A tiny sparrow circled Scott’s head and spiraled into the crystal blue sky before dwindling to a dark brown star and then twinkling into oblivion.
Had the bird ever really been there at all, or had Scott just wished it into existence?
When he was a child, every day seemed as golden as this one, the Kansas prairie bathed in flaxen sunlight and the air filled with sweet music — the chirping of birds, yes, but also the buzzing of bees and the rustling of tall grass in the warm summer breeze.
The Turners didn’t have much, but Daddy worked hard, and the family grew most of their own food. When times were really good, there was enough extra money for Mama to take Scott and Sally into the big city.
Why, one time, on a day just about like this one, a man was selling balloons on a street corner, and Scott could still remember how the bright blue balloon bobbed in front of the sun when Mama handed it to him.
As wonderful as life at home had been, though, Scott wanted more and had soon enough set off to make his way in the world. What he hadn’t counted on was that the world would be so hard.
But, on days like this … well, he could imagine just about anything if he squinted his eyes and really believed.
He was pleased, then, but not surprised to see the sheriff’s deputy walking toward him with a black balloon draped over his hand.
“Is that for me, Deputy?” Scott asked, and the man nodded.
Scott beamed in delight as the lawman slipped the black veil over his head, and then placed the noose around his neck.
No sir, golden days like this didn’t come along very often.