“What did you get?” “Well...it was a really slow day and—” “I said, what did you get?” “I mean, I tried, I really did. But there were—ah-choo!—coppers everywhere and I didn’t want to—” The man, a sickly-looking fellow in his early twenties with an oversized red nose and undersized watery eyes, holds up a handful of coins and crumpled one dollar bills.
“You’re worthless, do you know that? I work all day, stealing to make ends meet and pay our rent and that’s it? We can’t even pay for all the tissues you use with that! You little—” The tall, pointy woman slaps the change out of the man’s hand, sending coins flying through the air.
“—but Anastasia, sweetie” whimpers the man.
“Don’t you ‘Anastasia, sweetie’ me, Martin—” starts Anastasia as she takes a series of menacing towards where Martin cowers on the thoroughly worn, heavily stained sofa.
Martin stops mid-whimper and Anastasia stops mid-glower as the loud sound clangs throughout the apartment. They look at each other, then jump up and run, Martin sneezing and Anastasia frowning, down the hall of their cramped studio apartment.
“Did you—?” asks Anastasia.
“No, but how—?” asks Martin.
The two stare in wonder at the washing machine. To be quite frank, it is a very ordinary washing machine—plain white and not particularly new. One might wonder why the two are so startled to see it. Are they so dimwitted that they can be amazed by something as simple as an ordinary household appliance?
While such might be the case for Martin, whose sinus issues seem to far outweigh his IQ, the reason is more likely that the washing machine, which now occupies the formerly empty spot at the end of their short corridor, had not been there only a few moments before.
And, at least in Boston, washing machines do not ordinarily just appear in hallways.
Anastasia opens the lid of the washing machine and looks in.
“How peculiar...” she murmurs. She leans forward, peering down into the belly of the machine.
“Be careful—” begins Martin. But his warning comes too late. As Anastasia leans into the machine, a strong wind picks up— indoors!—and knocks Anastasia in. With a loud WHOOSH, Anastasia is gone.
“What the heck—” says Martin. He looks in after Anastasia and, just as quickly as before, the wind picks up and knocks him in.