Almost Safe

The most unexpected things happen to a girl who's becoming too old to live at the orphanage. She leaves her old life to start a totally new one with her new extraordinary friend.

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1. The End of the Beginning

 

          I put down the hairbrush and looked in the mirror. My big green eyes were red and swollen and my cheeks were stained with tears. I was awake all night silently crying under the covers.

          I have lived in Washington state’s orphanage my whole life. The story is I was brought here bundled up in a basket and left on the front porch, how cliché. Its probably just a made up story that they tell all the children, but as far as I knew, this was my home. The same nice ladies have taken care of me every day of my life, fed me, clothed me, even loved me. Despite the stereotype, they really care. And most of the time, I thought I had a good life.

          I picked up the brush again and tried once more to run it through my tangled hair. When its properly maintained, I like my hair. Its perfectly straight and jet black, ending just below my shoulder blades. I brushed my teeth and grabbed a hair tie just as a little girl opened the bathroom door.

          “Samantha, I have to go poddy.” she said sweetly.

          “Jessie,” I replied, “you’re almost four now, you have to learn to knock.” she said sorry and I walked out, closing the door behind me. I was pulling my hair back into a ponytail when I realized what day it was. After a week of school, Saturdays and Sundays the boys’ and girls’ orphanage all get together and play outside from morning till lunch and after the little kids take there naps, they can go out again. Its not the only time we get to go play on the field but it seems like a big occasion when everyone is there. Most of the kids are under the age of thirteen so they just run around and play kickball. I’m not one for hide-and-go-seek, but I have something to do on these days too.

          I walked past the cribs and ran down the steps to the front door. Suddenly, a loud wail pierced my ears and I realized the cribs weren’t empty. I looked at the clock. It was 12:30. I knew I slept in but not that late. “Shoot” I muttered under my breath. I reluctantly walked back up the steps and scanned the room for the source of the crying and quickly found it. I crept over to the crib labeled ‘Stephanie’ and picked her up. “Shhhhh” I pleaded, “shhhhh”. I saw her pacifier lying on her blanket and popped it back into her mouth. I looked at the clock again, regretting the time I wasted, and put Stephanie back in her crib. I ran down stairs, out the door and into the warm air, which was unusual. Its always rainy in Seattle it seems, which is why a giant canopy was installed over part of the field. Its nearly impossible to think of how it got up there, so it wasn’t a surprise to still see it standing on a day like today.

          I saw Ms. Jen sitting in a lawn chair enjoying the sun and started to walk over to her. She is the closest thing to a mother I have, the reason I would act bad on adoption days so no one would want me, which I now thoroughly regret. “Ms. Jen!” I called. She turned her head in my direction.

          “O, Sam! You’re finally coming to join us.” I gave her an apologetic look. I usually wake up early to help with breakfast along with the two other oldest girls, my two best friends. Gabby is 16 and she came here when she was a baby, just like me. I was about one year old when she arrived. Hali is 15 but she came here was she was about 7 after her parents died and she had no other family to live with. She never really got over her sense of abandonment.   

          “Nice day out, isn’t it Samantha?” one of the caretakers said from behind me. I spun around.

          “Its beautiful Miss Judy.” I replied. I gave Ms. Jen a hug and ran into a nearby crowd of screaming children.

          “Where is he?” I heard someone ask. I turned around and saw Hali, dressed in her usual depressing black attire, frowning at me.

          “Oh lighten up Hali, you’re ruining my good mood.” I recognized Gabby’s voice as she stood up from a duck-duck-goose circle. She likes to cheer up the younger kids, since not everyone is always happy at an orphanage.

          “Hey guys, nice to see you too. You know, no one’s going to want to adopt you when you look like a vampire Hali.” I said and we all started laughing. We knew we had no chance anyways, no one in their right mind is going to adopt a moody 15-year-old, an underdressed 16-year-old, or any 17-year-old.

          “Nice outfit Gabby, you might as well be naked.” Hali remarked, “There’s only like 5 guys over the age of fifteen anyways and one’s taken.” she turned and glared at me. She was right though, Gabby was showing more skin than usual and that’s saying something. She took advantage of the warm weather and wore shorts and an orange t-shirt. She definitely didn’t have the body of a 16-year-old, she looks more matured than me, even though I’m probably done growing. She’s about 5’7, two inches taller than me, with long legs, long dirty blonde hair and an unfairly big chest. She was the exact opposite of Hali, about 5’3, short brown hair, and always in a bad mood. But unlike happy-go-lucky Gabby, Hali was understanding. She knew true misery and therefore, could empathize with anyone.

          “So where is he?” Gabby asked, interrupting my thought.

          “I don’t know,” I said “I barely looked at all before I ran into you guys.”

          “You know,” she continued, “it’s a nice day out. I doubt anyone’s inside.”

          “Gabby!” I scolded.

          “What? Am I the only one thinking it?”

          “Yeah!” Hali answered, and they both looked at me and waited for my reaction. I didn’t give them one.

