Age: 14, Grade: 9
School Name: Baccalaureate School for Global Education, Astoria, Ny, NY
Educator: Madeline Taylor
Category: Flash Fiction
Your sweat mixes with the dark ink from the crumpled newspaper you clutch to your chest, the one that brought you here. The smudged letters read, “2070 just began months ago, but many ponder if we will ever count down for the new year again!”
You feel the heels of your shoes dig into the clay-like ground as you look out at the land before you, unrecognizable from your last memory of it.
Barren fields replacing the lush forests that once thrived, eerie silence filling the acres of uninhabited land.
The soft rustle of dried leaves on the ground carried by the soft evening breeze calms you, a false sense of security.
You look by that gulley where the river used to be, the one that you would swim in every summer with your cousins, the one where you first learned how to swim and nearly drowned.
Not far from the river is a small stump, once holding a firetruck red tire swing that had turned a faded brown the last you’d seen it.
You remember the day you fell off that swing. The day you’d spun so fast that you threw up, the day you tried to dig your heels into the slick mud below to stop yourself but instead ruined your favorite shoes, you remembered.
You saw the gravel from the path that led to your house, or what was left of it.
That’s where you took your first steps, they had told you. Where you had first seen the house, all those years ago.
“Small, but it’ll do,” you had thought.
And now it’s all gone. All your memories drifted away in the snap of Mother Earth’s fingers.
You feel your eyes blinking fast, the muted colors mixing to a washed-out brown as your vision blurs. Tears cascade down your face, but you continue walking on.
The uneven ground where you fell and chipped your tooth was now smoothed over by the lashing winds, all that was left of the small garden behind the house was a faint outline of the stone path.
You remember the day your grandma showed you her garden, how bright her smile beamed as she showed you her tomatoes she’d worked on all spring. You remember how she shone with pride when her lillies had finally bloomed, you remember.
You begin running to the finish of this never ending maze of memories, the bun you had ever-so-perfectly secured this morning slowly unraveling, mascara splattering on your stainless white button-up.
You pass Kit’s house, the coffee shop, the roller rink.
Half hung signs creaking in the wind and flickering lightbulbs mingle with the patter of your shoes, your sobs rising to meet the circling storm overhead.
The splintered past riddled on the road beneath you as you shattered each and every memory:
Snap. snap. snap.