The Garden of Time This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 7, 2015
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Yesterday I put on Samuel’s skin.  I closed my eyes, but the memories flowed back into my brain.
My grandmother lives in an old mansion, behind which is a garden.  However, I have only seen quick glimpses of it.


I walked up the steps of the mansion and rang the bell.  My grandmother came running to the door.
“Were you followed?”


“No.”


With that, she motioned me inside.


The rest of my family was already here.  I sat at the wooden, circular table between my brother James and sister Delilah.  I never understood these reunions.  But this time, my siblings and I were told to leave the table about halfway through the normal time.  James and Delilah were happy, they became bored at these meetings.  Yet something told me this was not right.  I walked out of the room with my siblings and shut the door behind me.
I put my ear to the door to listen but only heard quiet murmurs.  Then I remembered the garden.  I walked towards the hallway and suddenly heard the front door break.


I ran to the window and saw four black cars, each of which had people emerging.  I told James and Delilah to follow me, and as we ran through the hallways of the mansion, I wondered who these people are.  Why are they here?  What were my parents and my grandmother discussing?  Did they know who these people were?
As we rounded the corner, we came across a closet, where I instructed James and Delilah to hide.


“I will be back for you,” I said, then I shut the door and ran towards the garden.


I caught my breath and walked outside.  As I wandered, I stumbled upon a small, dusty, gold clock.  Instead of having the numbers one through twelve on it, it had the numbers one through eleven.  In the middle of it was the world “lives.”  The minute hand on the clock was currently at the number eleven.  I turned the knob on the side of the clock for the minute hand to point to the number seven, then felt the world swirl around me and fell into blackness.


When I woke up, I knew something was different.  My vision was blurry and I had a headache.  As I stood up, I noticed the garden looked peculiar.  I hid the clock behind a statue and reentered the house.


My grandmother was sitting at the table.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I’m sorry?”
“How do I get out of here?”


“Samuel, you don’t have to be rude.  If you want to leave, be polite.”
“Samuel?”
“Yes, Samuel.”
“I’m Jamie, your granddaughter.  I used a clock.”
She stared at me for a moment.


“Now you know why I wouldn’t let you in the garden.  The clock can turn back to any lives your soul was once in.  You turned the clock to what?”


“Seven.”
“So now you are in the seventh life your soul was in.”
“How can I get out of this life?”


“Your soul may drift again, or use the clock.  But you must hurry with the clock.  And one last thing, there is no guarantee things will be the same.  You could alter things by using the clock.  Farewell, Jamie.”


After these words, I was pushed through the doors to the garden.  I walked back to the statue and found the timepiece.  Just as I was about to turn the knob, I heard whispers around me.  I did not need to look up to know I was surrounded.  I turned the knob to eleven and faded away from life.  Then, the world became dark.
I woke in the garden and slipped the clock in my pocket then entered the mansion.  I looked through the front window and saw no cars.  I went to the closet where I left James and Delilah, but they were not there.  I went back into the room with the circular table but did not find anyone.


Has my family been taken?  Had I imagined it all?


These questions ran through my head as I drove home.  By the time I got back, it was midnight.  I unlocked the door, then shut it behind me.  Yesterday, I put on Samuel’s skin.  I pressed my forehead to the door and wondered about what happened to my family when I heard a voice.


“They were not just taken recently.  They were taken years ago.”


I turned towards the direction of the voice, but nobody was there.






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