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Once, a long time ago, a girl was walking through a field.
She often came to the meadow.
It was off the beaten track and so very far from the city.
The field was mostly untouched by man, and was home to all sorts of wildlife.
Rabbits and deer and snakes and bugs and birds roamed freely, without worry or fear.
Yes, she came to the meadow often, and with her every day, was her orb.
The orb was about the size of a baseball, and to passersby, it seemed about as plain.
But it wasn't.
See, the orb was magical and one of a kind.
Depending on the girl's mood, the orb was a different color and did different things.
If she was happy, it would glow pinks and yellows, flashing and vibrating, whistling and beeping.
If she was sad, it was a smooth blue, and it would quietly hum and roll around in her hand.
If she was angry, it would flashed a blinding red light, jump violently, and scream a terrible high pitched noise.
The orb loved her.
She loved the orb.
And then one night, while skipping through her favorite field, she realized she wasn't alone.
There, laying in the grass, was a boy.
Out of curiosity she skipped over to the boy.
If he noticed her, he didn't show it.
She cleared her throat a time or two, even threw out a cough, but the boy just kept staring at the sky.
"Hey! Why are you out here all alone?" she asked.
The boy said nothing, he just smiled and kept on staring.
Frustrated she skipped away.
The two played this game for weeks.
They would meet in the field, the boy would lay in the field and look up at the stars, and no matter what she did, the boy never noticed her.
Until one day, the boy came to the field and the girl wasn't there.
The boy tried to play it cool, assuming that the girl was simply playing a trick on him, but she never showed.
He came again the next week, but the girl wasn't there.
He came week after week but the girl never came.
One night, he made up his mind. He would go to the field one last time, and if the girl didn't show up, he would give up.
Fortunately for the boy, she was there.
But she wasn't the same.
Her hair was think and patchy, her skin was pale and wrinkled.
The boy walked up to the girl and began to speak.
She put a finger to his lips and slowly shook her head.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out the orb, dimly glowing in her small hands.
She placed it gently in his hand and skipped into the darkness.
He made a promise to the girl, and to himself that he would value the orb with his life.
And for the first few years, he did.
He polished it daily, and took it with him everywhere he went.
It would light up and make noises excitedly and entertain him for hours.
But, he was only a boy, and over time he grew bored.
He started to mishandle the orb.
He started to take it for granted.
He would drop it from time to time, and on more than one occasion, he gave into temptation and tossed it around the room.
But he always picked it up and dusted it off.
He always promised himself it wouldn't happen again.
And then, on a cold winter night, he went off the handle.
He lost his cool and threw it just a little too hard.
As it hit the wall, he heard it crack.
With that crack, the rest of the world fell silent.
He ran to the orb, desperate to dust it off and start over.
But it wouldn't light up.
It didn't change colors.
And it was absolutely silent.
The boy, who was now a young man, did everything that he could.
He tried to glue it back together.
He prayed, he cried, and he begged...
But the damage was done.
He couldn't sleep.
He couldn't eat.
And no matter what he did, he couldn't seem to find peace.
He would drive around aimlessly, listening to music or surrounding himself with friends, but his mind was always on the orb.
He then remembered how he used to resolve all of his problems as a child.
So late one night, he drove back to his hometown, and made his way to the old field, and there, lying in the grass, surrounded by flowers, was a young woman.
He stumbled over to her, exhausted.
If she noticed him, she didn't show it.
He cleared his throat a time or two, even threw out a cough, but the woman just smiled and kept staring at the sky.
He tried greeting her, even waved his hand over her eyes, but all she did was laugh.
Frustrated, he made his way back to the car.
When he opened the door, he discovered that the orb was gone, and in its place was a small piece of paper with a phone number and a note.
"Because nobody should have to be alone".
© 2014 Ryan Smith