Scary Stories

Rubber Ball

The Rubber Ball is a scary story about a little Japanese girl who loves to play with her pink rubber ball, bouncing it up and down in the street.

When I was a young boy, there was a little girl who lived across the street from me. She was 5 years old, with bright shining eyes and a cute smile. Her name was Chisato-chan, but everyone called her “Chi”.

Chi didn’t have a father. She and her mother lived alone in their small apartment. Her mother worked long hours in a factory down the road and wasn’t home very much.

Because there were no other children her age in the neighborhood, Chi always played alone. I often saw her outside on the pavement, jumping rope, playing hopscotch. Mostly, I would hear her playing with her pink rubber ball, bouncing it up and down endlessly.

Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip!

I didn’t have any brothers or sisters, so I kind of thought of Chi as my little sister. I was too old to play with her, but sometimes I would read her a story, draw pictures with her or buy her some ice cream at the local candy store. Chi adored me and always referred to me as her “older brother”.

*************

It was a very hot day, just a few weeks before the summer vacation. When I got home from school, I sat down at the kitchen table to do my homework.

Chi-chan spotted me and came running up to the kitchen window. She was wearing a straw hat with a red ribbon and she was bouncing her pink rubber ball.

Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip!

“Older brother, Let’s play!” she squealed.

I waved at her and said, “Sorry Chi, I have a lot of homework to do!”

She was disappointed and wandered off to play with her rubber ball again. I could hear her bouncing it up and down outside my window and it started to get on my nerves.

Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip! Plip!

I continued with my homework and when I looked up at the clock, I noticed it was long past the time when Chi’s mom usually came home.

As if on cue, I heard a voice from the other side of the street.

“Honey! Sorry I’m late!”

“Oh, it’s my mom!!” Chi-chan squealed.

She dropped her rubber ball and ran across the street.

“No! Chi, wait!” her mother screamed.

All of a sudden, I heard a sickening sound.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech! Thud!

“Oh my God! No! Noooooo!” Chi’s mother wailed.

I jumped out of my chair and ran out the front door without bothering to put on my shoes.

There was Chi, lying in the middle of the road. Her head was under the rear wheels of a large truck. Her small limbs were twitching and a dark red spot was spreading out from under the tires.

For the rest of my life, I will never forget that pitiful sight.

Chi’s mother was crying and shaking me by the shoulder.

“Save her!” she shrieked in desperation. “Somehow you’ve got to save her!”

While her mother stood there, dumbfounded, I tried to pull Chi-chan’s limp body out from under the truck.

*************

Two days later, my parents brought me to Chi’s funeral. Her mother looked tired and haggard. I nodded at her and mumbled a few words of condolence.

“If only Chi’s mom had come home at the usual time,” I thought. “If only the driver of the truck had chosen a different street… If only Chi had been playing on the other side of the street that day…”

But regrets would not bring Chi-chan back. She was gone for good.

*************

About a week later, it was a hot, muggy night and I fell asleep with my bedroom windows wide open. I was awoken by a familiar sound.

Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop!

It seemed to be coming from right outside my window.

Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop!

It sounded like a rubber ball bouncing up and down.

Even though I was still groggy from sleep, I got an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I listened for a little while and I felt that the sound had moved.

It didn’t seem to be coming from outside anymore.

Now, it seemed to be coming from inside my room.

I lay there in the darkness and listened.

The sound seemed to be at the foot of my bed.
 
Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop!

I didn’t feel any fear at all, just a sense of wonder.

“Maybe this is Chi-chan’s way of saying goodbye,” I thought.

There was a warm feeling in my heart.

Then, I suddenly realized why the sound of the rubber ball made me uncomfortable.
The bouncing sound wasn’t rhythmic. It sounded different.

Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop!

It bounced across my bedroom floor until it was right beside me.

Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop! Plip! Plip! Ploop!

I reached out and picked it up.

It didn’t feel like a rubber ball…

It felt soft…

Soft and wet…

Soft and wet and squishy…

Then, as I held it in my hands, I heard it say something…

“Older brother, let’s play!”

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