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07 March 2014 @ 11:19 am
Fic: Mary Sue and the Dustbunnies  
Note: This is another original short story with Mary Sue as the protagonist. She's not the standard Mary Sue, no fancy hair, clothes, no nothing. She does have problems though. With her husband, Billy Bob, with the dustbunnies and also -most likely- with her mental health. Mary Sue is stuck in a grey zone where things which shouldn't be moving are doing so, accompanied by the constant sense of terror Billy Bob has put her in. This really isn't a funny or happy story.
It's not betad, if (when) you find glaring bugs- please tell me so I can correct them. Feel free to rip it apart- feedback is appreciated.




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No matter how thorough she was, there was always another spot to wipe away. When she turned her back, the dustbunnies scattered across the floor even though she ’knew’ she had mopped them up. It was like they taunted her. Yelled at her to come chase them. ”Catch us if you can!”

During the night she could hear them play, sometimes under their bed, other times they played tag in the living room. She could see the traces after them come morning; scratches in the smoothly combed velvet of the couch, the slight dents in her perfectly fluffed up cushions. Definitely traces after claws climbing and scrabbling for a hold, of small bodies jumping and bouncing. She wondered why no one else would admit to seeing them, or hearing them.

She scratched the small bite on her left arm. One of the bigger ones had gotten its teeth in her yesterday behind the kitchen table. It had peed on the floor and when she tried to wipe it up, it attacked. She had actually never seen one as big before and it scared her a little. The tiny ones were simply annoying and somewhat mischievous, they never tried to hurt her, just irritate her into having a heart attack. But this one had looked at her with red-tinted eyes and bared its teeth at her.

When she was thinking rationally –clearly- she knew there was no such thing as dustbunnies. But she could barely remember a time when there hadn’t been any around. Only in the first few weeks when they had been newly married and the house fresh and unlived in. No marks on the floor, no scratches on the walls.

They had turned up quite fast, she had heard the first weird little noise one early morning. At first she had thought it was the coffee machine going odd, but it bubbled in its normal, merry way on the counter. The noise had come from under the sink. When she opened the cupboard, the only thing she saw was a tiny ball of grey fluff. That in itself was weird since she had wiped the insides only the day before. Billy Bob was very strict about cleanliness, the house needed to be spotless at all times, you could never know when he wanted to invite important guests. Why the insides of the cupboards had to be spotless for that, Mary Sue didn’t know. Billy Bob hadn’t said and she hadn’t dared to ask.

Dustbunnies weren’t new to her, in her old flat they had been plenty. Back in those days the bunnies didn’t jump around though, didn’t make any noises and did definitely not try to bite her. They hadn’t begun to move until Billy Bob had made it clear that they had to disappear, he had seen a few ones during the first weeks in the house and that could not be tolerated. Mary Sue still shuddered when she remembered the way he had corrected her and reminded her of how important a spotless house was, when she had tried to argue with him. That was a lesson she had never forgotten.

Sometimes she thought that the dustbunnies were Billy Bob's, that he fed them, kept them as pets. It was of course crazy to think like that but he could sit amongst them in his chair, watching the telly, dustbunnies piled on his feet. He never seemed to notice them, not these ones, the ones that moved. The dead bunnies he always saw before she cleaned them away. They had to be dead bunnies because they looked just like the lively ones but without the beady eyes. And they didn’t squirm.

The one she had found under the sink had squirmed. Not at first when she picked it up but as soon as she opened the lid to the dustbin, it hade made a run for it. Tiny claws had pinched her finger and just before she dropped it, it looked at her and squeaked. For a few days after that she had dismissed the incident as a result of stress. Billy Bob had been particularly strict about the house being spotless and she guessed that that had affected her nerves. They weren’t really strong, her nerves. Neither was her mind, if you should believe Billy Bob. He always claimed that she was a tad dim-witted and slow.

