Piece and Quiet

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Each broken fragment of the ornament on the floor held a different memory, just as each sharp piece now showed a different part of the words MERRY CHRISTMAS. At least it had happened at the end of the season instead of the beginning.

The red of the delicate bauble was still vibrant and shiny, but rough black spots had spread over it and even some of its white lettering in the past few years. It was her grandmother's ornament – that was how she'd wound up with it. In this broken state, its threatening, uneven, thin edges reminded her of her grandmother more than the soft curve of the bits still intact.

She picked up a piece, overly careful of how she handled it. Knowing her grandmother, it would probably still cut her, but she rested it gently with the broken parts on her palm anyway, so that she could look at the harsh shine on the rounded redness. It was funny how she expected this inanimate object to prove itself her grandmother's belonging by cutting her unexpectedly. Maybe this was her final separation from the old woman, long since passed. But probably not. On the floor, the rest of the ornament had already put itself back together. This was the third time it had resurrected itself over the years. She feared what else might resurrect if she threw it away. A fake smile spread across her lips as she donated the fragment she was holding to the almost-whole ornament. After it had melded itself back together, she put it away and ignored the darkened and stooped figure in the doorway.

"I put it back together," she said, her voice shaking. She pointed weakly at it in the box. When she looked up, the figure was gone. Gone until the next inevitable breakage that she never caused. And the figure got closer every year, no matter what house she moved to. She wished she'd never killed her grandmother. 


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