I gazed at the blue glass ball. It felt light in my hands, and a wicked thought suggested I let go. Perhaps, instead of smashing, it would float away like a bubble, or bounce, like a ping-pong ball. I gripped a little tighter, and brought the glass closer to my face so that the whole world turned sapphire blue.
Gama told me the ball would show me the truth. Her voice had been serious but her eyes wrinkled at the corners. Mum laughed and said it was just an old fisherman’s float.
When I held the glass right in front of my eyes the sign opposite our house was still readable, if tinged blue, and the tree with its brittle, bare branches and lichen-stained trunk seemed barely changed. But if I pulled the ball back it a bit, and stared one way, everything began to curve, drooping downwards like a sad smile. And if I concentrated on the outside surface I could see reflections. My face: too wide, upside down, and full of shadows.
I imagined the ball floating on a sea slashed with jade green and charcoal grey. I remembered the smell of seaweed and the rumble of waves from our holiday with Gama. I’d poked limpets gripping the rock so tightly it seemed they could not let go. My lungs had been full of ozone-tinged air, my skin worn sore by gritty sand. Seawater in my nose and salt on my tongue. The empty shell of a crab.
Without a net the ball would float away. Not gone, exactly, but lost to me. Somewhere I would probably never see it again.
I walked into the garage and put the ball on its shelf.
Then I brushed the dust from my black dress and went back into the house.
Just in case you weren’t counting, this piece is exactly 300 words long — it’s a tricky length to work with and still build in some kind of structure. Did it work? Let me know…