Maybe she was slow, but she sure was fast enough to see the darn bunnies when they darted across the floor. Sometimes she was even fast enough to catch them. The little ones seemed to want to be caught. They twittered excitedly whenever she managed to catch one. She almost always let the little ones go. But the bigger ones was a different thing. They had gotten meaner lately. Their eyes had changed. Not only on the one who had bitten her, but on some of the other ones as well. She hadn’t let go of her mop at all since she had been jumped.

Her arm itched where it had bitten her, the puncture marks were red and inflamed. She wondered if they were poisonous, they looked like it with their sharp teeth. Maybe she should have cleaned it better, but since the dustbunnies weren't really real, she hadn't bothered. On the other hand, if they weren't real, how could she have been bitten?

She rubbed her fingers across her forehead, the headache was building again. As always she had picked the worst time to get a headache, Billy Bob had people coming over, and that always made her extra nervous. She had to look and behave her best, there would be hell to pay otherwise. The brief thought that perhaps this wasn't the best way to live her life skated through her head but she didn't try to catch it. Billy Bob was right, he always was, and if he said that this was how it worked, then that was the truth.

There wasn't much time left, dinner was to be served at 7 and she hadn't even started. She looked nervously at the clock, time was important, only a couple of hours to go. Somehow she had to let go of her mop, but her fingers refused. This was so idiotic! She couldn't possibly cook when holding the mop. But what if the bunnies came back? The big, mean one? What would she do then? She had to defend herself. But on the other hand; the bunnies usually stayed hidden while people were in the house, they mostly came out at night. Or when Mary Sue was alone. On a few occasion she had seen them during dinners. Billy Bob had tried to laugh her panic away, calling her a silly bint. Telling the guests that she was such pedant. She hadn't dared to correct him, she never did. Mary Sue herself could happily live with quiet, dead dustbunnies. She wasn't the perfectionist in the household. She wasn’t the one who had made them come alive.

She had heard the expression 'stuck between a rock and hard place' somewhere, and right then she absolutely understood what it meant. No dinner – Billy Bob would correct her. Letting go of the mop – the bunnies might get to her and only God knew what they would do. She could hear them growl softly from under the sink. Why they chose to hide there she would never understand, it wasn't that often she opened those doors. Only twice a day or so. If they wanted to rile her up they should be scooting around, not hiding. Or maybe they wanted to scare her, that was why they hid under the sink, waiting to come out when she was least expecting them. Mary Sue shuddered, she didn’t know which she was the most afraid of; the bunnies or Billy Bob.

She didn’t notice that the cupboard door had opened, not until she felt a soft touch against her ankle. One of the little ones had gotten out and was rubbing itself against her leg, almost like a cat. It made those twittering noises at her, looking at her with its blank, black eyes. Perhaps the little ones were babies, and the big ones the parents. Mary Sue frowned; if that was the case, they had nests somewhere. The question in that case was; where? She had scoured the house from top to bottom too many times to count. If there was a nest she would have found it by now. Or maybe…Mary Sue frowned again. She could wait a few minutes to start dinner, she was just going to sweep the house quickly.

With her mop in a firm grip, the dead little bunny still hanging from it, she peeked through the door into the living room. She felt a little sad that she had killed the little one, but they had people coming over, no bunnies were allowed then.

There were a lot of them, she had mopped up an entire flock only an hour ago, but she could still see new claw marks on the couch. The pillows she had arranged so neatly were messed up and moved around. The little bastards had been playing hide and seek again. That was almost worse than when they played under their bed. That at least she could stop with a quick sweep with the mop, chasing them away. They didn’t like that, they got into serious mischief after just to irritate her. But what could she do? Billy Bob already had issues with her having the mop by her bed, she couldn’t annoy him more by getting up to kill them properly in the middle of the night.

The red marks on her arm were spreading, and quickly. They reached from her wrist up above the elbow. The bite marks oozed a little, yellow translucent, and had begun to ache more than itch. She thought again of getting a band aid on them, clean them up, but there was no time. She had to make the house neat again. Tidying the living room took only a couple of minutes and then she took the stairs two at the time. There were noises coming from upstairs, scratchings and happy little squeaks.

