Peering through the teensy slit he'd made with the door, Ari found he could watch his poor, unsuspecting sister meander around the yard. Crouching there in the dampness of a rotting, late autumn afternoon, he imagined himself a panther -- coiled and alert -- waiting to spring. He blinked. She did look like a rabbit, after all, in her fluffy toque. If she didn't want him leaping out at her, she shouldn't have worn that toque. Ari shifted his weight in the playhouse, watching her. He silently scrunched and unscrunched his feet in his too-tight boots. Probably shouldn't have jumped in that puddle, he reflected, imaging ice sausages where his toes used to be. But it had been Erik's idea -- his best friend, Erik. And Erik was full of great ideas. A person just can't say no to that.
Ari's sister drifted closer.
He thought of how annoying she'd been that morning at breakfast. Whining. Always whining. What had mom said? Something about removing her ears. Ari fingered his ear as he wondered about that. Could a person just take them off? If so, he thought, he'd keep his in his drawer. Next to the tooth fairy notes and the plastic gun he'd managed to hide from his mom. She was sharp, he mused. But not sharp enough.