          “Hey guys,” I said “I’d love to chat but…”

          “We know.” Hali sighed.

          “Sorry, its just-”

          “Just go!” and I did.

As I ran away I heard Gabby laughing at me. I sighed, I wondered if they would ever change, and I laughed too. I must have been searching for ten minutes before I saw a group of teenage boys standing by the trees. They’re the 4 oldest boys in the orphanage and I could name them all. Josh is 15, tall and lanky, with red hair and freckles. Donny and Michael are identical 16-year-old twins with blonde hair, blue eyes and have a medium build, they’re both perverted. And the last boy is 17, has short brown hair, brown eyes, and more defined muscles, but not grossly buff. His name is Zachary and he is my boyfriend. As I slowed my pace, I tried to slow my breathing too, which became labored at the sight of him. It was useless, whenever I looked at him, my heartbeat sped up and my face got hot.

          I walked towards him and when he spotted me his face lit up. He dropped whatever he was holding, a football I think, and ran over to me. He seemed so happy whenever he saw me, but happiness wasn’t the only thing in my mind when I saw him. He put his hands on my face and bent his face towards mine. By this point my heart was beating erratically. He put his lips to mine but then jerked away. I opened my eyes and saw that one of the twins had thrown the football at him.

          “Oh come on! Its finally nice out. Go kiss her on a rainy day.” he said, I think it was Michael. I waited to see Zach’s reaction.

          “You’re just jealous” he said and threw the ball back at him. Then they and Josh proceeded in a game of ‘lets see who gets hit in the face the most’ and I was left alone, well almost. The other twin, probably Donny, came up behind me and blew into my ear. I turned around to hit him but he was gone, so I turned back to watch Zach but was met by Donny again. He was right up against me and was looking down on me, probably trying to see down my shirt, it wouldn’t be the first time. But suddenly, he forced himself on me. His lips were on mine and his hands were on my waist. I tried to push him away but he had pulled me tight against him and my hands were stuck in between us. I couldn’t breath. I was stuck and I had no way to defend myself. We were completely out of sight of the caretakers and most of the other kids. All of the sudden, he was pulled off of me and I fell to the ground. I looked around, a bit disoriented, and saw Donny on the ground with a bloody lip and Zach standing over him.

          “What the hell are you doing?!” Zach yelled at Donny.

          “She wanted it, didn’t you see? She wasn’t pulling away.” he said as he stood up. I was astonished at his lie, but more than that I was furious at him. Unfortunately I was too stunned to say anything to Zach when he turned around and looked at me with somber eyes. I couldn’t tell if he believed him or not, he should know better.

          “Don’t you believe me man? We grew up together.” Donny said, but I’ve told Zach that I thought the twins were pigs, and I guess he remembered that. He turned and walked towards me. I tried to stand up but I couldn’t feel my legs. He offered his hand but I didn’t take it. I felt a tear run down my face and I looked at Donny, who I thought looked a bit remorseful, but I could’ve been imagining it.

          Zach picked me up and carried me away from the other boys. I hated being seen like this, like a girl who can’t take care of herself. I tried to tell Zach to put me down but no words came out of my mouth, so I just waited.

          “I’m sorry,” he said, “this was supposed to be a romantic day between you and me, not you and-” he stopped. It was a good choice. But what did he mean by that. I got nervous as I started to think about what Gabby had said earlier and saw that we were headed towards the building. We kept walking straight, and avoided anyone we saw, we went in through the back and up the stairs of the girl’s orphanage. The babies were still sleeping and I didn’t know how long we had until the caretakers came to get them out of their cribs. Neither of us had said a word for what seemed like forever, so as soon as my voice started working again, I broke the silence.

          “Where are we going?” I asked quietly. He laughed.

          “Isn’t it obvious, we’re going to your room, well, your’s, and five other girls’ room.” it felt as though my suspicions were proven, my heart was racing. He walked in my room, still carrying me in his arms, he’s stronger than I thought, and placed me on my bed. Then he laid down next to me and leaned in for a kiss, I flinched, recalling the incident with Donny. He backed off and we just laid there for a few minutes. I sighed, knowing we weren’t going to do anything, for now.

          “I’m okay you know.” I told him reassuringly. But he didn’t seem himself. He took a long second to respond and inhaled slowly.

          “You didn’t really want that did you?” he asked. “I mean, what Don said-”

          “was a complete and utter lie.” I finished, “The only person I want like that is you.” and lying there next to him, the bed so small we were pushed against each other, it seemed like a major understatement.

          I wanted to kiss him but I must have fallen asleep curled up against his body, because I woke up feeling cold and he was gone. What a disappointment. It must have been worse for him though, it seemed he had something planned, other than his best friend attacking me and having me falling asleep on him.