They were waiting for her, right by the half open bedroom door. The flock was quiet, the twittering noises came from the bedroom, even though she 'knew' she had shut the door after cleaning it out earlier and there should be no bunnies in there. Maybe there was a hole in the wall somewhere. Mary Sue decided to call the carpenter first thing Monday morning.

Something was different with them, they looked more focused than she had ever seen them before, staring intently at her. The dull ache from the bite marks sent vicious, razor sharp tendrils up through her shoulder –making her arm twitch- and she could feel the fluid dripping down her swollen fingers. The mop handle felt heavier, slippery, in her sticky hand.

The big clock in the living room stroke five. Sometime during the years, the gentle chiming of the clock had turned louder, darker. The sound gave her chills, especially when time was short. It also kicked her into action again. Mary Sue took a step towards the little flock, a quick sweep and she could get the ones in the bedroom as well. That would still leave her time to start dinner in good time, she could deal with the ones under the sink then too.

On the average day, the bunnies took flight when she got close with the mop. These didn't. They huddled closer together, still staring at her. The noises from the bedroom quieted down, all she could hear was movement, like something was dragged across the floor. She lifted the mop, made a shooing motion, but the handle slipped in her hands. The fingers of her left hand had gone numb and she briefly noted that the bunnies certainly had to be poisonous, at least the bigger ones. She could see one peeking out from behind the door, red eyes glimmering. She wondered if it was the one that had bitten her before, it could very well be; it had the dark spot that looked like dried blood on its head. Actually, it had several dark spots all over its body. The grey fur was matted with it and she could see red stains on its teeth. It hadn't had those spots before, when it bit her. But it had dug its teeth in her so hard that there had been a small fountain of blood from her wrist and it had gotten some on its head. She had wiped up the rest at the same time she cleaned up the puddle of pee.

The thing hissed at her and backed off, disappearing back into the bedroom. The flock in front of the room still didn't move, they kept staring at her. Or maybe behind her; Mary Sue looked back towards the stairs. The floor was grey, a pulsing, grey mat covered the stairs, slowly inching towards her.

Mary Sue sighed, the stubborn bunnies refusing to run and the softly chiming- booming- clock made her head ache even worse. They should run, she didn't have the time to sort them out really. And she didn't like the way they looked at her, all silent, following every move she made with their blank, black, red-tinted eyes. Calculating. Waiting.

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tried to focus. Told herself that they weren't real, only her stressed-out mind playing games with her. That helped sometimes, if she didn't acknowledge them they went away. For a while at least, gave her enough time to get her wits together again.

It didn't work. When she opened her eyes again, the grey mat had come even closer, they were almost at her feet. They had been close enough before, but she had never felt their breath, she didn't think they 'could' breathe- they weren't real after all. Air wafted against her ankles, if that wasn't breath she didn't know what it was. Mary Sue took a step away, closer to the bedroom. Then another. The sharp nip at her ankle made her jump, the bunny staring up at her bared its teeth and moved to bite her again. A quick step aside made it miss, its teeth clacking together on empty air.

Mary Sue stumbled into the bedroom, they grey mat of bunnies edging closer and closer. How could she not know that they were so many? How that could have passed her didn't make any sense, she tidied the house every day, every hour, every minute. She had seen them in all shapes and forms, heard the noises, but never so many.

The sound was no longer soft when they moved, the sharp 'click click' of claws tore the silence apart. Mary Sue's head pounded in sync with the noise. Dear Lord, she had to get dinner going. Two important with spouses. That made four persons. The bunnies edged closer and Mary Sue kept backing up. She really didn't have the time for this. Billy Bob had left her a list with what the guests preferred to eat, she had put it somewhere but the question was where...

She batted after the dratted bunnies with her mop, they had to understand that she didn't have the time to play at the moment. Two important and spouses was a huge deal, Billy Bob was trying to make it big-to be a success- and she had to support him. That was what good wives did, right? They never complained, they kept everything in order, they did not get into fits over lists. Billy Bob had told her so, sternly, so it had to be true. He never lied, Billy Bob, he just tried to take care of her, help her understand. That was what he said, over and over again, she should be grateful to him.

