a single bed, but no mattress. They did have a Television, though it was an old bulky, heavy, 21-inch CRT surrounded by heaps of cables, wires, and various electrical tools.