Third Place – Taryn H. (6-8th grade category)

Third Place – Taryn H. (6-8th grade category)

The Red Rose – Taryn H.

The edge of the cliff stood before me, anxiety kicking in. Normally, the salt in the air was relaxing and reassuring. I suppose it was the all of the good memories I’ve had with the ocean. But then, as my feet were planted into the dampened soil, head hung above the rocky drop that lead my sister away, the ocean felt grim and foreboding. Slightly shifting my gaze, something caught my eye. A dark, jagged rock near the shore held something beyond horrifying. A single, demolished, blood red rose.

All of my sisters life, she was utterly obsessed with flowers. It’s a shame, because where we grew up, the land was dry and barren, despite the sea at our side. We lived in a small, one story home that stood atop a cliff. Our mother used to live with us, too. She died soon after I turned 18. Father left after my sister, Lila was born. I was 11. It hurt, a lot. To try to cheer me up, my mother bought a photograph of a lively flower field that had a single red rose in the center. Lila would fantasize over finding this rose. I passed it off as nothing for a long time, but maybe I should have rationalized her thoughts earlier on.

One day, I woke up and noticed that the outside world had been drenched by the elongated clouds looming above the roof of our house. As the day went on, I decided to go on a walk with Lila. The weather was drab, but nevertheless enjoyable. The grass, clearly greener, went on for many miles. It was striking. Lila then noticed one elegant, gleaming, ruby rose. Her eyes brightened with joy. It was adorable. Clearly wishing to take it, she smiled at me. I said that she should leave it be, increasing the chance it would grow more. We finished our walk, and returned home.

The next morning, something seemed dreadfully wrong. I jolted up, and ran to the kitchen. A single note was left. It looked rushed. “I’m off to see the roses – From, Lila,” Thoughts overcame my head. Scavenging outside, I searched for hours. My heart was breaking, and my head pounded. Losing hope, I peered over the cliff. That quick look turned into minutes of staring. Staring at the remains of that rose. I’ve notified authorities, but I feel like their search won’t be too successful either, considering that I have a new addition to the flower field hung on my wall. Before I tell you the petrifying truth, I want to make one thing clear. The photograph on my wall was a field, covered in flowers, with mountains in the background. Nothing more. Nothing less. But now, it’s so different . When I returned home, the picture hung on my wall had been changed in haunting ways. The photo was missing the centerpiece, the crimson red rose. In place of said rose, laid Lila’s lifeless corpse.