Charade lay tightly curled on the floor around her stuffed otter, watching the mouse hole in the wall curiously. They had been silent for over an hour now. She wondered if maybe they had left to get food or something. The faint screaming from the floor below would have passed unnoticed had she not had her ear pressed closely to the dusty wooden boards below her. She squinted her eyes nearly shut and listened closer when she first noticed the sound. There it was again! She sat bolt upright and, practically choking her otter, shuffled timidly to the hallway, then to the stairs. The rotting carpet muffled the creaking of the stairs under her feet as she crept down, peeking around corners and listening hard. There were the screams again, louder now that she was so much closer. She noticed crazy bird lady standing in the hall. She seemed to be talking to someone. Charade tiptoed closer.
"Stop already!" The man Charade had never seen before shouted at crazy bird lady. Charade suddenly realized that crazy bird lady was the one making the screams. She seemed to be pretending to sing, in a mockery of the man Charade had never seen before. Crazy bird lady started again, screechy wails causing the man charade had never seen before to cover his ears and go running past Charade for the stairs. She stopped with a snide laugh and crossed her wings, or arms, Charade wasn't sure what to call them. Her curiosity satisfied, Charade hurried back up the stairs and returned to the mouse hole in her room.
Now that crazy bird lady had stopped her terrible screechy noises, the mice began to peek out of their hole one by one, waving their little mousy paws to Charade in greeting. She settled down in her place on the floor again and held out a large wedge of cheese she had been saving for them. They swarmed around it excitedly, breaking off pieces to hand to their fellows before they took some for themselves. She watched them with a small smile, humming along to the music in her head, the music that never stopped.