THIS PARTICULAR STORY CONTAINS CONTENT THAT SOME MIGHT FIND TROUBLESOME
Chapter 11: In The Night
I pushed Andy off my bed and he fell a few feet to the floor, yelling as he hit the ground, grasping his thick head in pain. The kids around us first stood still, staring at Andy, then up at me and then moved away from both of us and towards their games. The bell rung and everyone froze in their spot again, even Eli, but I hopped off the bed and stood over Andy, who was now biting his lips to not scream. His eyes were tearing.
The doors flung open and Ms. Hunter marched in randomly pointing to kids in the room yelling “I heard screaming!”
She caught sight of me over Andy almost the moment kids started pointing towards us. Andy was about to say something but I stood in front of him and said, “I’m sorry.”
“Horrible children,” Ms. Hunter declared and stomped over and clasped my arm so tight that her nails pinched my skin. She dragged me out of the room and towards the bathroom door in the most corner, pushing the door inside to reveal a dark, damp, disgusting, and small room and tossed me inside. I did not look back at Eli, I didn’t want to bring her into this. I knew now that adults not listen to ‘sorrys’. They teach it and expect it to be used, but they don’t care about it. It’s just another excuse to yell at us. To hurt us.
I stayed in the bathroom till it was completely dark outside and no noise came from anywhere. The room could hardly fit me, Eli, and Andy to stand together. It was dark, with a thick, moldy, and old lantern over my head, directly over the never-washed toilet. The room smelled very bad and I vomited twice while inside, but that only made it worse. There was a book-sized window behind the wall overlooking the toilet, from which all sorts of buzzing, biting insects came in, to look at the lantern light, and ended up torturing me. The floor had a film of murky water on it and the broken tiled walls were green with dirt.
It seemed quiet enough to do what I wanted to now, so I took a deep breath and put my foot on the seat and climbed up to the water tank of the toilet, clutching at cracks in the wall for support. Stretching on my toes, I pulled myself upwards to grab the lantern. Touching it was hard, as insects would be annoyed by my hands blocking the light and would bite me even more. I tugged at the lantern, which was hung by a hook in the ceiling and eventually managed to sway it out, but accidentally moved the toilet-top and slipped one leg into the toilet and the rest of me fell to the floor.
My shoe was covered in disgusting filth and I vomited onto the wet floor as I looked at it, which spread out over the floor and soaked into my clothes. My eyes were tearing and I’m sure red, from the excessive vomiting and the pain in my knee from the fall. I kicked my shoe off and got back up on the toilet tank and peeked out the little window, as mosquitoes tried to poke at my eyes. There were just two cars down there and some bushes next to the building wall, nothing except moonlight and short open grass for as far as I could make out.
I tilted the lantern out the window, careful to not trip again, keeping the hot glass door open with two fingers and showing the opening to the bushes below. I had put half of the toilet-paper in the bathroom inside, which was now starting to burn brighter and hotter, reddening my fingertips.
I looked down again and thought of Margret and how right she was. They are hurting us, and we need to get away.
I dropped the lantern as soon as the fire touched my nails and watched it fall straight into the bushes and the I saw the light get smaller, smaller, and then vanish.
There was darkness and silence for a while until the bushes started to get yellow and red, slowly catching fire until the hedges were completely burning and casting color on the cars nearby.
I hopped off the toilet and started breaking off as many tiles off the wall as I could and then slid some of them out the bottom of the door, keeping the rest for myself. After a while I heard alarms from outside, car horns, getting louder and louder and could see smoke and ember rising. I could hear kids outside moving and talking and soon after, the bell rung.
I stood patiently as I heard the door open and a man, probably Mr. Floyd, yelling the kids to get to the front door and wait there. My feet were drenched in the dirty water as I heard kids running down the stairs for the next few minutes, until there was silence again.
I pressed my ear against the door and listened to the crunching of tile pieces as someone walked towards my door.
“What the hell?” the voice said as it unlocked my door.
Mr. Floyd opened the door, speaking “Hey, you need to get down to…”
He didn’t see me coming, there was no light in the bathroom. So, he didn’t see me toss chunks of wall-tiles at his face, that I could clearly see, and then run hard into his chest and push him back and over the railing, down a few feet onto the stairs. He cursed as he fell and was mumbling and grumbling when he hit the steps.
I ran into the big bedroom and reached for my bag, then curiously peeked out the window to see the kids and Ms. Wilco and Hunter standing on the pavement, looking around the front, towards the fire on the side.
I took whatever tiles I had in my hand and tossed them in the center of the window. First it only made noise, then scratches, then dents and then I broke through, each tile making the hole in the window larger and larger and I could hear kids screaming and crying outside as they ran across the road. Now was my chance.
I tugged my bag and ran for the stairs, where Mr. Floyd was now laying, but not moving or speaking, and I hopped over him and towards the file cabinets.
The lights were still on, so I could read what was written on each drawer, letters and I looked for ‘E’. The drawer had brown files in it, with names like Alice, Denice, Cody, Sam, which confused me until I realized that their last names started with ‘E’. It also had the dates the children arrived, their age, reason and adopted family, if any. Adopted kids with the new last name of ‘E’ were also in this file.
Mine and Eli’s last name began with Father’s name, Kevin Hays. Hays. H.
I hurriedly pulled out the ‘H’ folder as I could hear Mr. Floyd mumble in the back.
I scanned through a dozen names until finally coming across my own and reading my information.
‘Age when received: 3 weeks.
Reason for received: Abandonment.
Adopted at age: 2
Adopted Family: Kevin Hays and Jenny Lance
Sibling: None Elena Hays
Previous Family: Kevin Hays and Jenny Lance’
The file fell from my hands and onto the old, dusty floor.
There was a new entry dated the day before, saying that the two sisters had been given back over ‘domestic’ reasons.
My hands were trembling. My lips quivering and my eyes watering. I’m sure my cheeks were flushed pink.
Elena and I were sisters after all. I’m so happy. To this day, that is the happiest realization of my life. That is the only thing I say for a fact, that has been true and dear to me and always will bring me joy. But…
My parents were Mother and Father. Kevin and Jenny were my actual parents, who abandoned me to this place when I was born. Then…
Then they took me and Elena back? I just… I just…Don’t understand.
I heard Mr. Floyd move behind me and I ran towards the front door. When I pushed the door open I saw a crowd outside. Kids and adults, Ms. Wilco and Hunter, random people, and policemen. I saw Mr. Bob and Jeff there as well, their torches pointed at me, as Eli and Andy peeked at me from behind them, her little pale face covered with fear. That changed when I smiled at her, and she seemed surprised, but the more I smiled, the more relaxed she looked and eventually she started to smile back at me.
I kept smiling at her even as Mr. Bob and Mr. Jeff walked up to me and held my shoulder. I remained smiling as they walked me straight past her and through the crowd. I smiled on as they put me in their car and closed the door. I didn’t stop smiling even as Eli started crying, as the car slowly moved back and then away from the orphan home, till I could no longer see her again.