(10) It's Not Burglary if You Have the Keys

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I knew Ditzy's family owned a mansion, but even walking past it three times in the last six weeks doesn't prepare me for just how absolutely gigantic it is. Ditzy drags back the wrought-iron front gate to let us onto a driveway that cruises over enough lawn to choke a lawnmower. It ends in a loop in front of the house, all criss-cross decorative brick and once-kempt marigold edging. If I ever had to live here, I think I'd go insane.

Ditzy swaggers right up to the front door like she owns the place, which she kind of does. Not sure if inheritance laws apply in the apocalypse. Or if her whole family is Sleeping.

Either way, there's no trace of grief on her face. It hits me odd, and it always has. Calico J and I both have family in another part of the country—the same state, ironically—further inland than here along the coast. As far as we know, they're all Sleeping. We both take it hard. And Patrick doesn't come from a great situation, from what we can tell, but he still at least winces whenever the topic comes up. Ditzy shows no reaction at all.

The front door of the mansion has an electronic keypad, but also a boot print in the middle of the door. I know both Ditzy and Calico J have been here before, locating supplies and grabbing a Morse code book from Ditzy's brother's room. Ditzy punches in the passcode—it's battery-powered—then, true to form, lifts one boot and kicks the door with about as much ceremony as an anime break-and-enter. It flies open. I side-eye the doorframe as we follow her inside. Even with the passcode, she's done in the strike plate: there's splintered wood where it used to be, still in the shape of the metal bracing that probably lives on the floor somewhere down the hall now. The drywall where the door handle made contact is busted, too.

This feels illegal. I guess it's not exactly breaking and entering if we have someone who knows the passcode, but it makes me wonder how Ditzy will answer for the property damage if her family ever wakes up again.

An expansive hallway opens up before us. Lush carpet floors it, and chic designer lights dangle overhead. They're dark—this area rarely gets electricity—but our way is sunlit thanks to the wall-length windows in the sitting room to our right. I peek inside. The couches and chairs there must cost my tuition apiece, and an aggressively large painting of something swoopy and abstract commands the space above an electric fireplace. The mantlepiece below is lined with trophies. Thick curtains brood on either side of the windows, and by brood I mean they've been dragged aside and thrown over a lampshade on one side and a marble-looking statue on the other. I'd bet money that's Ditzy's doing. It also means those curtains were drawn in across the aforementioned wall-length windows when she first arrived, blackout-thick and shutting out all this sunlight. I'll never understand the lives and habits of rich people.

Though I guess Ditzy turned out okay. If "okay" encapsulates slightly insane and probably with enough parental issues to outweigh me and Calico J's functional families put together.

I withdraw my head from the sitting room just in time to see Ditzy tip her bat sideways and sweep an expensive-looking vase off a side table as she strides up the hallway. Patrick leaps out the way as it smashes. It's pottery, not glass, thank god. Nobody says a word as we pick our way around the shards. Ditzy knocks a painting askew, then hooks the edge of what looks like a family photo and flips it around on itself. I think she meant to wrench it off the wall entirely, but the wire it hangs on is too long. Calico J wisely moves back so there's a safe distance between the two of them. Patrick has retreated to the back of the line.

The hallway opens up around a wooden staircase I'd expect to find in a Victorian mansion, not a classy rich house in Chesnet's uptown east side. Ditzy spins on her heel to face us. Her bat falls heavy on the wooden railing, almost certainly denting it.

"Take whatever you want," she says. "Bedrooms and guest rooms are upstairs, as is my mother's personal library, her and my dad's offices, and the music room with the grand piano. I'll need a minute to get into the garage, so make yourselves at home. Or don't." She spins away. "This place isn't exactly a home, if you get what I mean. Full of shiny things, though. Break whatever you want, if you don't take it."

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