E.V. Jean shuffled to the wide leather sofa, agitated. She took 1 pillow from the left and put it on the right. She walked back to her observation point in front of the large roaring fireplace. Better, she thought, but something was missing. The doorbell rang. E.V. Jean perked up. She flattened the wrinkles in her dress and walked to the door.
Emora Krant stood patiently outside the door with a look of blank curiosity. She lived just down the street from E.V. Jean, which is to say several miles away as E.V. Jean's estate was rather large. It annoyed E.V. Jean that Emora made it a point to arrive 30 minutes late as if her life was too busy to ever be on time. E.V. Jean forced a smile until it became natural, and swung open the door.
"Emora!" E.V. Jean said with a flourish.
"Hello, E.V. Jean," Emora replied in a monotone voice. E.V. Jean shuddered at the cold gust that swam into her house.
“Good lord! It's freezing!” E.V. Jean said, closing her open cardigan. “Come in, come in.”
Emora walked into E.V. Jean's house seeming not to notice the cold winter night.
"Welcome," E.V. Jean said, closing the door with a slam. "We'll just be in the den." Emora took short steps ahead of E.V. Jean as her dress restricted her movement. E.V. Jean's smile tightened. Emora was far too overdressed for E.V. Jean's liking. She wore a sparkly brown number that fell to her ankles. Gloves rose to Emora’s arms up to her elbows leaving just a sliver of skin open to the air. Even her face was partly covered by a black laced band that wrapped around her small head and rested just at her hair line. E.V. Jean paused in her observation, as Emora started to back step. E.V. Jean caught Emora with a hand on her neck and the spot of open skin on her arm.
"It's merely a buffalo, Emmy. And it is dead let me remind you," E.V. Jean said. "I never understand why you are so afraid." They both observed the beast, one in pride, the other in fear.
The buffalo hung above the mantle and roaring fire with a slight curve in its neck. It gave the impression of watching all who entered the room, an effect E.V. Jean's late husband, the legendary hunter Lorenzo Frederickson, was most proud of. Lorenzo would bring home the corpse, and E.V. Jean would stuff it to be hung in the house. She positioned the neck to make it look as if it were about to charge, daring the intruder to make one more step. E.V. Jean loved the sight of it, and paused every time she entered the room to admire it. Her guests rarely shared her enthusiasm. E.V. Jean felt Emora's impatience radiating on her neck, and led her to the chairs around the coffee table.
E.V. Jean sat Emora in the Harry, and off white piece with a stiff back, and Emora took it willingly. It sat by itself a safe distance away from the looming buffalo, now protecting those underneath its long neck. The Harry faced the wide sofa, a premeditated move by E.V. Jean.
"Is that sofa new?" Emora asked.
E.V. Jean smiled and looked to the ground bashfully. "Thank you for noticing, Emora. It is my latest. A combination piece. I do hope it reflects the rooms mood." She walked behind the sofa and traced a finger along the wooden back rest.
"Yes, it's quite nice," Emora said. Her attention turned to the circular coffee table where cookies and coffee waited.
E.V. Jean pursed her lips. She doubted Emora had ever taken the time to create anything beyond an easier way to retrieve her butlers. Regardless she enjoyed the company and Emora had said something nice, though it was no more than a formality. The house felt empty without Lorenzo, and Emora's regular visits made the space easier to bare. Though with E.V. Jean's new hobby, she didn't feel as lonely in the large house. The doorbell rang again, and Emora froze as she pulled a cookie towards a napkin. She flicked her head up at E.V. Jean.
"You have more guests coming?" Emora said.
"Of course, dear," E.V. Jean said. "You don't believe you're my only friend now do you?" E.V. Jean smiled and walked to the front door. She tossed a look back at Emora who fixed her dress and head piece in a looping cycle. E.V. Jean peeked through the stain glass door.
