"The Balloon Festival" by Logan M.

A 2019 Young Writers Flash Fiction Contest Honorable Mention

I release the balloon into the air, and see hundreds of others doing the same. I watch my balloon float up, a blue dot against the sea of red. People gasp and point at the abnormal balloon color. Here, red is a color of happiness, and blue of mourning. Here, very few know the pain of mourning something, or someone. I do, though.

I remember my father, leaving the home I shared with him and my mother, the front door slowly creaking open. Every morning it woke me up, and I ran to the window to watch him leave. He always returned before dinner, and with a special gift for me. At first he brought dolls, then small, porcelain animals. Then one day, I was 12, my birthday being a week before, he had given me a photo of him.

I said, “Thank you Father! I will treasure it always.”

He replied, “I know you will.”

That was the last time I spoke to my father. The next morning, he left as usual. I watched him go. Father didn’t return for dinner that night, nor the next morning.

The annual Balloon Festival was the one time a year I could express my grief.

Every year, my city released red balloons, with the thing that makes them happy written on it. My lone, blue balloon is littered with one word: Father. Written repeatedly, until I almost had forgotten how to spell it. I look up to the sky, one last time, and a spot a second blue balloon.

I’m amazed. In the 18 years I have been alive, there has never been another to release a blue balloon.

I set out to find them, this one person who could finally share my feelings.

author photoLogan M. enjoys reading, writing, and singing. She has read all the Harry Potter books 13 times each, and has watched all the movies twice. She is constantly creating new art of all mediums. She is 13 going into 8th grade and takes Choir class at her school. She enjoys writing short stories much more than writing longer novels because of the way you can cram a ton of detail into a small writing space. Her favorite subject is math, and she loves to challenge herself with algebra problems.