The Price of Love

by Ruairí Cinéad Ducantlin

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May 2017

Randall had dropped the box and embraced Jamie in a tight bear hug. Jamie stopped sobbing and looked up at Randall. In that moment they both knew Jamie’s fears about the Orb causing Max pain are true.

I will open the box Jamie. Before I open the box, tell me how giving you the Orb will help Max.

Randall, I think the Orb is sensitive to temperature.

What makes you think that Jamie?

Well, it seems simple to me. Max found the Orb in the bottom of the pond. The pond is always cold. I think whoever owned the Orb, before Max found it, threw it into the pond. I think the person who owned it, before Max, figured out the Orb doesn’t like the cold.

Doesn’t like the cold? The Orb doesn’t feel Jamie. Minerals have no feeling. It is some sort of crystal. Crystals don’t have feelings Jamie.

No, not that it doesn’t like the cold… I think the cold water slows it down. The cold water slows down the Orb’s vibrations. I think the vibrations are some sort of communication. I think the person who owned it before Max threw it in the cold water to get it to stop vibrating.

Jamie, do you know how silly this sounds?

Yes, Randall, I know. I also think whoever owned it, before Max found it, must have died.

Why? What? Why do you think that Jamie?

Remember when you, Mark, and Max looked through the Orb at the sun? Well, I think it connected, somehow, with Max.

Oh yeah, I remember, Mark told me. Max said a beam of light hit him in the face.

The forehead. The beam hit Max in the forehead.

Chapter One

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Queen Elizabeth II

January 2013

I’m home!

I know, I heard the door close.

Max, how do you know it was me? You never lock the door. You need to be more careful. It’s not safe here like at home. What are you doing?

It is safe enough here. I am reading about the effects of pollution on aerodynamics and laser reflectivity.


Not really, I might be able to solve the laser problem of atom and ion deflection. If I can calculate how to compensate for the deflection, and gravity, I might be able to develop a real laser cannon. Maybe, but gravity is a bitch.


Jamie emerges from the bedroom wearing boy shorts and an old, threadbare, see-through, tee shirt. Strutting over to Max, Jamie puts her hand on Max’s head and gently twists his face up to look at her. Max gets the hint and closes the book he is reading.

But what about dinner?

What about it?

Dinner can wait.