The Peabody's stood outside. Mr. Peabody wore a wicker hat and a grey ill-fitting suit that E.V. Jean guessed he hadn't worn since college graduation. The jacket hung open showing tan suspenders over a white button up shirt. His hands were clasped together over his stomach as he watched the door.
Ms. Peabody was much more vivid as she fidgeted outside the door. Wrapped around her head, much to E.V. Jean's delight, was a headpiece similar to the one Emora wore in the den. The lace wasn't as nice or flashy, but it carried a feather off to one side giving it a sort of flair. This must be some new fashion, E.V. Jean guessed. It went to show how much time she spent inside her house. It was going to be a wonderful night, E.V. Jean thought. She opened the door with a gracious smile.
"The Peabody's," E.V. Jean said. "It fills my heart that you could make it tonight. Please, please, come in. You'll catch a chill out there in the cold."
Ms. Peabody met E.V. Jean's eyes briefly and walked in with a careful grace E.V. Jean hadn’t expected. A hand grabbed E.V. Jean’s hand when she wasn't looking.
"Oh," E.V. Jean said, somewhat startled. She watched Mr. Peabody lift her hand to his mouth and give it a kiss.
"You are a most courteous woman for inviting us to your warm home tonight," Mr. Peabody said in a loud voice. E.V. Jean looked down at the hand Mr. Peabody still held. "I cannot express my gratitude enough for the invitation." He smiled wide and waited.
E.V. Jean was accustomed to the grandiose greetings of her visitors and did not hesitate. "You are more than a guest in my home, Mr. Peabody.” she said, pulling her hand away and gesturing to her home. “Please do think of this now as your home, with all the comforts and luxuries one expects from the confines of one's own walls." She offered Mr. Peabody the lead into the den, and he took the offer with proud strides. E.V. Jean noticed the hair growing just over the neckline of Mr. Peabody's jacket. Thick skin, she thought, and more than likely covered in hair. Mr. Peabody walked up to his wife who was frozen in a terrified pose as her eyes stared into the den.
"What's the matter, dear?" Mr. Peabody said. He looked up at her worried face and followed her gaze. "Jesus, Mary, and Josephine," Mr. Peabody said. That was a new one, E.V. Jean thought to herself. They both stared up at the massive buffalo hung over the roaring fireplace. E.V. Jean caught them in their back step with a gentle hand around both their necks.
"It is not real, my darlings. He merely guards the house for me. If you were not welcome, he would have leaped off the mantle and bit your heads off already," E.V. Jean said. She pushed the Peabody's into the den. She could feel the bristly hair of Mr. Peabody and his tough skin underneath, and the over-lotioned skin of Ms. Peabody, thin and silky smooth. Mr. Peabody seemed to relax under E.V. Jean's grip as Ms. Peabody tensed.
“This is Emora Krant,” E.V. Jean said as they entered the den. “She is my neighbor and friend of many years. Her husband was the great Doctor Krant who discovered the vaccine for chlamydia,” Ms. Peabody let out a small gasp.
“And the world burned a little cooler,” Emora Krant said. Mr. Peabody snorted as Ms. Peabody slipped into a sort of shock.
“And these are the Peabody's, Emmy. They own the chain of department stores in town that you have been raving about. I mentioned your name and well,” E.V. Jean paused and looked to Mr. Peabody.
“You're husband and I were childhood friends and I thought I should meet the women who stole his heart.” That's not all she stole, E.V. Jean thought. “Ms. Frederickson here was kind enough to offer the invitation when she discovered our shared past and I did not hesitate in accepting. He was a great man, Dr. Krant, and a loss to us all.” Mr. Peabody bowed slightly.
“Yes, he will be missed,” Emora said coldly. She sipped on her coffee. “Is it true you are the proprietor of that delightful little store, Devershire?”
