Here is a short story based in the world of Loading Life.
“Grandpa! Grandpa!” the six-year-old girl sang as she rushed down the hall.
Housemaids and butlers clung to the walls, avoiding the pink clouds and bubbles that formed out of her hands.
She locked on the door, zooming up to it when a great force picked her up. She giggled and screamed as her father spun her around to meet his dark gaze. Others would have cowered, but she laughed as his black eyes stared her down.
Her cotton-candy hair bobbed up and down, red eyes smiling. “Papa!”
“How’s my sweet little girl?” His voice – soft – caring.
She giggled again. “I’m fine, Papa. I just wanted to see Grandpa. He promised to read to me.”
The man’s smile slipped away. He sat her down and patted her head. “I don’t think Grandfather will be up for reading today, my dear. He’s very tired.”
“Ah! But he promised.” She kicked the carpet, pouting.
“I know. I know. But you don’t want to disturb him when he’s trying to get his rest.” Her father extended a hand.
She wrapped her fingers around one of his, allowing him to escort her away from the door and down the stairs.
“When will he be better?”
“The doctor is coming today. She’ll be able to tell us.”
“Really? Really? Yay!” Annie bounced from step to step, releasing bubbles from her free hand.
Her father laughed – something reserved for her and her mother.
“Why don’t you go and find your mother? She and Josetta might be baking cookies.”
Annie ran off, dancing down the halls. She twirled into the kitchen, nearly bumping into a round woman with rosy cheeks.
“Little Miss Mei! You have to be careful.”
“Sorry! Sorry, Ms. Josetta. Where’s momma? Was she baking cookies with you?”
“The mistress is in her crafts room. She grew tired of the heat and decided to sew instead.” Josetta pulled off her oven mitts and grabbed a plate full of treats. “Why don’t you go cheer her up with some of these?”
A small hand went for a danish before the plate was lifted away.
“Nah-ah. No eating any of these unless your mother says so. Deal?”
The girl hopped. “Yes, Ms. Josetta.”
Once Annie was handed the plate, she rushed to her mother’s crafts room. She ignored the pleas to slow down and laughed at the fear in some of the maids’ faces. Some of the pink clouds flowing from her hands kept the treats on her plate, allowing her to run faster.
She skidded to a stop. Putting an ear to the door, she waited for the sound of buzzing to stop. She hated to go in when her mother was on the sewing machine. That contraption was way too loud for her tastes. When she was older, she would definitely get a quieter hobby.
When the sound ceased, she knocked on the door.
“Come in!” The door swung open by itself.
She twirled around bobbins and thread that floated in the air. Her mother’s hands were glowing a light pink, similar to her own clouds and bubbles.
“Momma! Momma! Want some treats?”
Her mother turned around, pinkish-purple curls swirling like stars in a painting. The woman giggled. “How sweet of you.”
“Momma! No puns!”
“That was not even punny!”
Annie giggled as her mother floated her up and into her lap.
“Light as a feather, I see.”
The tray of treats floated away from her hands as her mother hugged her tightly. She hugged back.
“How is my baby doing today?”
“Fine. Fine, Momma.”
They held each other for only a moment before letting go.
“How’s your crafting, today?”
“How is your crafting, darling. It is only proper to speak in whole words. Less chance for misunderstanding.”
“Yes, Momma.” Annie squirmed, reaching as hard as she could for a few treats. “But don’t – do puns not fall under non-proper words?”
Her mother’s laugh was like bells – she loved to hear them ring. “I assume in some cases they are.”
The tray floated back to Annie, her mother grabbing the danish with one hand. Annie whimpered.
“Can I – err – may I have that one, Momma?”
“Yes, you may.”
She grabbed the danish, devouring it before her mother could start on a new treat.
“My, you are very hungry. Is it almost time for lunch already?”
Annie swallowed hard. “Maybe.”
Her mother giggled. “Well, we will just have to ask Josetta to make us something.”
“Momma, what’s wrong with Grandpa?”
The dish fell a little before floating back up. Her mother stared down at the dress she was sewing.
“Grandpa is just a little tired, dear. That is all.
“He needs his rest?”
“Will you read me a story then? Grandpa said he would, but if he’s tired. . .”
“I will.” Her mother sat her down on the floor. “Go ask Josetta to make us something to eat. Your father will be hungry too.”
“Yes, Momma.” Annie danced off, her pink bubbles floating up with the thread and bobbins.
She was almost back to the kitchen when she heard her father walking around the corner, his phone glued to his ear.
“You’ll be here in a few minutes? Excellent. He seems to be in worse condition than we thought. So it’ll be great to. . .”
His voice faded away as he entered another room. Annie looked up the stairs. Then back to where her father had been.
Maybe one peak into her grandfather’s room wouldn’t be so bad.
She snuck up the stairs. Once at the top, she looked this way and that. No staff to get in her way. Good.
She snuck her way down the hall. She reached for the doorknob, but couldn’t quite reach it. She formed pink clouds to raise herself up, easily opening it then.
“Grandpa,” she whispered as she tiptoed into the room. It was dark, the great window covered with thick curtains. She had never seen those before.
“Grandpa. You okay?”
The great lump under the covers didn’t speak, only moaned. She tiptoed up to the curtains. She couldn’t see a thing.
“Maybe you need some light.” She pushed open the curtains as much as she could, her tiny arms not able to do much.
A hiss came from the bed.
“Grandpa, are you al-”
Annie screamed at the black mass consuming her grandfather. It seemed to hiss at her, the darkness moving and shifting out of the sun’s rays.
Annie ran for the door and out into the hall.
Her mother caught her in her arms. “Annie Mei! What were you doing?!”
Annie cried into her mother’s arms. “The black thing! The black thing!”
Her father stormed past her with the doctor. From the corner of her bleary sight, she saw him pull the curtains shut. The doctor went straight to her grandfather.
Her father walked back to the door. “Stay out, child. Do not enter again.”
The door slammed shut.
And Annie cried into her mother’s arms, trying to forget the scary monster.
© E.N. Chaffin 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.