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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.

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The following comments are for "Crush"
by Emlyn

Bad? Ha, that's not what I think, I only wanted to get your attention, leave you in suspense for a bit. Bad is definitely a misnomer, to me, this was amazing, worthy of a ten. I enjoyed it because it was poetic in its sorrow. I was absolutely blown away. The balloon was fantastic in Crush, adding to the gravity of what happened. Did something happen in your life that inspired this story?

Truly amazing, I tip my hat to you Emlyn.

( Posted by: TheGreatSage [Member] On: November 22, 2004 )

The Great Sage
Thank you very much for the kind words TGS. To be honest, I got the idea from a short three lined article in the newspaper which told of an unnamed toddler meeting a very unfortunate end at a time which he least expected. To die is often a horrible thing but to have a child die with their entire life ahead of them is fairly devastating. I'm lucky I've never had to experience it.

Thanks again
Emlyn (looking for a piece of wood to touch).

( Posted by: Emlyn [Member] On: November 23, 2004 )

Nevertheless, it was a great story, keep up the good work.

( Posted by: TheGreatSage [Member] On: November 24, 2004 )

Good Stuff
I like the way the momentum in this piece just keeps building and I agree with Sage, the balloon element is a brilliant touch.

An enjoyable read. Kudos.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: November 26, 2004 )

Thank you very much Hazelfaern. There is a lot of work on this site that reads like a story but sounds like a poem and I've always admired writers such as yourself that can do it well.
I'm glad you enjoyed the balloon, ever since I saw 'IT' I hated them.

Thanks again

( Posted by: Emlyn [Member] On: November 29, 2004 )

everything floats down here
I wanted to see what your writing is like, and found this. It is a very well done piece. Your use of imagery and plot are masterful. I avoid horror because I have become so partial to Stephen King, and go trying to compare everything to him, but your writing holds its own.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: December 25, 2004 )

'I'll dive you crazy and then I'll kill you all.'
Thank you very much BH. The comment of your title is one of my favorite Stephen King lines. At one stage I wanted to write a story called Floaters but I couldn't get Pennywise from my head when I tried to write it.

Thanks again.

( Posted by: Emlyn [Member] On: December 28, 2004 )

I am pretty new on this site so i thought that i would click the random reader link, this is the first story that appeared. Your writing flows like a beautiful poem, it was such a joy to read. Wow it was posted in 2004..well i am sure late on reading it.

( Posted by: woalook100 [Member] On: August 1, 2008 )

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