Mr. Peabody cleared his throat. “I had the business smarts but was never on the up with ideas, you see. Many businesses failed in my attempts, and it wasn't until I met my dear wife Agatha did everything take off. Devershire is entirely her creation, you see, I just run the numbers.” Mr. Peabody laid a proud smile on his wife who went from transparent to scarlet in a matter of seconds. E.V. Jean watched the seated Emora as she moved her eyes from Mr. Peabody to Ms. Peabody. If Ms. Peabody's change in expression was swift, Emora's change was like lightning. Her smug attitude turned brittle upon seeing the head piece resting on Ms. Peabody's head. She did not respond. E.V. Jean saw the need to change topics quick.
"These, my darlings, are my very first works," E.V. Jean said. She led them to two chairs opposite Emora and released her gentle grasp on Mr. Peabody's neck. She offered the chair closest to the fireplace to Mr. Peabody. “I call it the Francis, and I believe it will suit you well.” The chair was a patchwork of several hides sewn together in hidden stitch-work. The leather was tanned and matched Mr. Peabody's complexion.
“It will suite me fine, Ms. Frederickson. I'm not sure if you knew this or not, but Francis is my middle name, as well the name of my son,” Mr. Peabody said.
“I was aware of the middle name, Mr. Peabody, but the son I was not.” E.V. Jean said. She felt Ms. Peabody's neck tremble in her hand. E.V. Jean moved quickly, feeling the tension build in the room again. “And this, Ms. Peabody, is the Bergeneesh.” E.V. Jean released her gentle hold on Ms. Peabody's neck and offered her the seat between Mr. Peabody and the wide sofa. The Bergeneesh was the whitest piece in the room, though not quite as white as Ms. Peabody herself, who's blood had once again drained from her face. The cushioning was firm in contrast to the soft skin and inlaid with gold buttons that lined the trim and arm rests. The Peabody's each took their seat in slow motion, as if expecting the chairs to collapse beneath them. E.V. Jean was pleased with their eventual surprise at the comfort they found upon seating. "I think you will find them to your liking," E.V. Jean added. She looked up at Emora, who's eye twitched and head twisted slowly like a confused dog. The door bell rang once more.
"Ah, excellent, our last guest," E.V. Jean said. "There are treats for you on the coffee table. Do indulge." She bit her lip as she watched Emora sink back into her chair with a piercing gaze.
E.V. Jean made the short trip to the front door and peered through the stained glass once more. A large bushy face stared back at her making her yelp. She gathered herself, straightened her dress, and opened the door.
"You nearly fainted me, Dom," E.V. Jean said, pretending to be out of breath.
"Concho!" said Dom. He wrapped E.V. Jean in his arms and plucked her from the floor. Concho was Lorenzo's nickname for E.V. Jean and upon hearing it, her heart warmed. Dominic Noor was easily the largest man E.V. Jean had ever seen. By chance, E.V. Jean noticed him in the market negotiating with a merchant over the price of bear meat. Negotiating to Dom, meant holding the merchant up by the neck until he agreed to the appropriate price. Much to the merchant’s relief, E.V. Jean stepped in during the dealings and calmed Dominic down. After Dom sold his bear, E.V. Jean invited him to her party. Dominic graciously accepted in his Nordic tone and low bow, and now here he was. E.V. Jean could barely see his face for the thick beard and low riding Elk hat. All that came through were his warm dark eyes. "I missed you, Concho," Dom said in his booming tone.
"As I have missed you, Dom," E.V. Jean said, her voice muffled by the thick fur coat. Dom set her back on her feet and she stared up at the massive man. He could almost be Lorenzo, she thought, without the facial hair and accent. They were both of the same thick stature and had the same warm glow about them. It made E.V. Jean feel safe to be around him once more.
"Come, come," E.V. Jean said. "I have made your favorite tonight! Snickerdoodles and Colombian coffee."
A low hum rumbled from somewhere deep inside Dom and rolled up into a hungry moan. She took Dom by the hand and led him to the den. His hand was tough and calloused, much like her husbands. They paused at the entrance as Dom stopped, taking in the buffalo.
