Being born into one of the most wealthiest families in the United States, Hazel was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She now lives her high school life with a plastic spork. Just after a Christmas party, Hazel woke up in the hospital. Her parents are dead, and when Hazel asked where they were, doctors could only respond with: "We don't know."


Coming-of-age / Young adult fiction


Amber Reed (United States)

The icy cold touch against my cheek was strong enough to wake me up from the fitful sleep. The back pain that also throbbed tightly against my spine also reminded me of the awkward position I had fallen asleep in. "W-What the hell...?” I stammered aloud, lifting my head upward. A sheet of paper, covered in pencil stuck to my cheek from drool of an open mouth. Peeling it away, I looked over the page. It was a half completed drawing, the pencil's carbon still raw and sticking against the palm of my hand. The delicate curves of a naked woman, her flesh stained by the grey shavings.
An incomplete drawing, faceted by the blinking numbers on the microwave. It gave a notice to me that only some could understand. Another lost night, losing the necessities every teenage girl is required to get. What is it, something like eight or ten hours a night or something? Try only getting two or three. I live in an apartment--a studio apartment, actually. Just south of the city, only one bus, two hours to get there. Or the train. I could take either. A mile and a half is a beach. All the sand around the apartment is soft and white, the air salty and calm. The only thing I hate is the putrid stench of sewer and salt mixing together.
My apartment is really dopey. I only have a little kitchen stocked with the usual fridge and coffee maker, and a metal card table which serves as my dining and homework table. I don't have my own room, instead a yellow and white flower pattern couch pulls into a bed. I stood up and stretched, rubbed my sleepless eyes vigorously and went to pack the bed up. I still wore the same clothes as yesterday, just a tank top and basketball shorts. I tossed the old brown quilt and down pillows and pulled the bed back. My toes clenched into the shiny magenta shag carpeting. I felt the crease in the carpet where the bed's old metal frame dug into the carpet. The indentation stayed in the carpet for a whole minute. Reminds me of how many days I could never wake up, all the long, sleepless nights. I gave up crying from so much sleep flying away from me. So close to my reach, yet so far away.
Sitting down onto the plush, aged cushion of the couch still on the floor. I rubbed my face roughly and looked out the window, curtains drawn halfway with an old shoe-lace. The sun rose slowly over the grassy green and brown mountains. The sun's soft light reflected on a cold metal filing cabinet next to the little card table that held my laptop. I had a pill for everything, and I'm only sixteen! A pill for sleeping, a pill for stress. The list goes on and on.
I get comments from neighbors from all around the apartment, asking me the same question that I always answer the same way.
"Where are your parents?"
"Aren't you too young to live alone?"
And I would reply, never meeting their concerned, maybe even worried gaze and reply “I’m fine. Don’t worry. I have someone taking care of me.”
Well, I give the same answer to everyone. I don't have parents. I'm an orphan.
I am the daughter of the rich and well put off Rosdahl couple. My mother was a college art professor, and my father was a pediatric doctor and surgeon. On the side, my father also advanced his artistic style using oil painting and acrylic. Both parents taught me with their unique style. This style expressed a more simple kind of living where the only biggest choice in the world was to have either tea or coffee.
All of those old riches are long, long gone. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, having the many riches all around me. Clean clothes every morning. A shower with clean white tile that had actual hot water. A filing, three course meal given by a butler every day.
But that was in the past. Now, I live with a plastic spork, eating cheap take-out, taking cold showers every other day, where I hope the water runs. The government pays for all of this, all because my family has done so much. This entire city, Pott's Hill, seems to be made around us. The cheap, drug infused highschool I'm going to has received donations in the thousands from us. Ever since their death, that school has gone down the drain. Maybe even further. What was it called, social security income? Trust fund?
They are gone, and I don't know how they died.
Well...I know something, I guess. You see, I have this scar. I woke up in the hospital in a total daze--My shoulder and upper arm were fractured in three places. I asked many questions to the nurses, doctors, and even the police that surrounded my bed when I woke up from so much drugs pumped into my system.
"Where is Mom and Dad?"
I didn’t get any verbal response. All around me, simple nods, grey toned look of confusion.
“We don’t know.” Is what they said.
I stood up and padded to the kitchen, letting the slouched strap of my tank top fall to my shoulder and opened the fridge door, contemplating on what for breakfast is good for a first day of school. I got out the eggs, milk and a tomato and began to dice a tomato and beat the eggs. My mind started to wander as I broke the yolks.
Most teenagers my age would fall in love with this kind of lifestyle. Think about it, no parents around to keep a curfew set. No parents around to keep track of chores, finances, and how much television is watched.

No parents.

When I was younger, my parents were definitely busy. Busy during the day, free during the evening, or something like that, but both of them were able to say “I love you.” Or “Do your best every day!”, and such things like that. We all spent some days in the garden with our big Collie dog. Father typing on the white wicker table and chair set. Mother was busy in her own little world, paying extra attention to her beautiful collection of potted plants. I got my name—Hazel. From the tree that grew out back when we moved in. My mother decided on my name when she had to go to the emergency room. I always laugh at the story. Dad getting so nervous he bumped into the tree and knocked a hazel nut down from the tree. The nut fell right on to my Mother’s bloated belly.

Now, the only form of care and attention I get from anyone who is an adult is from the government. I get a monthly check of a few grand. This is for paying rent, food, clothes, and any other such necessities I have.

I’m not like other teenagers, especially like the ones at my new school are. I do all my homework on time, don’t sass the teachers. Do my own laundry, clean the apartment. Cook all of my meals.
I have no memory for the past year and a half. The death of my parents, the longtime forgotten, and even how I got a large scar on my collarbone is nothing but a big question.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1



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