The box must have weighed a hundred pounds. It was marked “FRAGILE” in big, red letters. Martha Capes wasn’t sure if it was dishes or her daughter’s decorative figurines. She was sure that she would never pack a box that heavy again.
Jackson Capes walked past her, back out to the moving van. He tried not to give his wife a disappointed look, but it was hard. There was no reason she should be carrying heavy boxes. She had other things to deal with, like their four year old daughter who was currently having a tantrum about her unicorn being packed and their unborn son, growing inside her.
However, telling Martha not to do something was harder than hunting for life on other planets. If he said anything, she would do exactly what he didn’t want to do and he’d hear about her abilities.
They were both cranky. Jackson knew it. Martha knew it. Moving was stressful under normal conditions. These were not normal conditions. Six weeks earlier he’d been a professor of physics at a small college. Now he was working at a major university, in a completely different state. They had found and bought the house in record time. He started teaching in two days. He was going to start working on a new project that involved astrophysics and the search for earth-like planets.
Martha had given up a job as an English teacher to move here. There didn’t seem to be much need for English teachers in their new town. That had been hard on her and they both knew it.
She set the box down on the kitchen table. At least they had hired movers for the furniture. It had all been delivered the day before. Tiffany, their daughter, ran into the room. Her cheeks were red from the heat. She’d been running around for at least an hour. The house was much bigger than their old one. The yard was bigger too and someone had built a treehouse. Tiffany had already climbed the rickety ladder, in direct defiance of her mother’s wishes. There was bark on her clothes and in her hair.
“Well, what do you think?” Martha asked. Tiffany was ten, not quite in the rebellious stage, but Martha saw it coming.
“It’s gorgeous,” Tiffany spun around the room. “Every room is so big and the treehouse will be great for sleep overs.”
“We’ll be waiting until your father can replace the ladder before we do any sleepovers in the treehouse,” Martha answered.
“But he never finishes any project he starts.” Tiffany’s lower lip stuck out just a little after she said this. Martha wanted to say that she’d make sure Jackson got right on it, but it would have been a lie that neither of them believed. She would most likely have to call a handyman to come replace it.
There was a loud crash. Tiffany and Martha both jumped. Martha’s heart pounded in her chest, her hands visibly shook, and she stared at the box. It lay upside down on the floor. However, it was at least a foot from the table and Martha hadn’t set it near the edge. Jackson came rushing into the kitchen.
©Hadena James 2015