Nathan Reineck

The Cherry on Top

Jade loved going to her grandma's house. It meant picking apples and the sweet smell of cinnamon in the morning. But this wouldn't block out the noise of Veronica complaining about the creaking walls at night. By now, she knew that there was always something for her to complain about.

The old ranch house was in south-western Pennsylvania. Some 'ol Amish family lived here 20 years ago. Even Jade didn't understand why grandma hadn't gotten electricity. Usually Veronica brought her nasty friends with her, but she had gotten in trouble for staying out past curfew. She was even more of a nuisance now that her only entertainment was to get Jade in trouble. So Jade spent most of her time in the storage room sketching. It kept her hidden from her spoiled sister.

She loved finding antiques around the room to draw. She found a vinyl record player that was a sort of bronze metal framed in cherry wood. Using only the Tupperware container of worn out crayons, she continued to sketch out nearly every thing in the room. By time she was just starting her drawing of the purple night lamp, her grandma called her up for dinner.

"Where were you hun? I haven't seen you since breakfast," said Grandma.

"I was just looking around downstairs," explained Jade.

"I bet she was stealing your spoons, Grandma," shouted Veronica.

"No I wasn't! You weren't even down there."

"Then why were you hiding?"

"Stop it, both of you," said Grandma

Both of the girls sat silently while Grandma said grace. Veronica slipped her foot under the table to stomp on Jade's toes. In the same second, Jade screamed and threw a spoon at her sister. The spoon rebounded straight off of Veronica's forehead. Veronica pounced out of her chair and chased Jade up the hallway. Jade cut the corner and headed to the basement. She was so focused on getting away that she didn't notice she knocked one of the picture frames off the wall. After locking herself in the storage room for nearly half an hour, she peered through the keyhole to see if it was safe. There was no blocking the noise of the creaking door. Jade was halfway up the stairs when she heard something crunch under her shoes.

It was glass from the picture of the old family that used to live here.

Grandma never really went downstairs, mostly because she couldn't get back up. She looked at the frame closely. Jade had dreamed of being an artist since she was seven. It was one thing her sister couldn't do and she was good at it. None of her pictures had ever been framed in the house before. Her parents always complimented the drawings, but whenever Jade asked to put them in a frame, they would deny it. They said there was no place to keep them and they always forgot to buy a frame to put in her room.

She brought the frame to the storage room. She desperately wanted to see how her drawings looked when she put them in an art museum. She pulled out her drawing of the vinyl player. She held it up against the wall. She faintly heard some music, then in a flash, the record started rotating. She stared in amazement until Veronica screamed, " What are playing down there? You know Grandma doesn't want you touching her music!" Jade paid no attention and kept her eyes on the picture for a moment. She let go and the music stopped.

Before she knew it, she tried every sketch that she had made that afternoon. Even the portraits talked. She had this gift and brought home her frame with her. She spent all of her afternoons making a new character to bring to life. She would never tell her sister! It was a magic that only she had and it was secret she'd die to keep.