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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: The Fifth Balloon
By william price


Five red balloons were tied to a windshield wiper of my black BMW. Red was my favorite color, but I wasn’t in a balloon mood. It was an early Monday morning on Chicago’s south side. The wind was blowing in from the lake. Spring was trying to take root, but winter was being stubborn.

I untied the balloons and firmly held their strings in my hand. Suddenly, I was lifted off my feet and started to float upwards. For reasons unknown to me at the time, I didn’t resist and went along for the ride.

Soon I was a hundred yards above my neighborhood and climbing. I wasn’t afraid. It appeared the wind was carrying me towards Wrigley Field.

One by one, the balloons began to pop and I began to descend. When the final balloon exploded I gently landed on the infield of the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium.

A man in a Cubs jersey was standing on the pitcher’s mound.

“You must be Will?”

I was amazed.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Quite an entrance. Are you ready to hit a few?”

I looked puzzled.

“I was told you were taking batting practice with us today for your birthday.”

Celebrating my birthday was not a priority. Thirty days earlier my fiancé was killed in a car accident. A week after that, I found out my favorite nephew had cancer.

Before I knew it though, I had a bat in my hands and was standing at home plate looking out on the field where I spent so many summers with my dad watching our beloved Cubbies.

“Are you ready?” The pitching coach asked.

“I guess so.”

When I swung at the first pitch I hit what should have been a routine fly to center field, but a strong gust of wind carried it over the fence. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen so many homeruns there. I always wondered what it would have looked like from the batter’s box. It was awesome.

After about thirty minutes the pitching coached announced time was up. He wished me a happy birthday and gave me a baseball signed by all the current Chicago Cubs.

I was mystified by the events of that morning as I sat on the train heading back home. I had decided not to get off at my station and continued on to visit my nephew. He was a big Cubs fan and would love the autographed baseball.

It was a sad sight at Jonathon’s bedside. But, when he saw the baseball his face lit with joy.

“So have you solved the mystery yet?” My nephew spoke weakly.


“Yes, the mystery of the balloons. I bet there were five of them. I knew you had faith, Uncle Will.”

“There were five balloons, but what are you talking about?”

“I thought I was dreaming last night, but I was sitting with Jesus, your dad and Jenny. She says she loves you by the way. We tried to figure out what to do for your birthday. Wrigley Field was your Dad’s idea.”

I sat next to Jonathon’s bed with tears in my eyes.

“The best thing though, Uncle Will, was the balloons. That was Jesus’ idea. We each blew them up with all the love we had for you. But, Jesus said the fifth balloon, which He blew in to, was key ingredient.”

I sat there shaking my head in wonderment.

“Jesus said if you had faith that all things were possible, the fifth balloon would carry you to Wrigley Field.”

Three months later I was standing at Jonathon’s gravesite to share some final thoughts. Four red balloons were tied to his casket. I spoke about the Wrigley Field miracle and the power of the fifth balloon.

I explained how the four balloons were symbolic of the love Jonathon, Jenny, Dad and Jesus had for us, and that the fifth balloon would be filled with our faith that God would carry us through that difficult time.

I had one red balloon given to each person who remained. I instructed them to blow them up with all the love they had for Jonathon. Instead of placing flowers, everyone tied their balloon to the four helium filled balloons on Jonathon’s casket.

Before Jonathon’s earthly body was laid to final rest, I watched my sister release the balloons. As the casket was being lowered, everybody watched the red bouquet of balloons rise in the cloudless sky and slowly disappear into the glow of the sun.

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This article has been read 1134 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kevin Kindrick04/12/07
Well done. This was a touching story.

Thanks, and God bless,

Mo 04/12/07
This made me teary.
Sheri Gordon04/12/07
This is beautiful. A great mystery story. Red balloons will always be special to me now.
Sara Harricharan 04/13/07
Beautiful! Reminds me of a certain fave song. I love the constant action, tricky mystery! ^_^ (and very heartfelt!)
Debbie OConnor04/14/07
A very touching story. I was hooked and loved the message. It was a bit on the fantastical side, but that is fun. Great.
Joanne Sher 04/14/07
Magical and tender and lovely. :D
Jan Ackerson 04/16/07
How lovely--the overall mood is dreamy and serene, subtly mysterious. A very special story.
Val Clark04/16/07
A very dear story that plumbs the depths of love and grief. yeggy
Joanney Uthe04/16/07
Very touching. I loved the giving of red balloons to the people at the nephew's funeral.
Jacquelyn Horne04/16/07
Very touching story. You have a comforting thought here. Good writing.
Cassie Memmer04/16/07
Nice story. A bit more fantasy than mystery perhaps, but written well. It was sad, yet offered hope. Good job!
Rhonda Clark04/17/07
This is a very touching story. You make such a wonderful point. Great work.
Marty Wellington 04/17/07
Loved it! The red balloons woven through the story were truly wonderful and the lesson of our faith was quite special. Well done - a marvelous read!
Sandra Petersen 04/17/07
Sir William, you got me sitting here with tears in my eyes. What am I going to do when my girls come downstairs? This was written with such tenderness, I don't know what else to say. Bravo!
Rita Garcia04/17/07
Mystery writing doesn't get any better! You slammed a home run right into my heart!
Precious, precious story!
Tabiatha Tallent04/17/07
Beautiful story!
Leigh MacKelvey04/17/07
Sir willaim, you must have a very special and tender heart. I loved the story.
terri tiffany04/17/07
Beautiful story -I loved the voice behind it and the details woven throughout. Nice writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/17/07
This was a great fantasy-mystery. I loved one special balloon for "faith."
Julie Arduini04/17/07
Great visuals, to see Jesus filling the balloon is breathtaking to me. This is a treasure.
Edy T Johnson 04/18/07
Your writing never disappoints, SirWilliam. You have such a storehouse full of marvelous imagination. This is another keepsake.
Valora Otis04/18/07
Dear friend, you have a heart full of faith and love for your Savior and your family. It shines brightly through all you write. This story has a healing quality about it and made me tear up too! Bless you!