“No, you’re giving them the upper hand,” said Spencer.
“I don’t care,” said Zach. “We can talk like civilized people. Tell them to be more quiet. And apologize for you.”
“Don’t you dare apologize for me!” said Spencer. “I don’t owe them an apology. They owe us one!”
“Whatever,” said Zach. “I’m going.”
Determined to put an end to this senseless feud between floor neighbors, Zach walked up the flight of stairs to the next floor above. Spencer was close behind determined to not let Zach apologize for him. Clare followed just to see what was going to happen.
Together the three of them reached the apartment directly above theirs. Zach knocked several times. Almost immediately, noise crashed toward the door. Spencer rolled his eyes. He could only imagine what it sounded like in the apartment right now.
Then the door opened. Zach, Spencer, and Clare leaned to their right to peek into the entryway. There was nobody at the door. All they saw was a dresser drawer.
“They’re taunting us!” Spencer yelled. “I’m not apologizing.”
“Maybe they just have a lot of furniture,” suggested Zach. “Take a breath.”
Zach leaned into the apartment. He looked down the hallway. There were several chairs and cabinets filling the living room.
“Hello!” Zach called out. “We’re your neighbors from the floor below. We just want to talk.”
“Go away you little snots,” replied a voice from inside the apartment. Zach couldn’t see who said it, but he decided to keep the conversation going.
“You’ve been making a lot of noise since you moved in,” said Zach. “We were wondering if you could keep it down a bit.”
“Noise? Like banging on the ceiling?” said the voice.
Zach nodded his head. “Yeah, similar to that. My roommate apologizes.”
“No, I don’t!” shouted Spencer.
“He still feels bad,” said Zach.
“Not really,” said Spencer.
“Stop harassing my family,” said the voice in the apartment. “We’re doing nothing wrong.”
“Nothing wrong?!” spoke up Spencer. “Look at all this. How much furniture do you have? Do you have to move a table just to get in the fridge? You could get rid of some of it.”
“How dare you?” said the voice.
“How dare me?” said Spencer. He pushed his way past Zach and entered the apartment. The dresser in the hallway forced Spencer to tuck in his gut to squeeze through.
“Where are you?” Spence said as he moved through the maze of furniture to get to the living room. Chairs were on top of couches. The fridge was next to the window. A clock was sitting on the rim of the sink in the kitchen. A rug was rolled up and stood next to the bathroom door.
Zach and Clare quickly joined Spencer in the living room, surrounded by furniture. “What are you doing?” Zach whispered to his friends.
“The hoarders can talk to me face to face,” said Spencer.
A low reverberation filled the room. Slowly, the furniture began moving closer to the three uninvited guests.
“They’re getting closer to us,” said Clare.
“This place may be haunted,” said Spencer.
“Were we talking to a ghost?” asked Zach.
“Rude,” said the voice from behind them. The three of them turned around. A table was right upon their backs.
“Was that there before?” Spencer asked.
“You three better get your butts out of my apartment or you’ll wish you never stepped foot in here,” said the table.
Zach, Spencer, and Clare leaned away from the talking piece of furniture. As a result the table shuffled forward, dragging its feet along the carpet with a loud rush of sound.
“Your home?” Zach asked.
“Yes, my home!” said the table. “I’m calling Mr. Andress.”
“But you’re a table,” said Spencer.
“So all of a sudden I can’t rent an apartment?” asked the table.
“No,” said Zach. “It’s just odd.”
“Calling my family odd?” accused the table.
“What?” asked Spencer. Then he looked around the room. Several pieces of furniture shifted around on their legs. “Ohhhh.”
“We thought New Delta City would be better,” said the table. “I guess not. Just more of the same. People like you giving us a hard time.”
“No, no,” said Zach. “We didn’t know you were furniture.”
“We’re not furniture!” said the table.
“Alright,” said Spencer.
“What are you?” Clare asked.
“Don’t ask that,” Zach whispered to Clare. Clare shrugged.
“No, it’s fine,” said the table. “It’s nice to have some people actually want to be aware of other’s problems.”
“Some people are so rude,” said Spencer, eyeing Zach.
“My family was cursed,” said the table. “Years ago we lived in a castle across the world. But our caretaker was banished and it left us with nowhere to go. We were almost sold off and separated. So we moved out. Just trying to live our lives again.”
“That’s horrible,” said Clare.
“Now, people like this guy,” the table said nudging toward Zach, “just want to assume we’re pieces of property. Just because we were cursed.”
“I didn’t… I don’t have anything against fur- …cursed people,” said Zach. “This is just a big misunderstanding.”
“No, I understand it,” said Spencer. “But here’s the thing. You’re making a lot of noise when you walk around. Can you keep it down?”
“And how do you expect us to do that?” asked the table.
“They have sliding pads for furniture now,” said Spencer.
“We’re not furniture!” the table yelled.
Spencer shrugged and nodded. “But you are a table.”
“You have to be self aware of what you are,” said Spencer.
“I said get out.”
“We have to coexist,” said Spencer. “There’s got to be a compromise somewhere.”
Then Spencer was hit in the shin by a coffee table. “Ow!”
“My mom said get out,” yelled the coffee table in a high pitched voice.
The fridge thumped closer to the commotion.
Zach and Clare pulled away from the emerging fight. As they walked away, Zach grabbed Spencer harshly by the collar. “Let’s go.”
The three rushed out of the apartment as the family of furniture closed in on them. A leg rest snuck up on the group and got one last shot in before they could make their escape. Zach, Spencer, and Clare all banged their big toe into the leg rest. They stumbled the last few feet out the door.
“And don’t come back here!” the table yelled as the door slammed shut behind the gang out in the hallway. The three of them nursed their wounds with only the sound of the furniture family moving around in their apartment to break the silence.
The confrontation with the family of furniture above them only made the noise worse over the next week. Every bit of movement was deliberately made louder as the furniture scooted across the floor of their home.
“Way to go,” Spencer said to Zach.
“This is not my fault,” said Zach. “You started it.”
“We could have beaten them at their own game,” said Spencer. “I could have out noised them, but now they know what we’re up to. Their movement is deafening.”
“Can’t we just hang out at your place, Clare?” Zach asked his neighbor sitting on the couch with noise canceling headphones over her ears. They were sophisticated enough to hear voices and block everything else.
“Oh no,” said Clare. “I’m already not getting my deposit back because of Spencer. You’re not doing anymore damage to my place.”
“It was one hole in the floor,” said Spencer. “Your bed covers it up.”
“Not happening,” said Clare.
“Then we have to make amends with the neighbors,” said Zach.
“I’m already way ahead of you,” said Spencer.
“Really?” Zach asked.
“While you were busy insulting them I was coming up with a plan,” said Spencer.
“I wasn’t insulting them,” said Zach.
“They’re people too,” said Spencer.
Zach rolled his eyes.
“And I’m going to fix them,” said Spencer. “All we got to do is break their curse.”
“You think if they could they would have already?” Zach asked.
“Maybe they haven’t tried hard enough,” said Spencer. “But I’m on the case now. I’ll figure this out.”
“So what’s your plan exactly?” Clare asked.
“Just a stop at the Which Witch Wich should solve this. They have everything!”