Halloween Flash Fiction Event: Olivia Hardin

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Thank you for joining us for this Halloween Flash Fiction Event story from Olivia Hardin. Olivia’s story manages to be sweet AND creepy, and that’s an interesting accomplishment! Be sure to check out the giveaway from Olivia after her story. The image is a stock photo from a DeviantART artist who specifically allows it to be used on outside websites, with credit and links posted. Big thanks, to both the author and the artist, for sharing. Now… on to the story…

 

Mrs. Grady’s Globes
by Olivia Hardin

Even though she’s always getting us into mischief, I love her. She’s my big sister. We’re always together. Even though I’m three years younger, she never minded me always being there. Always the girls, always a team. And I always go with her.

Some temptations are just too great to deny, especially for Sissy. If the cookie jar was in reach and momma said only one, she would sneak a second. Certain channels on television were off limits, so those were the ones she went to when the adults left the room. The basement was locked, but when daddy left his key ring out she would sneak down just because she could.

Mrs. Grady was a crazy old woman. We’d watch her from the tree line as she tossed handfuls of feed to imaginary chickens. She’d cluck and talk to them, her eyes moving as if she could really see them even though nothing was there. After a while she’d go back into the house and the crows would come to eat up all of the leavings. Every once in a while she would catch them taking the food from her make-believe chicks and when that happened she’d come out of the house with a tennis racket, swinging.

She found us watching her the week before she died. I can still remember the way her blue eyes squinted at the woods, the skin crinkling up on her face as she frowned and strained to see us. I tugged on Sissy’s sleeve and begged her to go home, but she just shook her head and stood defiant.

“Get over here, you little sneaks. C’mon now. Come into the sun so I can see you.”

Sissy stepped right forward, her chin up and her golden hair catching the light and glistening. She was so pretty that day. I liked the blue checked shirt she wore and couldn’t wait until I was big enough to get it as a hand-me-down.

“You aren’t thinkin’ of stealing my chicks, are you?”

“No, ma’am,” I answered immediately, rushing to stand beside my sister and taking her hand. “We were just watching.”

“Humph,” she stared at us a few minutes and then glanced over her shoulder. I didn’t realize until that moment that Sissy hadn’t been looking at her, but instead at something on Mrs. Grady’s window sill. “You steal my chickens and you’ll get in big trouble with your folks.”

“What is that?” Sissy inquired, her eyes still locked at the spot over Mrs. Grady’s shoulder.

water_ball3_by_mrscats-d65y6xdWhen Mrs. Grady stepped closer I tiptoed around Sissy’s body so that I could see what she was looking at. There on the window sill was a fishbowl with water. But there were no fish inside. Instead there were two crystal globes. One big, one small. It was hard not to look at the globes. Their pretty gleam sparkled and coaxed me to gaze deep.

“I don’t want anybody around my chickens,” Mrs. Grady spoke again and her words were more of a shriek.

“We’ll stay away from your chickens,” Sissy told her with a coy smile, “But can we have those?”

Mrs. Grady huffed and looked back at the fish bowl. After a minute she stomped to the window and grabbed it, sloshing water over the sides as she delivered it to us. Sissy greedily grabbed the rim, but Mrs. Grady didn’t let go of it. “Never, ever look directly into the gazing balls. Admire them only through the water.”

I remember I began to shiver when I heard her words. I stared at her, watching the way her eyes went dark as she spoke. Sissy snatched the fish bowl and started immediately back to our house.

“What happens if we look at them?” I quivered.

“If you look at them they’ll steal your soul.”

I recoiled. The wind picked up and I wrapped my arms around my belly before turning and hurrying to catch up with my sister.

After that I never, ever left Sissy’s side. I knew that if given the chance she would take the balls from the water and look at them.   For days she only left our room to eat and go to school. The fishbowl was placed directly beside her bed and she stared at it in a trance. I was afraid to sleep at night for fear she’d give in to her temptation.   But as long as I was near she never made a move to touch the balls. She never tried to remove them from the water.

Then it happened one weekend. Momma came screaming into the house, calling for daddy. Sissy was cross-legged on her bed, watching the bowl and humming low to herself, a timid smile on her face. I listened, cocking my head to hear what momma was saying.

“Call 9-1-1, Martin. It’s Mrs. Grady. They found her in the yard and they think she might be dead.”

I gasped and ran out into the hallway, eyes wide as my father grabbed the cordless phone and dialed the number. I’m not sure how long I stayed that way, listening him give instructions to the emergency services people. But after a few moments I remembered Sissy and panic welled up from my belly, making me sick.

When I got back to our room she was standing in front of the nightstand. I stepped closer to her and when I was just behind her I realized we were standing in water. I looked down at my socked feet, a growing puddle on the hardwood floor.

“Sissy, what did you do?”

She shook her head, her golden waves brushing the tops of her shoulders. “It broke. There was a pop and it broke. Look at the them, Bea. Look at how pretty they are now.”

When she stepped closer to the nightstand I could see the broken fishbowl, the water almost gone. I clamped my eyes shut and then mashed my fisted hands into my eye sockets to keep from looking at the balls. “Don’t look, Sissy. Don’t look!”

Finally I reached out my hands to her, feeling desperately, but finding only empty space. I didn’t dare open my eyes, so I stepped forward, palms out, still searching.

And then my fingers came upon the cold, wet balls. I clutched them both, then reared my hands back to throw them. The sound of Sissy’s pleading stopped me.

“Don’t let me go alone, Bea… please…” and her words faded to nothing.

The globes warmed in my hands and when I opened my eyes the room was empty. I wasn’t brave enough to look at the globes. I placed them carefully on the bed, not sparing even a single glance at them. I took Sissy’s pillow and removed the case, then dropped the globes inside.

That was thirteen years ago. Now I carry those crystal gazing balls with me every day.

She always goes with me.   She’s my big sister. We’re always together. Always the girls, always …

 

About The Author

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”’ and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia and Get information about releases, contests, news and more here:

Website: http://olivia-hardin.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/m13aj

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/oliviahardin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/oliviaH_writer

 

About The Artist

Image: Water Ball 3

Artist Page: mrscats   http://www.deviantart.com/art/water-ball3-372790417
WinThisButton

One commenter (US/CAN) will win a signed paperback copy of TROLLING FOR TROUBLE (The Lynlee Lincoln Series, Book One) and miscellaneous swag from Olivia! Just let us know what you thought of the story, and you’ll be entered to win. Contest starts now, and will end November 2nd. Winner will be chosen on November 3rd. Good luck!!

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Lori H:

    I enjoyed the story. I haven’t read this author yet so will look forward to reading her work 🙂

  2. Comment by bn100:

    It was nice

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. Comment by Jennifer:

    Hope you like them, Lori. I’ve heard lots of good things. 🙂

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