2016 Winner: REFLECTIONS OF THE FUTURE by Azlyn Raja


So there I was unwrapping my last present from my grandfather, the taste of birthday cake still on my tongue. As I removed the crinkling wrapping paper, two familiar eyes stared back at me. Immediately, I knew it was a small mirror. It was ancient but smooth, as though it had been polished many times. Suddenly, the mirror started to vibrate in my grasp. I frightfully looked up for my mom to see if she noticed the unbelievable sight.

Instead of seeing my mom’s kind eyes, images of every place in time since the beginning of creation became clear in my focus. It was as if I was looking through a picture book of monumental historical events. I studied the images closely in this unusual place. Suddenly, an image of my home caught my eye. The picture of our farm house appeared to have been taken on a spring morning. Pots filled with colorful flowers cluttered the front porch and two rocking chairs bordered the door. A fat white cat was snoozing in one of the rocking chairs. Instinctively, I reached out to touch the recognizable picture. Instantly, the picture began to absorb my body. I found myself being launched onto my parents’ lawn. I slowly got up from the dew soaked grass and made my way to the front door. Disturbed from his nap, the cat jumped out of the chair and ran under the bushes. I pushed opened the weathered door to the hallway. As I looked around, I noticed that no toys cluttered our family room as usual. I entered the kitchen and not one sign of my little brother’s toddler table could be seen. I glimpsed at the photos on the wall. They had all changed! Older but familiar people filled the frames. One particular picture distracted me from all of the others. It was a young woman with long, shiny hair just like mine. Her brown eyes and copper skin made me feel like I was examining an aged reflection of myself. I tried to determine where I was. I felt like I was dreaming. As I thought, I realized it was the future!

Suddenly, I felt a strong tug pulling me behind the couch. Like a fish on the end of a line, I struggled to get free. “I can’t believe my eyes!” A voice exclaimed. I spun around and there in front of me was Tori, my friend from school. Uncontrollably, questions poured out of my mouth.

“How did you get here? Why does everyone look old? Where is my mom? Where is the birthday cake?!”

Tori grasped my shoulders. “Calm down,” Tori fussed. “You need to be quiet. You are in the future. I got here because I am not young anymore; you are here because of that mirror, and Azlyn, that cake is probably twenty-five years old!”

“Oh man, I really wanted a second slice of cake,” I pestered. “More importantly, how do I get back?” I asked.

“The day you received that mysterious mirror, I stashed it after the party,” Tori explained. “I thought it meant something important. Now, I know.”

I found a comfortable spot on the rug. “Can you tell me my success and what has happened so far in my life?” I asked.

“I don’t know about that,” said Tori.

“Oh, come on. I’m your friend,” I urged.

“Okay I will tell you that you are on the Olympic Dressage Team and well on your way to be the next Charlotte Dujardin,” Tori explained.

Upon hearing this, I jumped up and rushed to the large window in the living room that looked out over our family farm, Tori close on my heels. There in the front pasture stood the most beautiful and mystic horse I had ever laid my eyes on. He had a coat as black as coal, but shiny like a diamond. There was a band of white fur that ran between his eyes down to his nose, and two of his legs were partially white as if someone had dipped him in paint. As I studied him in awe, he continued to graze on the lush grass as if he had not a care in the world. Suddenly, a brown and white speckled dog came running out of the barn and headed straight for the geese that were swimming in the pond beside the horse’s pasture. This startled the horse, and he began to gallop. The beauty of his movement had me so transfixed that several seconds went by before I realized that Tori had asked me a question.

“Do you like him?” Tori asked.

“Like? I don’t think there are words to describe exactly how I feel about that amazing animal,” I replied. “Whose is he? Is he a boarder’s horse? He looks as if he should belong to a fairy queen from some mythical land.”

“That’s funny, because those are the exact same words you said to your parents when they bought him for you,” she answered.

“What! He’s mine,” I exclaimed.

“Yes, but I can’t tell you anything else. I fear that it’s dangerous for you to know too much about the future. I’ve watched enough Sci-Fi movies to know that this could have serious repercussions,” Tori droned on. “We could alter your future if we aren’t careful. I read this book…”

As Tori elaborated, I could faintly hear the buzz of the garage door opening. “Who’s that?” I asked.

“That’s you! We have to get you back to the past!” Tori shouted.

“No!” I pleaded. “I want to meet myself.”

“You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“You are going to scare yourself to death!”

“Oh, you’re right. Let’s go find that mirror.” Tori led me by my hand towards the backdoor. As we slipped out, I caught a quick glimpse of my future self turning the corner. Tori grabbed my arm, and we climbed up the old rickety tree house ladder. Once we reached the doorway of the wooden house to find my mirror, I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I was once again surrounded by familiar objects from my childhood. “So where is it?” I asked.

“Over there,” replied Tori. She was pointing towards a bench that had a seat that could be opened. “Well, come on,” said Tori.

“No way! I’m not walking on this old, messy floor!” I shouted. “Do you know how old this tree house is?!”.

“Ok, I’ll go!” Tori compromised. Once Tori opened the top to the bench and grabbed the mirror, we immediately retreated from the treehouse. Tori rubbed the magical mirror, and it started to jostle in her grasp. “Good bye,” said Tori with a sad expression.

“Good bye to you, too,” I replied. Tori handed me the mirror, and immediately it took me back to the moment I had left from the past.

“Azlyn, are you okay?” A warm, familiar voice questioned.

“Mom…can I please be excused?” I stuttered.

“Sure, I guess,” Mom replied. I ran to my room and turned on the lamp. I grabbed my diary from under the bed.

Quickly I wrote:
* Work hard at riding horses
* Try my best to be successful in school
* Always be friends with Tori
* Stash the mysterious mirror in the treehouse!

I closed my diary and threw my head onto the pillow. My eyes closed, and I grinned. I had never felt happier as I drifted off to sleep thinking about the perfect future for which I was destined.