The bed stopped her backwards stumbling. The bunnies piled up around her feet, clawed their way up to her knees and made her sit down. Sitting down; Mary Sue hadn't sat down properly during the day in years. Amidst the chaos, it was really nice to sit down. she felt the softness of the mattress, how good it was to get off of her feet for once. The mop slipped a little in her hand but when she went to grasp it again, she did it with her left hand, the achy one. Only this time it didn't hurt. The red marks were gone when she looked, the little holes as well. She laughed at herself, of course the bunnies weren't poisonous- they weren't even real! How could she have ever thought so?

Mary Sue took a deep breath; she really had to get going. A quick sweep with the mop removed the bunnies, they fell away from her knees-chattering and squeaking. One even tried to hold on with its sharp little claws. It looked at her with those weird eyes and chirped. Mary Sue just pushed it down, gently, there was no need to kill any of them really. The grey mat of angry bunnies was gone; probably under the bed, she thought, but she could deal with that later. Dinner was the most important at the moment.

The clock chimed-boomed-again. Only once. That meant 5.30. Only an hour and a half until the guests arrived. Billy Bob would be home before that and dear lord if she wasn't prepared then.

Mary Sue stood up, scattering bunnies around her. She was a good wife, the best! She could do this. Billy Bob would be so proud of her. As if, a little voice grumped, as if he ever had been or would be. Mary Sue shook her head, she didn't have time for the bunnies and certainly not for that irritating voice that spoke to her almost every day. She could bet that the voice was a test Billy Bob had come up with, to see if she would listen and be a bad wife or not listen and be a good one.

She resolutely stepped over to Billy Bob, shooed away the bunnies from his chest and took the note he was still holding. That was where she had left it! She glanced down again and noted the miscoloured carpet, that stain would take some time to remove but she would sort it tomorrow. But she better chase out all of the bunnies, they couldn't keep playing in it and get those red stains all over them and spread the mess around the house.

Mary Sue got to work, she did what she was best at; tidying and cooking. She felt that certain satisfaction when she worked, she was doing well, doing it right, there wouldn't be any punishment after the guests had left. Billy Bob would be happy with her. When the meal was almost done, after the specifications on the note- she went up and got Billy Bob. She told him that dinner was almost done, it had been hard to see what the note said- because of the stains on it- but she had figured it out. Billy Bob didn't answer. She took that as he was happy with her. She had to wipe him off before bringing him down, couldn't get those stains on the couch really-but that was done in no time.

She sat him down in his chair and brought the whiskey he liked before dinner, the towel she had to wrap around his head very much matched the colours of the room and it actually looked good. It made him look dignified in a weird sort of way, like a wise old Bedouin. She made sure the bar was ready with all the things Billy Bob liked. When she asked if everything seemed good, he didn't answer. She took that as a yes. There was still time to make herself look decent- a quick visit to the bathroom sorted out her makeup and her clothes. Dinner smelled lovely- chateaubriand, potatoes au gratin, green pepper sauce, for starters a light shrimp salad. She had outdone herself and Billy Bob would love her again.

The guests- two important and spouses- arrived on time. Mary Sue opened the door with a bright smile on her face.

"Welcome! Please step right in. Billy Bob is in the lounge, preparing drinks."

They stepped right in, didn't even look at her. But that didn't matter on this day. Mary Sue knew very well what she should do. She heard the first shocked noise from the lounge and smiled- a true smile this time. A few bunnies had climbed onto her little meat cleaver and she had to push them away, they chirped at her and nipped gently at her fingers. That was their way to show affection, she knew that now. She would always take care of the bunnies.

This was a good day after all. For the first time in a long, long time, Mary Sue was in control. The noises from the lounge grew in volume and Mary Sue sighed. Why couldn't Billy Bob entertain the guests? She picked up the cleaver, put on her best hostess-smile and went into the lounge.