The yellow house had two couches and that's where the mad women sat. Dust motes rose in the air and mice skittered under the couches as Jan, Linda and Betsy discussed the virtues of margarine and certain kinds of ineffable cheese. The house had no cat so the mice(more) populated and repopulated, even formed civilizations with fiefdoms then townships then cities, making small lampposts with streets and donning clothes while the mad women moved on to discuss which flavor each would choose if offered Neopolitan ice-cream or would each rather have the all the flavors melted together, all this as the mice began to lift the women's couches and move them subtly five inches forward then five inches back, more as gestures of political dominance than anything else and because the small, now eerily intelligent, rodents now knew they could.
In the five years she lived there, Rachel knew two things: 1. she should never look under the couches and 2. if she sat on the couches for too long, the couches would claim her as they had claimed Jan, Linda and Betsy, who had never meant to be mad in the first place. Jan, for example, when she wasn't sitting on a couch for most of the day, cross-polinated coleus and read Asimov. Linda read westerns and, sitting, moon-faced on her her moon-faced bed, did cross-word puzzles. Betsy went for barbecue with her sweet, slight boyfriend where they ate with enthusiasm enjoying each other's monosyllabic company.
Years later, when Rachel no longer lived in the yellow house and could no longer be called mad, at least not was mad as she was, she would remember them all with fondness and terror, the women, the couches, the mice civilization chanting late into the night.