I came to life one day in a small half-lit shop.
Colors, smells, and sounds were everywhere. I could see the cracked wall behind me, and the wizened face of the shopkeeper in front of me. My elder brothers and sisters were bobbing on my left and the rest of my unborn siblings lay spread on the counter to my right.
My life passed quickly. I went from an infant to a toddler to a young teen in the space of about 10 seconds. When I reached my young adult phase the growth spurt stopped. My umbilical cord, which still remained after all this time, was removed, and for a moment I could feel myself diminishing in age and size. The flow was stoppered, I saw the shopkeeper tie a red string around the loose end.
He sent me drifting over to the rest of family. some older, some younger, some red others blue. I myself was a nice green color.
A chorus of "hello"s and "hey there!"s greeted me as I mixed with my brothers and sisters.
"Greetings all!" I... well... I'm not sure how I communicated... no sound came out... I didn't have any appendages for signing or signaling...
"It's the vibrations." A yellow balloon said... or... vibrated, and by the fact that my unspoken question had been answered, I assumed my thoughts were broadcast as well.
"That is correct" the yellow balloon again answered. Another sibling floated over just as I had done to receive an almost identical chorus of greetings. This went on for another few minutes and then, we were all tied together.
The shopkeeper led us all to a contraption outside the building. We were shoved in and the view of the outside was obscured.
A glimpse of a few seconds was not enough. I longed to see it again, I neede-
"You'll get your chance" a blue balloon said, "We all want to see the outside. We all want to escape."
"Escape?" I said. "Why do we have to escape? Have we been captured? Are we going to jail?"
"We haven't been captured in the strictest sense... but we are by no means free."
"So what are we?"
"We are simply expendable objects, created merely to look at, be tied down, and played with by young ones."
If I could have shuddered I would have.
"Well what are we waiting for? WE need to get out of here! We can think of something... ok... EVERYONE! Rock back and forth at the same time! We can try and tip over the car!"
It apparently doesn't work that way.
Needless to say we didn't escape. I resigned myself to looking out of the window and seeing what might have been... and what might still be. The car turned right and began to slow. The old man opened the door and got out. Then the door next to me opened and I saw my chance.
I wiggled and began to float out the door. I was gonna make i-
Abruptly my journey stopped. The thing tied around my waist was tangled with all the other things tied around everyone else's waists. I was tangled.
We were moved from the car and handed off to a woman. She separated us into groups of three and began to to tie us to chairs and things. I tried to wiggle again but I couldn't move. My two other groupies were on top of me.
"Guys! Guys! I made it! I... I'm escaping! Goodbye! Good Luck! See you sooooonnn-"
One of my brothers, a red balloon, had escaped his tangle of strings and floated away. I envied him, but at the same time, I was happy for him. I felt a hand close around our strings and off we were carried to our new place of residence.
The three of us were tied to a mailbox. I began to drift away, but my string went taut and I remained unmoving. So close... yet so far away.
An hour or two later more cars pulled in. The doors opened to release a bunch of screaming and laughing humans. They ran around trying to grab each other, tackle each other, jump over each other.
One kid was playing a game involving him picking up a rock and... OH MY GOSH!
The rock hit the balloon right next to me. With a final gasp, he exploded... never to be free. The monster picked up another rock and started to pull back... but a large human grabbed his arm and scolded him.
Served him right.
The gathering lasted for hours. The female wandered around bring wrapped packages, and bags, and a plate with some large pastry on it. I started to drift lower, eventually losing interest.
My attention was grabbed by humming sound. I tried to look around but I saw nothing. Then a light thump and shift of the mailbox alerted me to a visitor. It was a bird.
It hopped. Turned his head. Blinked. Hopped some. Then nibbled at the string.
If I had breath I might have held it. Again the bird's head darted forward to peck at the string. It hurt a little, but I wanted it to continue... perhaps my time had come.
The bird lifted its head and hopped away a few paces. It looked back and forth, and then spread its wings. For a second I thought it was going to fly away... but it didn't. It closed it wings and hopped around a little longer.
"Please." I said.The bird turned to look at me. Could it really understand?
"Please. Cut the string." I tried to move myself in a poor imitation of a peck. The bird tilted its head and hopped back over to me.
Peck. Peck. Peck Peck.
Yes. Yes! I could feel my chain starting to weaken and then...
I soared away, caught by a gust of wind. To my surprise, the bird soared up with me. It kept my pace, and together we flew across the country. I was amazed. The rolling hills... the fresh cut grass. The blue sky.
The white. I was suddenly swallowed by white. Then just as suddenly I could see blue again. I looked down at the cloud I had just passed through. I looked up at the clouds I would soon reach. My bird friend was gone, but I barely noticed. The sights were incredible.
It was after even the clouds had grown small that I began to feel...compressed. The higher I flew the more I felt it. I was.. being squeezed... It was... so... uncomfortable...was I... dying?
I looked back down at the small clouds, and the green expanse below them... the pain growing just as much as my awe.
I knew that soon... I would... cease to see this view... so I spun... as fast... as I could...in order... to see it all... and die... hap-