Friday, January 22, 2016

String, glass and Bowie

Robin's entry in the challenge

Ally and her friends did cartwheels across the lawn while David Bowie sang about spiders from Mars on the stereo speakers her mom had blasting from the kitchen.  It was a weird song.  She tugged her pigtails out from her halter strap, took a few deep breaths and chilled at the edge of the front lawn.  Gymnastic practice was hard work even if it did look like fun. There wasn't a lot of traffic on the street below but still, it was safer to practice their moves towards the house and away from the hill.

Terry, Tracey and Tonia all did back flips.  It was strange not to have a name that started with a T but it wasn't the only reason she felt like an oddball in their group.  Ally's parents were still married to each other.  She only ever received one set of presents at Christmas and birthdays. No trips to Disney like Tonia took with her dad so he could tell her she was going to be a big sister thanks to her new mom.  No pony lessons like Tracey got from her mom and new dad when they moved out of the old neighbourhood. Terry's parental bribes were more along the lines of concert tickets and the latest albums for all of her favourite bands.  They'd replaced the Bay City Rollers three times because Ally and the 3 Ts wore it out.  S-A-T-U-R-

"C'mon, Ally, get the lead out!" Tonia called.

She shrugged before tucking herself into a ball like the raccoon she'd watched roll across their backyard the other  night. It was annoying the way her parents treated her like a little kid when she was 12 years old, practically a teenager.  Ally was going to pierce her ears for her thirteenth birthday, just like Tracey did when she turned twelve.Mom and Dad promised she could.  They said she'd been really patient with her brother Greg and all the attention he got because he was slow.  Terry's brother called him a retard.  Ally had punched him on the nose.

She'd been expelled for three days from school because she punched him on the playground during recess. If he had said at home she wouldn't have missed any school. Mom said she was disappointed that Ally felt the need to resort to violence.  Dad took her outside and told her was proud of the way she stood up for her baby brother.

Almost as if she had conjured him up by thinking about him, Greg ran onto the front lawn and tried to stand on his head. Of course he fell over. He was as co-ordinated as a piece of string.  If someone didn't put his body into the right position he fell over. A lot.   He followed the 3 Ts to the edge of the lawn at the top of the hill.  All stopped to tie up her shoe. It would hurt if she tripped over it while setting up a cartwheel.

"Look, Ally Bally Bee! I tumble just like you."  Greg dropped to the ground and started to roll, backward down the hill.

"No, Greg, stop!"Ally ran across the lawn but it was too late. He'd slipped over the side and was headed for the street.

Greg giggled like a madman.  Her friends screamed and Ally ran faster than she ever had before in her life.  Halfway down the hill, with every breath in stabbing her throat, Ally got in front of her little brother.   Momentum barreled him right into her legs and she fell too.

Blue sky, blue car, green grass. Blue sky, blue car, green grass.  They flipped past her vision faster and faster til it was just blue and green.  Everyone was screaming. She could hear them but had no way to stop.  Blue green bluegreen bluegreenblue.

She wrapped her body around Greg's and tucked him beneath her as they slid to a stop. The screech of tires filled her ears and she waited for the hot steel bumper to hit her.

Ally's arms shook as Greg struggled to break free.  If she could just keep him still, she'd be able to keep him safe.  She just needed to hold on.

Weird. She could taste the coppery strangeness of blood but she hadn't felt the car hit her.  Ally listened hard, tried to hear anything over her friends screaming.  Greg pounded on her arm.  "Let go, Ally!!! Let me go."

She smelled the older boy before she saw him. Incense and weed, her neighbour Doug always smelled like that. Her parents told him not to come around the house but sometimes he plunked himself in a lawn chair at the end of his driveway.

Ally opened her eyes.  The blue VW bug sat a good twenty feet away. No dents on the hood or the bumper. "Are you alright?" the driver asked.

She nodded and sucked in a breath. Jeez that hurt. Greg climbed out of her embrace.  "That was fun."

A gasp from the driver was followed by more horrified screams from the 3 Ts.  She looked Greg over head to toe. He looked alright. He waved his arms around recreating the cartwheel somersault free-for-all that had carried them down the hill.

Why was it so hard to breathe?  Ally looked down at herself. Nothing strange there. Man, her back hurt.  She twisted but the boy, a high school boy with long blond hair and the greenest eyes she'd ever seen, put his hand on her arm. "Don't move."

She shivered. A high school boy touched her.  Just on her arm. It was no big deal. But the 3 Ts were going to ask her lots of questions about how that felt. Jeez.  It hurt to breathe.  Her back felt funny. The boy looked like he was going to be sick.

"Don't move. You'll just make it worse."

"Make what worse?"

Greg stopped bouncing around her friends and came back to Ally's side.  "Ally Bally."  He squatted down to examine her closely.  "Why do you have a big piece of glass sticking out of your back?  mom said we should  never play near glass. Never. It could hurt you."

"Glass?" Black spots popped and hopped around Greg's head. That was bad. Really bad.

"Yeah, a great big piece of broken glass."

The driver nodded.  "Someone dumped a mirror into the ditch. You must have rolled onto the jagged piece when you came down the hill."

"Ally!"  Her mom pushed her way through the 3 Ts and shoved the driver aside.  Her face twisted then smoothed out into her serious Mom face.  "Terry, Tonia, Tracey, please take Greg back into the house. Everyone have a glass of milk. There are cookies on the counter. Please stay inside until Mr. Robbins or I come to get you. Please."

The spots were more like a lava lamp, just blooping up and down all over her vision.  Hmm, her back didn't hurt as much.  How big a piece of glass could it be anyway?

"I love you Ally Bally."  Her mom's voice sounded like it was coming through a tunnel.

Everything was cold. Nothing hurt any more. Her last thought was of the mirror she'd tossed into the ditch the other day.  The mirror she'd smashed to bits.  Except for that one piece that reminded her of an icicle.

Bowie's voice drifted down the hill. "There's a starman, waiting in the sky."


  1. Are we going to know what happened? Why did she break the mirror? I want more.

  2. I have a rough idea but it might take awhile to coalesce. We'll see what the next prompt shakes loose.