"Hello old friend," Dom said smiling at the buffalo. His voice naturally carried through the room instantly grabbing the attention of the three guests. They marveled at Dom as he marveled at the buffalo.
"Emora, Peabody's, this is Dominic Noor. He was my husband’s closest friend and lifelong hunting partner," E.V. Jean announced to the room. Emora and the Peabody's flashed a smile but quickly returned to their scanning of the large man. E.V. Jean led him to the wide sofa. "You will take this seat, next to me, Dom," she said. Dom took the seat on the left side of the sofa as E.V. watched, biting her lip. Dom collapsed into the sofa. The weight quickly distributed, supporting Dom with ease. Dom let out a long sigh and leaned back.
"Quite comfortable, Ms. Frederickson, your finest work," Dom said. E.V. Jean smiled at the compliment, her heart warmed. Dom almost closed his eyes, but instead pushed himself towards the circular coffee table. The coffee and cookies were closest to Emora, but with a light grasp on the edge, Dom swirled the goods towards him. The entire coffee table rotated. Emora, the Peabody's, and even E.V. Jean looked on baffled as if Dom had just performed a magic trick. "A little modification Lorenzo did not know I added!" Dom said, giggling to himself. He stacked two cookies and made them disappear into his mouth.
"Marvelous," E.V. Jean said clapping her hands. She sat down next to Dom on the wide sofa and poured two cups of coffee. Emora leaned back in her chair when the coffee was handed to Dom instead of her.
"So Dom," E.V. Jean started, raising her own coffee cup up to her mouth. She let the steam rise over her face. "Tell us all about your adventures. You must have been all over the world."
"I have not been too many places, Ms. Frederickson. Your husband was the adventurous one as you can tell from this great house. I did just return from Norway though, my home country," Dom said.
"Oh, I hear it's cold in Norway," Mr. Peabody said, testing a snickerdoodle. E.V. Jean watched his arm extend towards the table for another. The sleeve in his jacket peeled back revealing a thick layer of hair on his wrist. E.V. Jean transfixed on it.
"And who said this," Dom said.
"Oh, uh. Well...," Mr. Peabody said stuffing another snickerdoodle in his mouth. He waved his arms in circles as if to portray what he was thinking. "My son said it," he said with crumbs jumping out of his mouth. Ms. Peabody shot a look towards her husband. They shared a small moment. “It's fine dear,” Mr. Peabody said and continued. "He said Norway was his favorite country in the whole world. And he moved there, to Bergen."
"Ah yes, I am from Bergen, perhaps I know this young man," Dom said.
Ms. Peabody looked at Mr. Peabody again and they both sank a little. "Unfortunately, Mr. Noor, he has left us. He returned home for Christmas last year with his new wife. On Christmas day they vanished without a trace. They went out for to retrieve a tree and--"
"Well this has taken turn for the depressing," E.V. Jean interrupted. "I do think we should--"
"Hold on, Ms. Frederickson," Dom stopped E.V. Jean. "Perhaps I have heard of the young man." He turned to the Peabody's. "What was his name?"
Tears began to flow down Ms. Peabody's cheeks. "It was Francis, Mr. Noor. Francis Peabody," Mr. Peabody said. He grabbed his wife's hand tight.
"I am sorry, sir, but this is a name I have not heard. Perhaps he returned to Bergen and is well. I am sorry for your loss," Dom said. He turned his attention to his coffee, sipped, and stared into the cup.
"Thank you Mr. Noor. We hope every day that he comes home unscathed," Mr. Peabody said.
"The mailman must be a bother," Emora said. She leaned forward in her chair with a small laugh. "Always knocking on the door, but it is never who you want to see."
E.V. Jean gave Emora a nasty look.
"It is hard to lose someone and not know if they are alive or dead. I often think it would be easier to bare if he was dead," Ms. Peabody said in a shaky voice.
