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“A New Life” by Scarlet Lin: June 2024 2nd Place

A scraggly gray house stood at the end of Blackwood Street, its broken windows reflecting off the afternoon sun. I never thought our new house would be something like this. The cardboard box filled with my clothes sat in the truck, it felt like so long ago when I was with my friends. I grabbed my backpack and headed to the front door. The inside was even worse, cracked walls and brown puddles on the ground, so I tried to ignore it and headed into a small dirty room. Placing my worn-down backpack down on the squeaky bed, I looked at the torn carpets. Is this what my new life would be like?

I stared out into the hills, as my brain rolled off different memories. The sound of my name startled me out of my thoughts when I realized Mother had called me. I went out of my room and saw two bowls of soup- reminding me that it was always me and Mother against the whole world. I picked at the potatoes but couldn't find my appetit in between the liquid. The soup was cold and watery, barely edible. 

The creak of the door erased any doubts I might’ve had as I cautiously pushed open the double doors and saw what was left of a grand study, millions of books were placed neatly on chalky shelves with its yellowed pages. With my heart in my throat I stepped into the chamber. There was a giant chest which I opened to find a grimy photograph. On that black-and-white photograph was… me. There was my face but had hair tucked into a tight bun and a long dress. “I” was standing next to a small man with round glasses and a bushy mustache. I had questions like: How could I be in a photograph that was dated before I was born? Who's the other man?

"That was you in your past life dear, " A voice answered my question and I whirled around to see Mother standing in the doorway. Suddenly, I realized that I could remember my past lives…


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