Disappear (100 word story)

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I’d save a quarter for the superball machine at the corner store, covertly flash the dayglo toy to my little brother as I entered the apartment. He’d bounce up and we’d go to the hallway, hold the little colored ball over the eight-story gap in the stairwell and drop. The balls rarely reached bottom, pushed off course by the HVAC or their own imperfections, careening off railings onto other floors. We’d hurtle down the stairs, eyes darting left and right, but sometimes they couldn’t be found. “How can they disappear?” he’d ask. I’d shrug. “Same way people down here do.”

(This was a submission for a photo prompt on 100 Word Story, an enjoyable website that features, fittingly, 100 word stories. Photo credit: Isaac Brown)