"Agatha, don't say such things. There is still hope. Perhaps Mr. Noor is right," Mr. Peabody said.
"Death is not easier," E.V. Jean spoke up. She put on a formal tone. "To know someone is dead and never coming back is a misery no one should have to face." She drifted into memories of her husband. Dom pressed a hand on her back.
"I'm dealing with it just fine," Emora said. "Good riddance I say. The man was a misogynist and jack ass. I'm glad to be rid of him."
Everyone dipped their head but for Emora. She seemed to absorb the life-force from the room. She spun the coffee table towards with a swing of her hand. She slapped the glossy wood, stopping the cookie stand and coffee pot in front of her. She poured herself a coffee and grabbed a lamington from the top tier. She was completely unaware of her effect on the room.
"It is a wonder how well preserved that buffalo is," Dom said. He slouched heavily in the sofa. "Ten years ago we hunted him down. Ten years ago..." Dom trailed off in thought with a yawn. "It was this day, was it not Ms. Frederickson?"
"It was, Dominic. Ten years ago today you lay that beast on my doorstep, yourself and Lorenzo covered in blood," E.V. Jean said with a giggle.
"You have preserved it well, Ms. Frederickson. I cannot believe it is the same beast."
"I have become rather good at my craft, Dom. This buffalo has been my greatest test, as I have redone it several times since Lorenzo's passing. Only recently have I perfected my technique, as you are all witness to tonight." E.V. Jean looked admiringly at her guests and the seats they occupied, as the stared up at the buffalo. She turned her attention to her sofa she shared with Dom and ran a finger along the back rest. Her hand continued onto Dom's fur coat. Dom was too taken by the buffalo's trance to notice E.V. Jean pulling back the coat to see the skin beneath. Soft, E.V. Jean noticed, well that’s a surprise.
"Agatha!" Mr. Peabody shouted.
The coffee cup in Ms. Peabody's hand hung by the handle in a pinched grasp. It tilted down towards, spilling its contents onto Ms. Peabody's lap and down onto the leather seat. "Jesus, woman, you really must pay more attention." Mr. Peabody swirled the coffee table towards him retrieving napkins while staying firm in his seat. He removed the coffee cup from his wife's hand and leaned over to pat away the coffee that had spilled onto the seat.
"Terribly sorry, Ms. Frederickson. Sometimes she forgets where she is," Mr. Peabody said in his over formal tone. Ms. Peabody slowly came out of her fright. She patted the coffee from her pale legs, occasionally glancing up at the buffalo over her.
"It's not a trouble Mr. Peabody, really. As I've just told Dom, I have perfected my technique. It would take something much more potent than a little coffee to upset the work I put into those chairs,” E.V. Jean said. “The carpet, however...” Mr. Peabody leaped from his chair onto his hands and knees and started patting the carpet below his wife's feet.
"There's some over here too, on my shoes," Emora said from across the coffee table.
"Mr. Peabody please do get up from the ground. I was only joking. The carpet is more than capable of defending itself. As you can see, I have asked none of you to take off your shoes for our little gathering tonight. I am not concerned and neither is the carpet," E.V. Jean said.
Mr. Peabody pat the carpet once more, along with a few additional pats on the seat. He sat back in his seat and placed the used napkins on the coffee table. A massive yawn betrayed him and escaped into the room with a loud sigh.
"Are you tired Mr. Peabody?" E.V. Jean asked.
Emora intercepted. "I must say I am. Not that this evening has been a bore or anything. It has only just begun for heaven’s sake. But I do feel a sudden exhaustion come over me," she said. She yawned wide, causing Mr. Peabody to yawn again, and effect that carried on to Ms. Peabody and Dom. Emora settled back into her chair. Her hands clasped over her waist and her eyes drifted shut.
"Perhaps the conversation is not stimulating enough," E.V. Jean said. "Dom! Why don't you tell us the tale of big foot?"
