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Treasures of the Heart

by Rebecca DeJarlais, age 12, from US

Dedicated to: my great-aunt Maureen, a.k.a. Moe

One beautiful autumn day, a little girl was running races with her older brother. Even though he was three years older than she, the little girl was confident about beating him. She was a headstrong, impatient girl, even though she came from a very poor family. Her brother, Tom, was very quiet and subdued whenever he was around anyone else but his younger sister, Melissa.

Melissa had bouncy blond hair, and bright, vivid blue eyes. She was seven, almost eight.

Tom had fine brown hair, and warm, brown eyes. Neither Tom nor Melissa looked as if they belonged in such poverty. But when their smiles lit up the small house it made their mother and father feel like kings and queens.

Anyway, the road curved past their only neighbor, Joe Davison. Old Joe rarely came out of his house, which was much smaller than the Xaviersens'. It had an eerie, ancient air about it, and even Melissa wouldn't go near it. His house was about 250 yards away from the Xaviersens'.

Joe Davison was about 85 years old, but no one else knew anything about him; he never came out. Some teenagers joked around that he was a ghost. But most people shunned him as a recluse.

"Ready . . . set . . . go!!!" cried Melissa as she took off for the finish line, a line that she and Tom had made out of sticks and twigs.

Even though Tom's legs were longer, Melissa's legs had power on her side, and she shot out past him.

But she failed to see the innocent-looking rock in her path, in front of Joe Davison's house.

Melissa tripped and fell onto the grass of Mr. Davison's yard.

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