Congratulations to our runner-up, Gage Hanson!
His story begins now...
In my mind I can still clearly remember that day. The day that I stood a few yards away and watched helplessly as my sister slipped off of a rock she had been playing on and into the water. We had gone to the park near the river to escape the fight my parents were raging on that particular day. My eyes wandered from watching my sister and turned just in time for a brief moment of eye contact with her beautiful and sparkling blue eyes before she fell. I was there when they pulled her body out of the river. Her wrinkled skin, the cuts and bruises from smashing into the bottom of the lake, her hair matted and intertwined with weeds, and finally the sight of her empty eye sockets. Her eyes which had been ripped out by the current.
I had tried, and partially succeeded, in forcing the images of that day out of my mind but the sound of her body being pulled out of the river hooked itself into my memory and was as clear now as it was a year ago when I first heard it. The dripping of the river water and the splash of her soaking body hitting the ground when they dropped her were burned into my mind. My parents had moved on from this incident but I couldn’t get over it. I felt that it was my fault my sister was dead. I hadn’t been watching her carefully enough. I blamed myself and vowed to never let myself forget it, lest I make the same mistake again in the care of someone else.
A year ago to the day these events took place and tonight I sat in my basement, home alone, thinking to myself how I could have changed the outcome. My parents had left on a date, they recovered better than I did, and wouldn’t be back for a few more hours. They hadn’t cared much about us kids before my sister had died and after a brief period of grief carried on with life and cared even less about me, the new only child. For the past few hours I had worn myself out with worrying, stressing and speculation on why it had happened, how I could have stopped it, and how it was all my fault. The only time I had escaped my grief was when I slept, so I decided to go to bed. On the way to my bedroom, I turned into my bathroom to brush my teeth. As I pulled my toothpaste out of the drawer, I heard a faint sound. It was such a small and weak sound that it was difficult to distinguish it from the other sounds I constantly heard while home alone. The sound of creaking floorboards, a breeze rushing through the window, the crickets outside and the sound of occasional water droplets.
“That’s it,” I said to myself. It had been the sound of water dripping. I pulled back the shower curtain to turn off the faucet, but found it off. I shrugged and finished brushing. As I rinsed my brush and turned the water off, I heard a similar sound to one I had heard before except this one was longer and louder. It sounded like someone had wiped a puddle off a table and it had fallen to the floor. I poked my head out of the bathroom and looked around for the source of the sound. It stopped as suddenly as it started, and I couldn’t locate its origin. I decided it must be raining outside and went to my bedroom. I shut my window so no rain would weasel its way into my room, and turned off my light plunging the room into darkness. As darkness encompassed me, I heard a splash of water. This sound was unmistakably coming from the corner of my room. My eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness, and I made my way towards my closet. The sound grew louder and more frequent. When I was a few inches from my closet door, it sounded like a rain cloud formed in my closet. I reached forward, pulled it open and watched a wet soggy mass flop onto the ground. Followed by two small, round objects. I slowly and unwillingly looked down. My gaze was met by two sparkling blue eyes.
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