"I have told the tale a thousand times, Ms. Frederickson. Do you not tire in its retelling?" Dom said.
"You saw big foot?" Mr. Peabody said. He pushed himself back up in his chair as his wife slid deeper into hers.
"I believe you'll need another coffee for this Mr. Peabody. It’s quite the story," E.V. Jean said. “You too, Dom.”
"Can I have more of the cookies?" Dom said. "I am feeling quite drained, and those little morsels bring me back to life."
"Of course, of course," E.V. Jean said. She handed a napkin full of cookies to Dom along with a fresh coffee and swung two coffee's towards the Peabody's. "I figured you could use a refill, Ms. Peabody. You seem a bit tired yourself."
Ms. Peabody sat up in her chair. "Oh no thank you, it's nothing," she giggled and waved a hand at E.V. Jean, "I have had a long day, that is all.”
"A macaroon, then? Your husband told me they are your favorite. Chocolate pecan, if I'm not mistaken," E.V. Jean said, not missing a beat.
Ms. Peabody tossed a worried look at her husband.
"Oh don't worry, Ms. Peabody. Your husband told me over the phone when I asked him what you liked. I practically had to pull the information out of him," E.V. Jean said.
Ms. Peabody brought her attention back to the tiered cookie tray. At the bottom, untouched by any of the guests, chocolate macaroons covered in a sprinkling of crushed pecans huddled together. E.V. Jean could see the desire in Ms. Peabody's eyes. E.V. Jean watched the slender pale arm extend towards the cookie.
"I shall have one as well. I am a fan of everything you make, Ms. Frederickson," Dom said. He took a macaroon after Ms. Peabody gathered a pile of her own, followed by Mr. Peabody. Three macaroons remained, on the bottom tier. E.V. Jean felt her heart flutter.
"That is kind, Dom. Now please!" E.V. Jean said. She grabbed Dom by his fur covered bicep and shook him playfully. “The story of big foot!”
"Yes, I will tell this story. I do wish your husband was here to help. He told the story much better than I," Dom said.
"He is here," E.V. Jean said. She patted the empty space between herself and Dom. "He's right next to us." She rested her head and arm on the back of the sofa and curled up her legs. "And I think you tell the story just fine."
"Very well then," Dom said. He ate all the macaroons in his hand at once and proceeded into the story. The story was quite dull, E.V. Jean knew, even when Lorenzo told it. He revealed the truth of it years earlier, that it was a bear they saw, not some monstrous ape. The story lured the listener in, building to a climax, and ended with nothing. And that is exactly what the type of story E.V. Jean wanted Dom to tell. He had the full attention of the Peabody's and spoke exclusively to them. Once or twice he looked over towards Emora who had passed out in her seat, snoring softly, as if expecting her to rise and yell 'Extraordinary!' in response to Dom's story.
E.V. Jean relaxed as she watched Dom wave his strong hands about. An idea popped into her head she had never thought about. As she watched Dom's arm's fly through the air, she wondered if bone might not be a stronger substitute to wood. Timber was certainly less sturdy than bone, and bone would last much longer. She thought of a recent story in the news about archaeologists finding the oldest dinosaur fossil to date somewhere in the Sahara Desert, surrounded by sand and dust. Bone just had to be made of stronger stuff. The thought made her smile. She hated waste. Dom attempted to stand from the sofa during his story but could not muster the strength to do so. E.V. Jean knew this part of the story well. He was going to use his enormous size to portray just how tall big foot was.
"Well, you can imagine," Dom said instead. He yawned and sat deeper into the sofa. "The beast was twice my height, as tall as a tree, but here's the thing." E.V. Jean heard her husband’s tone interject into Dom's speech. "For his advantage in height, he lost it in weight. Big foot is skinnier than you, Ms. Peabody. All lean stringy muscle." Ms. Peabody merely raised her eyebrows at this. She looked as though she had just noticed Dom was talking.
