I Had Changed
Georgia Husselbee, Grade 11, Presbyterian Ladies College
Sitting on the front doorstep, I stared down at the flower between my fingers, twisting it absently with my thumb.
* * *
Not two hours ago, I had been running. Screaming.
Not two hours, I was asleep, but I wasn't dreaming.
When the soldiers came marching up to the door, I'd been seven years old. I had smiled at them, watched them in awe, even accidentally stepped on one of their shoes.
That was the first time I got hit.
Looking down at my mangled arm, I absently traced the mutated scarring that was raised on my pale skin. A tracker used to sit in there, a tracker that followed my every move. It took me two months to find something sharp enough to dig it out.
I hadn't even cried.
I almost doubted that I had the ability to cry any more. When I was younger, I would cry any time someone raised their voice at me; I would cry if I did something wrong and I would cry if I was ignored.
Now I had no tears left.
When the soldiers took me away, Mummy screamed and Daddy held her back. Daddy never understood me like Mummy did.
If you asked my name, I would tell you D2571.
I don't know how old I am any more and I don't know when I will die.
They told me I would never change.
The soldiers took me away and put me in a room that was pink and yellow. They said if I was a good girl, it wouldn't hurt much.
* * *
“Rosie,” a voice called softly from behind me. I turned, my pigtails swinging lightly in the wind.
“Who are you?” I blinked at the stranger. An old lady stood by the door of my old house, wrapped in a gown with fuzzy slippers on her feet.
“Rosie,” she murmured again, her eyes filling with unshed tears. I watch with curiosity as they began to roll down her cheeks. “Baby, it's me. It's Mumma.”
“No,” I looked up at her blankly. “My mummy is much younger and prettier than you.”
“Rosie,” the lady choked on a sob and I stood, backpack tight on my shoulders.
“Joanne?” A muffled voice called from inside the house. “Who is it?”
The old lady didn't reply. We just stared at each other.
“Joanne?” The man's voice was coming closer. Just as his foot came through the door, the old lady replied.
“Rosie came home.”
* * *
I couldn't understand what happened after that.
The old man looked familiar. He had a shotgun in his hands. He took one look at me and raised the barrel right towards my head.
What confused me the most wasn't the bang or the pain, though.
It was the reflection of a woman in the old man's watch, her hair in pigtails and face aged with wrinkles, blinking back at me.
Her mouth fell open as a shot cracked through the air. Her mouth; my mouth.
The soldiers lied. I had changed.