Mom Always Knew
It was during the Great Clean that Allison found the orb hidden in her late mother’s closet. A few months after their mother’s passing, the sisters — Allison, Alana, and Amina — met at their childhood home to clean it out and decide what to do with it. The twins — Allison and Alana—owned their own homes, and their much younger sister, Amina, rented an apartment. Her sisters had offered Amina the house, but Amina would not decide until they had assessed its condition.
With a mixture of grief and nostalgia, the sisters began clearing out the house. They spent most of the morning torn between laughter and tears as memories of Mom filled the kitchen.
“One thing I never understood,” began Alana, “was how she always knew what we were up to.”
Allison chuckled and nodded.
“Ugh, I hated that,” Amina said, “it’s like she had a crystal ball or something. I used to sneak around the corner of the house to the hose caddy because it was the only spot away from any windows and secluded from the neighbors. It was quiet there too.”
“Ha! You’re not the only one,” Allison smirked, “I had my first kiss at that spot.”
“It’s also where we plotted all our pranks with military precision,” Alana winked at Allison, who giggled, “and yet, Mom always knew. She sometimes let us get away with them, but she always knew.”
As the afternoon progressed, the sisters split up to clean out separate rooms. Allison entered Mom’s bedroom and opened the closet door. She heaved a sigh of relief when she realized Mom had accumulated few knick knacks over the years, but also felt a pang of guilt at the prospect of rifling through the one place in the house that had always been off limits: Mom’s closet.
As she steadied herself for the task ahead, Allison glanced out the window and glimpsed Amina sneaking around the corner of the house, followed by her boyfriend Ennis. Allison scowled at the sight of Ennis. When the twins talked about Ennis, their identical faces twisted and scrunched into expressions of disgust, as if his name evoked a malodorous toilet. He was a charming sleaze, but a sleaze, and the twins hoped Amina would one day leave him. Allison suspected her sister was unhappy in the relationship, but Amina clammed up at all mention of Ennis.
Mom would have known what to do, Allison thought, and tears sprang to her eyes. Allison wiped them away with the back of her hand and tackled the closet with a knot in her throat.
The orb sat tucked behind a shoebox in the darkest corner of the closet. Kneeling, Allison turned it in her hands, wondering that Mom had concealed this cheap toy. She had never seen it, and thought perhaps it had been a present from Dad, who had died when Amina was still a child. It was a clear glass ball, but it was as light as plastic. It had no stand, no brand, no markings, and no dust.
Allison shrugged and stood. In doing so, she gave the orb a brief shake. The orb began emitting rays of colored light onto the walls like a kaleidoscope. Fascinated, Allison gazed into the glass ball and watched as a multi-colored mist swirled within the orb. In the mist, two figures appeared, and as it dissipated, Allison discerned Amina and Ennis. Amina stood next to the hose caddy with her back against the wall, and Ennis was leaning towards her as if to kiss her.
Allison’s eyes sparkled with mirth when she realized this was happening in real time. But her naughty smile faded when she registered Amina’s crossed arms and her defensive pose.
“I told you never to leave me,” Ennis growled, and Allison heard every word in the glass orb.
“Please, just go away,” Amina bleated like a frightened lamb.
Allison turned to call her twin and realized the orb was projecting the scene on the walls and ceiling.
In a flash, Ennis punched Amina, then grabbed her hair and slammed her against the hose caddy. She fell on her knees, but Ennis pulled and dragged her towards his car.
Allison dropped the orb; it never landed, but hovered above the carpeted floor, still bearing witness to Ennis’s abuse as Allison darted from the room.
From the parlor, Alana watched Allison open the hall closet, grab Dad’s shotgun, and bolt from the house. She dropped her dust rag and followed her twin. When Alana rounded the corner, she saw Allison pointing the shotgun at Ennis while Amina kneeled on the ground, blood dripping from her lips and whimpering.
Alana opened her arms and Amina stumbled into them, while Allison stood between her sisters and Ennis, shotgun at the ready. Alana fumbled for her cellphone and called the police.
“She’s mine, and I’ll be back,” Ennis sneered as he tried to sidestep away from the gun. He bounced and jerked, trying to provoke Allison, who kept her gaze fixed and her arms steady. Dad had been an excellent shooting instructor.
As the police officer cuffed Ennis’s hands behind his back, he glared at Allison and whispered, “You can’t watch her all the time.”
“Oh, yes I can,” Allison growled and gnashed her teeth, “I have a crystal ball.”