"Did you fight him?" Mr. Peabody said, more out of courtesy than any real interest. He too was barely there, slinking down in his seat with his eyes barely visible over the armrest. The disinterest did not phase Dom for a second.
Dom roared a laugh. "No, of course not. He would have torn my arms off like twig. He was too far away to reach us, being that we were at the bottom of his mountain, and he was at the top. I doubt he even saw us. But we saw him, that is certain. He plucked a tree out by the roots and dragged it off into the woods and we never saw him again." Dom reached to the coffee table again and took the remaining snickerdoodle's. He shoved them into his mouth and took a long sip of his coffee, putting a period on the story.
The story worked a charm on the Peabody's. Ms. Peabody rested her head on the armrest over her pale arms, while Mr. Peabody slouched down so only his back and head held onto the seat. His legs extended straight out. E.V. Jean put a hand on Dom's broad shoulder.
"I never understood why you did not hunt him down," E.V. Jean said, repeating the old line.
"Lorenzo would say often, that there was a reason he was a legend. Only a few had ever witnessed the beast in the wild. That is because he has murdered the rest. He is a wild animal, Ms. Frederickson, and he is smart. I believe if we stepped onto his mountain, we would no longer be the hunters, Ms. Frederickson. Big foot would chase us down like a pair of winter bears and dine on our bones for dinner," Dom said.
E.V. Jean always liked that ending better, especially because Dom used the same lines as Lorenzo. Whenever Lorenzo or Dominic told the story, they insisted on ending the story with 'and then we walked away.' She did not attempt altering their story, but always got her ending, asking the same question every time.
"Thank you," E.V. Jean said. She smiled and closed her eyes for a moment. "You have brought Lorenzo back to life for a brief moment, and I could not ask for a greater gift."
Dom leaned against the sofa headrest and smiled back. "It is my pleasure, Ms. Frederickson. I will tell it a thousand times more whenever your cookies around," he said. His eyes were mere slits as he looked at E.V. Jean. Her eyes became large brown opals, growing wide as she watched Dom slip into a deep slumber. When his snores escaped him, E.V. Jean slipped out of the room, leaving her guests to their deep sleep.
The den rumbled like an orchestra without its composer. Emora snored the loudest of the guests, with loud short bursts. Dom was low rumble, providing the bass. Ms. Peabody fluttered like a bird with each exhale and Mr. Peabody sighed softly with each breath. E.V. Jean returned to the den rolling a long silver cart in front of her. She positioned the cart in front of Dom first. She grabbed his boots and lifted them on the cart, then walked to the back of the sofa and pushed as hard on his back. Dom was heavier than the sofa he slept on, so she moved back around, pulling the cart further down towards the middle of the sofa and dragged Dom's body from the side by his arm until he thumped onto the cart. E.V. Jean checked that the noise had not awakened her guests. When satisfied, she piled the Peabody's on top of Dom, lengthwise, then moved the cart over to Emora and stacked her on top of them all. E.V. Jean pushed the cart of the den, beyond the foyer to the wall at the back of the double staircase. A massive elk head stared down at her with a slight smirk in its mouth. Her husband brought it back as a gift from his Canadian hunt, and it instantly became her favorite. She walked to the elk and pressed in its right eye.
The elk head split down the middle parting the wooden wall in half, revealing a large silver room behind. E.V. Jean loaded her guests into the room and pressed the only button the panel. The room jumped, testing the weight, and began its slow descent to E.V. Jean’s workshop.
The workshop was where she practiced her craft, first with the buffalo and the elk and the rest of Lorenzo's prize kills, and moving on to her own particular niche of taxidermy after Lorenzo’s passing.
E.V. Jean smiled as she watched her slumbering guests. Her work would keep her busy for a time, and after that, who knew. She whispered to her snoring guests, repeating Lorenzo's favorite saying. "The possibilities are endless."