          I thought about what time it was and how long I was asleep. But something more depressing took over my mind. The reason I was crying last night. I thought about what would happen to me in a few weeks when I turned 18. I haven’t talked to anyone about it, not even Zach, but he had a few more months than me. When I turned 18 and was no longer able to stay here, like I think would be the case, where would I go? What would I do? None of the caretakers had said anything about it to me, which made the situation worse. I was alone.

          That night I fell asleep easy, worn out from an exhausting day. My dream started with a replay of that afternoon. I hugged Ms. Jen, talked to Gabby and Hali, and kissed Zach, but in the dream, Michael didn’t throw a football at him. The kiss continued for what seemed like forever and when it finally ended, we were under a blossoming tree, laying on a blanket. I was so happy, but all of a sudden, I just stood up and started running. I ran away from Zach, away from my friends and Ms. Jen and away from the entire orphanage. I turned my head and looked behind me to see that everyone was gone. I thought I would be sad, miserable, running away from my home like that, all alone. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t sad and I wasn’t alone either. Next to me was a beautiful man, and we were running at a remarkable speed. Even though I was leaving everything I knew and loved behind me, I felt happy, like my life was fulfilled. Just then I realized that I couldn’t see the beautiful man’s face, it was there but always hidden, no matter where we ran. Suddenly he lunged at me, and in one swift move he was at my throat. It was then that I saw his piercing red eyes.

          I woke up from the dream in the middle of the night and sat up in bed with a start. I looked around the dark room to assure myself that it was all a dream and saw the other kids sound asleep in their beds. The digital clock read 2:34, it would be awhile until everyone woke up, but I couldn’t go back to sleep for fear of another nightmare. As quietly as I could, I stepped out of bed and headed for the kitchen to get a glass of water.

          I wasn’t supposed to leave my room in the middle of the night so I didn’t turn on any lights to make sure no one would notice me. I could barely see and felt along the walls with my hands as I walked down the hallway. I walked into the living room and bumped right into the wooden bureau under the television, cutting my arm on the corner as I did. I grabbed my arm and felt a sticky liquid that I realized was blood. I hurried to the bathroom and shut the door. I turned on the light and saw it was a pretty good cut, and a little blood was trickling down my arm and onto my hand. I washed it off and put on the biggest bandaid I could find. I looked at the bright red blood going down the drain and an image of the red eyes from my dream popped into my head. I gasped. I needed some fresh air.

          I was going to be in so much trouble. I quietly unlocked the door and walked into the cold night air, and closed the door behind me. I didn’t even care that I was wearing pajamas or that the only thing on my feet was socks. I walked down the dark street, only lit by the dim street lights, and wondered why I even left. What was I planning to do?

          All of the sudden, I saw something flash under the street light like something whirling by. I thought I was going crazy. But then I saw it again, this time closer, and walked to where I saw it. As I expected, there was nothing there. I turned around and saw standing about 15 feet away from me, a boy who looked a few years older than me. I looked at him and fear surged through me as I wondered what he was doing there. I didn’t feel safe. I turned and started to walk the other way, not knowing where to go since he was blocking the way back. I started to walk faster, and when I turned the street corner, I ran as fast as I could. I turned around to make sure he wasn’t following me and when I didn’t see him, I turned my head forward again. He was right there, inches in front of me. He grabbed my wrists with ice cold hands. I froze in terror. Who was this guy?

          He looked at the bandaid on my forearm and inhaled deeply, then ripped off the bandage and looked at the little bit of blood dried on my arm. I was looking at my arm too, because I didn’t want to look at his face. He pulled my arm closer to him and opened his mouth and I listened for what he was about to say. But he didn’t say anything. He closed his mouth and pushed me away so forcefully that I felt like I flew yards away from him and fell on my back. I looked up and realized that I did fly quite a ways from him. He was standing in the same spot and I was 5 yards away, lying on the street.

          “I’m here to protect you” he said to me as I struggled to sit up. I started to gain my confidence back. It wasn’t going to be like what happened

With Donny.

          “Yeah, right.” I said back to him. In a split second he was crouched down in front of me. It was impossible. He was inhumanly fast.

          “There is someone after you.” he said. He was so close I could feel his breathe on my face, and it smelled good. I had a ridiculous urge to get closer to him, but I restrained myself.

          “The only person after me is you.” I replied. I looked at his face. He was wearing sunglasses for some reason, but the parts of his face I could see were perfect. He was gorgeous. I must have looked distracted because he gently grabbed my face with his ice cold hand and looked at me.

          “Hey,” he said, his voice slightly louder than before. “There is a bad vampire after you and I’m trying to protect you.”

          I snapped out of daydreaming about his beautiful face when I heard that word. Vampire. My mind flashed back to my dream and I suddenly wondered what color his eyes were. I wanted to reach forward and remove his sunglasses. “Vampire?” I said so quietly it was barely a whisper. He looked like he’d said more than he’d wanted to and stood up.

          “Yes, vampire. A bad one is after you and I’m a good one here to help you.”

          “Your glasses” I said quietly. He hesitantly took them off. He looked at me with bright red eyes. Just like the ones in my dream.

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