Friday, April 13, 2012

The Magic Ball

The ball is glass and blue and purple and pink. Ellie runs all around with it, around all the grown-ups, around all the lawn chairs, around all the bigger kids. She runs into the garden and points it at a flower.

"Brrrring! Flowers unite!" she says.

She runs to the next flower.

"Brrring! Flowers unite!"

She runs to a pot.

"Brrring! Flowers unite!"

She runs to the patio.

"All right," she says, "Lets go!"

She runs past me, and has to stop because Uncle Jeff is carrying something heavy and is blocking her. I reach out for the ball. It's slimy from Ellie's hand. She pulls it away

"Hey! You can't have it unless you know Princess Haley's secret name."

I think Princess Haley is from another station, one our TV doesn't get.

"Do you know what her secret name is?" Ellie says.

I feel stupid. If Mom and Dad let me watch the show Princess Haley was on, I'd know. I'd remember. Ellie is starting to laugh at me. I shake my head.

"That's because it's a secret!"

She runs away, waving the glass ball in the air. She's going to break it. I want it before it breaks. My tears start in my belly and rise up until they spill out through my eyes.

"Lexi, what's wrong?"

Aunt Tara looks at me like grownups do when they want to help.

"Ellie won't share the ball."

"Did you ask her to share?"

If I tell her no, she won't want to help. I need her to help because she can tell Ellie what to do. It would be best if I could get Aunt Penny to tell Ellie to give me the ball because she's her mom. Ellie would have to listen to her, though she never does. I don't know why. I wish I didn't have to listen to my mom.

"Ellie said I had to know Princess Haley's secret name, and I don't know it."

"Tell you what, Lexi, let's go see if we can guess it."

Aunt Tara takes me by the hand and we find Ellie dancing around a tree. She sees me and Aunt Tara coming and she stops. Aunt Tara will get the ball for me, because she's a grown-up and she's got a big ugly nose. Ugly grownups are better because they look more mean.

"Ellie, is that your ball?" Aunt Tara says.

Ellie shakes her head yes.

"Can you share your ball with your cousin?"

Ellie puts the ball behind her back, but doesn't say anything. She shrugs.

"Is it magic?" Aunt Tara says, "Is it Princess Haley's magic jewel?"

Ellie shakes her head yes.

"If Lexi and I can guess her secret name, can she have a turn?"

Ellie looks over at the older kids and shrugs.

"What do you think it is, Lexi?" Aunt Tara says.

"I don't know," I say to Aunt Tara, "Princess Pea?"

Ellie shakes her head no.

"Cinderella?" I say.

Ellie shook her head no. This was going to take forever. Then Aunt Tara winked at me.

"Ellie, is it Sparkle Blossom?" she say.

Ellie doesn't look at us. Her face is all mad, and her lips are all scrunched up. She holds out the ball to me. I grab it. It is all shiny and slippery and warm. It makes my nose look big and my eyes all googley when I hold it up close.

"Remember to give it back to Ellie when your turn is over," Aunt Tara says. She walks back to the other grown-ups.

Ellie grabs the ball out of my hand when I'm not looking.

"Hey!" I say.

"It's not fair," Ellie says, "Aunt Tara knew the name and you didn't. You cheated."

She points the ball at me.

"Brrring! Evil witch be gone!" she says, and runs away.

I chase her around the trees, the picnic table, and the older kids. She runs through the grown-ups at the fire pit, but they make me go around. Ellie looks back at me and laughs. She laughs and shouts her magic words at me and runs and runs. She runs right into Uncle Jeff and falls on the cement. She screams really high when she sees her hands had blood on them, but I don't think it's that bad. Maybe she's afraid they'll put alcohol on it, because that hurts worse than falling down. She screams loud and fast, like a police car. Uncle Jeff is going find her mom. I find the glass ball under a bush.

I hold it out to a flower.

"Brrring! Flowers unite!" I say.

Nothing happens. I say it again and again. I try holding it different, try saying it to different flowers, but it doesn't work. Ellie broke it.

I go back to the grownups. A bunch of them are around Ellie. I want to cry, but I don't because if I start now the tears will be all gone when I find Aunt Tara.

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