Billy. Chapter 3

Sherry dropped the vase, and almost diving to catch her mother, used the wall to help slow the fall to the hard hallway floor. Everything was in slow motion now as Billy, Eddie and Grandpa just stood there and Mom had lost consciousness. Sherry’s mind raced as she knelt on the floor. With one hand under her Mother’s head, and the other tapping her cheek, Sherry called out to her. Billy was still frozen. Eddie and Grandpa still seemed to be waiting for an explanation. Seconds seemed like minutes as Sherry called to her Mother again. She felt a frightening but somehow familiar empathy, as if in her Mother’s shoes caring for a sick child, and looked at Billy who might need help next. Again tapping her cheek, but gently now, her Mother’s eyes opened. Sherry let out a sigh of relief and felt some of the tension leave her body. After a confused look, Mom smiled a little and continued to look at Sherry who was stroking her hair now. Billy broke free of his stone demeanor and knelt next to Sherry. He was teary-eyed but also smiling now. Eddie and Grandpa came closer, they were all ears. Sherry looked her Mother in the eyes and spoke calmly. She told the story of the unsolicited parcel she found on the stoop after school one day. It had been addressed to her with no return address, and so she took it into her room, sat on the floor, and opened it. Her cat Ginger was glad to help and played with the brown paper and string. The parcel contained a beautiful wooden box about the size of a shoe box. It was painted with a beautiful harbor where a sailboat was docked and the sun was either rising or setting. The sides had lupines and roses painted in a chain around shiny brass hinges and a hasp with no lock. She had decided it would make a lovely jewelry box and opened it. It was empty and the bottom was strangely dark black. She dropped a quarter into the box and heard no sound. The quarter had disappeared! She turned the box upside down and the dark that was the bottom seemed to pour out onto the floor and under her legs so that she was suddenly sitting on the edge of a hole in the floor. Ginger and the brown paper disappeared into the black of the hole, and Sherry had tried to reach for her cat and hold on to keep from falling in herself. And then something or someone, unseen through the darkness, had grabbed her and pulled her down. Sherry noticed how intently her Mother, Eddie, and Grandpa were listening and paused to discern their belief. She looked at Billy who smiled slightly and nodded for her to go on. Sherry looked back into her Mother’s eyes. Ms. Watson nodded too.