March 23rd, 8:58am

"So would Miss Grumpy like her presents or is it off with our heads?" Scott asked as he carried in a box covered in red and white checkered wrapping paper.
Rowan smiled. Even in her worst moods, he managed to make her smile and she always found she forgave him.
"Is that…?" Scott joked, "Wow, it's a smile!"
He placed the box on the table and looked at her expectantly.
"Well, isn't Mum coming?" Rowan said turning around and turning back. Her mother had gone to all the trouble of cooking breakfast but she wasn't around now?
He shook his head.
"Where is she then?"
He shrugged. "I think she left."
Rowan looked down as she folded her hands in her lap. Guilt was circling through her head. Her mother probably didn't want to see her after the way she acted.

Scott quickly grabbed her arms, brought them up above the table and dropped them so her hands landed on her present.
"Open it," he said as he poked her in the shoulder with his finger.

Gently, Rowan removed a piece of tape and unfolded some of the wrapping. She unfolded it further, giggling to herself as she did. Opening presents were one of her favourite things to do. There was a rip as she unfolded the next piece and unable to wait any longer she began ripping through the red and white squares until she found a white cardboard box. Paper was thrown across the table before she gingerly opened the white box.

When she saw her face reflected back to her, she gave Scott a smile and with a little squeal like noise, pulled the round object out. It was a snowglobe, whose glass shone tints of blue, pink and green with the slightest movement. The bottom was flattered and covered with a round mahogany piece of wood as a stand. Inside the glass orb was a small village by the mountains, surrounded by a miniature forest and what appeared to be a piece of light blue glass as the frozen lake nearby. Everything inside the globe was covered with small white snowflakes that followed every movement of the water inside.

Rowan gave it a shake. Bubbles and snowflakes mixed for a moment. She set the globe on the table and slowly the snowflakes began to settle on the village below.

"Thank you!" said Rowan as she jumped up to hug Scott. He nodded as she threw her arms around his mid section and squeezed. When she looked up, he returned the smile but the look in his eyes told her she'd squeezed a little too hard. Rowan whispered an apology before adding, "Let's add it to the rest."

She led the way up the stairs to her bedroom. Up the carpeted steps she ran. In her hurry, she missed every second stair and nearly tripped. Scott, however, wandered after her at a much slower pace, amused by her enthusiasm.
"Come on Scott!"

When he reached her bedroom, she was standing impatiently at her chest of drawers. She opened the top right drawer with one hand whilst the other placed the snow globe in it. There were many other globes already in the drawer. Some had forests and lakes, mountains and valleys, cars and houses. One had a cave behind a frozen waterfall.

15 snow globes for 15 years. All shining brightly back at her. Rowan fully understood why she liked them. They were so small and delicate in design. Something she would never have the ability or patience to create. Something that could be shaken and be fine, as that what was intended. They were fragile and beautiful. Perhaps she liked them as they were so different than what she was and they fascinated and entertained her.

When she turned to Scott, his eyes had widened. He hadn't seen them all together before but had still known of their existence. He had given them all to her, although the first four had technically be given by his mother.
"That's a lot of glass balls." He muttered, never moving his eyes from them.
"Snowglobes." Rowan corrected.
"It's still a lot of shiny globes."
They glanced at each other, considering what to do, then promptly began to shake all of the globes, as many as they could until the snow in each began to settle at the same time. It took a few tries and they nearly broke two but they accomplished it in five minutes.

They broke out laughing at themselves, closed the draw with a click and they left the stuffy air indoors for the backyard garden.

Mrs Reid was a keen gardener. Her hands were often cut, grazed or dirty from work with her vegetables, roses and herbs. Sneaky dirt fingerprints often found their way onto her face, her neck and even the back of her knees. She enjoyed the open air, only entering her house to clean, sleep or eat when she wasn't working. Today, however, she was no where in sight.

