New Friends Above the Clouds (flash fiction)
Little fingers loosened their grip on the thin tether, and the balloon rose, watched by the child’s crestfallen eyes. The yellow balloon looked back, sad to leave the child’s giggles. But its sadness smoothed to wonder as the houses became smaller and multiplied along streets stretching into an intricately devised pattern, broken by trees and fields beyond. As gasp of awe as the world expanded. Then dampness as the balloon lifted through clouds.
“Hey, it’s a yellow one.”
Another balloon, a red one, among a pack of balloons above the cloud, approached.
“Wrap your string around a hook. You don’t want to keep rising. Death’s up there. Join us.”
The others welcomed the yellow balloon heartily.