Page 57 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 57

hadn’t broken the phone when I knocked it to the floor. Even as I weighed the pros and cons of each, my eyes fell on the square object that had fallen out of Samantha’s grasp. It was a lacquered wooden box that had somehow landed perfectly so that I could read the small brass plaque attached to the middle of one side. It read:
Kyle Barnes
2000-2008 Beloved Child Life is Love
My breath caught in shock.
My stunned brain chose the call-for-help option, even while processing what I was seeing. I stumbled to my feet and ran back downstairs. My trembling fingers wrapped around the phone. It was still working, thank God. The same trembling fingers managed to punch the three magic numbers which would cause help to arrive. I heard a disconnected voice (mine) give fragmented information. Dropping the phone, I turned and started back up the stairs. Maybe I could manage the CPR thing until the ambulance arrived.
I reached the landing and turned, looking up. A sight greeted me, freezing me in my steps.
Kyle and his mother stood hand-in-hand, looking down at me from the top of the stairs.
I felt the hairs on my head stiffen, and my eyes open wide with shock.
The two were somehow lit with a strange inner glow ... it was sort of like I was seeing them with some other sense, not my eyes ... I can’t explain ... they cast no shadow, their pale light illuminated nothing. But they were so ... vivid.
Kyle spoke then. “She woke up,” he said simply. “She’s okay now.”
And they started down the stairs toward me. As they approached my fear-frozen self they began to fade away, like a sidewalk chalk drawing in the rain. Their forms became more amorphous the closer they got until they passed around me ... through me ... hazy blobs of unfocused vapor, lit from within.
For a split second I could hear distant happy voices, felt love and contentment ... briefly I saw and smelled flowers, plants, growing things ...
And then they were gone.
In the distance, the sound of sirens rose, gradually getting closer.
After some time ... I really can’t say how much ... I went back down the stairs, then outside to wait for the rescue team.
As I stood there in the humid night air, surrounded by the night noises of crickets and distant traffic, my eyes settled over Crash Mountain. It was now just a small, grass-covered heap in the lawn. The intricate network of roads that Kyle had built on it was completely gone, as if they had never been there at all.
“That’s it. The end.” Tom stated. Whitney and the old man clapped spontaneously.
“Wonderful, honey!” Whitney exclaimed.
“Not as good as yours,” Tom said humbly.
“A fine story!” the old man in his easy chair exclaimed from the shadows. “Very well told, and quite scary. But not as scary as mine!”
He cleared his throat and began to speak ...

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