You must login to vote
I see him every day. Running and smiling, laughing and floating with the air. He is carefree and this little segment of the world is his home. No evil can fall upon him in his home. As God looks down and I look out, the sun shines through him in his eyes and in his heart.
The balloon is floating too. The face upon it leers down, decapitated and devilish. Its string entwined in a noose to the hand of the boy and I don't know who is leading who. It seems like the boy is following the balloon's soundless tune, whispering him to keep chasing.
He's fifty metres away from the house and now closer to the lake than he is to me. I'm not worried though. Surely nothing can happen to him but still that small seed of doubt is sown into my mind. Even the most innocent of places can be instrumental in death. As the ever constant worries continue to ache, a wind from nowhere begins to breathe and all too soon I notice that things seem to be moving a little faster, a little more frantic and that's when I first notice that I may be losing control of the situation. The chime on the old wicker tree begins to toll. It's sad tuneless ring peels out like an apocalypse bell signaling the end.
By now the balloon has wrenched itself free from the boy's hand and has him running, guiding him towards the water at a rate which is far to fast and that's when I begin to panic. I rush outside and the first thing I notice is how cold it's become. The clouds begin to close above me denying the sun and God closes his eternal eye in one long blink.
I look for the boy and for a second I can't find him, lost in the sand and the debris. Then I see the balloon. Twisting slightly I see its face and the strangest thing is, I think the balloon is looking at me, and smiling. I start to run towards it but it seems to instinctively turn away from me and continue to drift to the ocean, keeping just enough out of range to evade the clutches of a small boy.
I run like it's my own life in danger but the gap between us stays the same. I trip on some driftwood and stumble. My face creates a mould in the sand and when I raise it I can see the balloon has found it's way down to the old pier and a chill thins my spine. It wrinks up my neck like a shot of venom.
The old pier.
It's the last place I saw my husband before I lost him to the sea. He told me he was going out for while. He said that perhaps it was best not to wait up for him. Then he quietly closed the door behind him and went out into the cool breeze. I watched him walk to the old pier with his hands in his pockets, kicking stones as he went. I saw him reach the pier and look out to the still waters beyond. By the time he was in the boat I knew he wouldn't be coming back. They found the boat but they never found a body. Now as I watch my son I feel the same sick way. I try to move but can't. Time is stagnant and the only things that seem to move are the balloon and my son.
He is on the pier skipping down it with innocent folly, the balloon leading him like a piper, attuned to its silent melody. It cuts and divots and he mimics it's directions. It weaves and suddenly ducks down beside the pier and a horrible thought enters my head. My husbands boat rocks over a foreshadowing ripple and my heart skips a beat.
I see him get down on his hands and knees.
I yell at him to leave it, wait until Mummy comes. My fist hammers against the sand.
"Stop. Stop!" I yell but he doesn't hear me and he doesn't stop. Instead he puts his head down in between the pier and the boat just as another wave laps in from the tide pushing the boat gently back into the pier.
That's when I hear the sickening scream and all I see is a balloon staring back at me, drifting silently off into the endless ocean.
I may be stupid but at least I'm not handsome.