It was near silent. No rustling of leaves. No traffic from the street. No birds. No footsteps. No human voices. Not even the noisy four year old that lived next door. It was if all they could hear was white noise. A buzzing in the background that they couldn't place. It wasn't coming from their house, the garden or the neighbour's house. It was just there. A light buzzing noise.

The sky was now a bright grey and overcast, having been blue and cloudless when she was woken by Fingal after eight. It was now over an hour later. The clouds made everything flat and eerie. There was no breeze either.

"Scott…" Rowan whispered and grabbed Scott's wrist as she tried to swallow the dryness in her mouth. "Are you sure my mother didn't say she was going somewhere?"
The air seemed hollow and empty. Flat. It didn't feel right.
Scott was just as taken back by what he did and did not see and hear. He finally answered with, "No. She didn't."
Clasping tighter, she whispered, "Something's not right."

Just as the word's left her mouth, a loud crash emitted from the second storey of the house. In a swift moment, Rowan let go of Scott and they both turned in the direction of the house. Rowan felt like she had nearly jumped a foot in the air and she gulped, again and again, as if swallowing would get her rapidly beating heart out of her throat and back in place.

Her wide eyes stung as a sudden gust of wind ran past, forcing her to close her eyes. The wind filled her ears and all she could hear was the sound of her own heart and the bellowing of the air. A hand, Scott's, grabbed hers and before she could see through her watering eyes, her feet were struggling to keep up with him as he dragged her along behind him.

There was another loud bang. She blinked hard. When she opened her eyes again, the back door to the house had been opened by Scott. He ran towards the stairs with her struggling to keep up and maintain balance.

Inside she cringed. She doubted they could make it up these stairs in such a rush. They were sure to fall either forward to carpet-burn their bare skin or to fall back and tumble down. The one arm she had for balance was tucked beside her for whatever protection it might provide. The other was stretched to its limit; the wrist stringing from having the skin stretched and pulled. A weak "Scott" escaped from her throat but his mind was too focused to hear her.

Thankfully, they reached their destination: Rowan's room and Scott immediately let go of her wrist. Why had he dragged her? She cradled her sore wrist in her other hand as she fell to her knees panting.

Before her, Scott ran to the window but with her eyes to the floor Rowan did not see why. What was going on? Sounds out of nowhere? Her mother missing? Some birthday this was turning out to be.

"Row," Scott finally said, quietly as he if was stirring her gently out of sleep. "I think you should look…"
Before he finished, her head raised and as she understood what she saw, her jaw dropped. Scott helped her to her feet, taking her cradling hand.

The top right drawer from her chest of drawers was on the floor. At each joint, it had splintered and the sides had fallen to the ground just like the pieces of wood they had been before. All the snowglobes were on their sides. Some still rolling from the collision to the ground but none of them were broken. Slowly and carefully, still in shock and on her knees again, she placed each upright and once she had, let out a gasp. There were only fourteen.

She felt Scott rest his hand on her shoulder. He knew how much they meant to her. Now, one of them was gone and she didn't know why or where. Who on earth would steal such a thing?
"The window," he answered to her thoughts and, from her position on the floor, she peered up at him curiously. His head nodded towards the window.

The frame had been lifted and the window was open. The curtain rod above it was lopsided so the right side hung lower than the left, as if someone had pulled on it.
"What?" Rowan didn't understand. Someone had been her room. Someone had broken the drawer and taken a snowglobe. That she knew for certain but she was still confused.

"I think," Scott began to say, sounding like he didn't believe what he had seen, "I saw someone."
Rowan stood before him, trying to make eye contact but he refused to look at her. He was speechless. Just as she didn't understand what had happened, he didn't understand what he had seen out of the window.
"What did she look like?"
Surprised, he looked straight at her, his mouth slightly ajar. He didn't answer.
"White hair? A lot of white really, like she was a ghost… or an angel?"
Looking at his own shoes, he nodded. "How..?"
"She was in my room earlier."
"Sorry I didn't believe – " he blurted.
"It's okay. Where was she?"
"Down the street. I could barely make her out but she was that bright…"
Rowan nodded knowingly. "You couldn't miss her."