Birthday party balloons, 2008

Birthday party balloons, 2008


Eden rolled the cigarette between her thumb and forefinger before placing it between her lips.

“Don’t,” said Rachel.

Eden reached into her bag and pulled out her lighter.

“Jesus, Eden. It’s a kids party. My kid’s party.”

Eden plucked the cigarette out of her mouth and began to roll and weave it between her fingers. Rachel let out a loud sigh her body collapsing with its weight.

“Why are you so uptight?” said Eden.

Rachel turned away.

“I need to get the balloons. Everyone will be leaving soon. I need to give them out with the party bags,” she said.

Eden narrowed her eyes at a young boy standing in front of her.

“Who are you?” he said.

Eden bent down until her eyes were level with his.

“I’m your worst nightmare.”

The boy opened his mouth wide into a scream. Eden squinted and frowned with the sound.

“What the hell did you say to him?” Rachel’s words came out in a low hiss, specks of spit catching the sunlight and landing in Eden’s hair. “Eden? Christ, I should never have invited you here. It's Michael's fault. Invite your sister, he said. What a mistake that was.”

Rachel’s voice trailed off. Eden wasn’t listening. She was standing with her head turned skyward along with the rest of the party. In the dark of the atmosphere, beyond the brilliant blue sky, a small ball of flame was gathering speed.

“What the hell is that?” said Rachel, shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand.

“RUN!” said Eden grabbing at her sister’s elbow and pulling her hard.

“Eden! You’re scaring me. What is that? Aaron. Michael. I have to find them.” Rachel shook herself free from Eden’s grip as the fireball glowed larger with power.

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