Memory Burns

Trish's house catches on fire, causing both of her parents' deaths. Only she knows that she was the cause of that fire. She goes to live in an orphanage in the hopes of being adopted, but something weighs on her mind. Somebody who had threatened her had intentionally killed her parents, and now they want to kill her. She goes from foster home to foster home, trying to adjust to the life she now has and let go of the ones she lost.

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4. Chapter 4- Cold Stares

 

Hollow faces stare at me longingly, threateningly, and excitedly. I stand at the front of a large audience that has gathered before me.

Patty and a grubby looking adult about her age walk towards a flat rock surrounded by pine trees. The rock is large enough to fit them, although they have to squish together.

“Kids! Let’s welcome....” Patty struggles to remember my name.

“Trish!” somebody shouts from the audience. Apparently the word has spread around.

“Oh no, that’s not right... Oh yes! Mara!” Patty claps, and everyone remains silent. Her clapping echoes off of the buildings around me. I bite back a grin.

“Well anyways, off to lunch,” Patty says hastily, blushing furiously.

Mumbling blankets me, freezing me. I have always been shy, so it is no surprise that I am frozen with fear. But I curse myself silently. How DUMB, Trish!

I trudge off with the rest of the group, but then somebody grabs me from behind.

“I know you think you are strong, but you’re at the bottom of the food chain here. We can hurt you. We can hurt your friends, and your family. Oh wait, you don’t have either. Guess we’ll just have to hurt you,” a voice hisses menacingly in my ear. I gasp. I have blocked the incident out of my mind for the entire day. But now I am forced to remember. I jolt forward and start shaking uncontrollably.

Several minutes pass before I move again. I am herded down the dirt path by a swarm of kids, and I stumble along, tripping over feet and roots.

Somebody grabs my wrist, and I stumble sideways, preparing myself for the ridicule and hatred.

I want to yell at them, to tell them I know where I stand here, but no words come out of my mouth. I just stand still, and watch the needles fly as they pierce my heart.

.          .              .            .             .         .

By the end of the day, my face has fallen, and I have lost any hope that I was holding onto of ever getting back on my feet again. (It was something like this)

I feel something rough knock against my head, and I take a deep breath. But I know I can’t handle anymore. This is it.

I flinch, turning around, and I stand tall. But my eyes widen. It’s Kab. My breath leaves me in a whoosh. Relief pours through me.

“C’mon, I’ll show you around our cabin. We’re sharing a bunk since the kid above me just died.” she avoids my eye contact. I nod, not pressing further on the subject.

She exhales in relief and walks me inside the cabin.

I sigh at the sight. A narrow window casts a thin stream of light that is clouded with dust particles. The floors are caked in mud, the walls mildewy. A torn up welcome mat litters the doorway, and I see caked blood on the walls. Beautiful. No lightbulbs, no bathroom, no sink, and not a single mirror. The air smells thick and musty, like an old lady’s attic. I take a step forward, and flinch when the floorboard dips down several inches. I hop back quickly, bracing myself against the wall behind me. I cring when I feel my fingers hit something sticky. I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

“This is your home, so you don’t really have a choice for the matter of liking it,” she says gruffly, looking away.

I close my eyes and wipe the goo off onto my jeans.

“Sorry, egg fight in here today,” Kab grins, and I clench my fists together. I nod silently, “Oh yes, I almost forgot! Our bunk is over here!”

She leads me over to a rickety wooden bunk bed that was covered in sheets spread wildly around. A packed bag sat underneath the bunk, and I placed my bags next to hers, causing dust to stir up. I haul myself over the edge of the bunk bed, collapsing onto a firm mattress. I smile. My new home. Or at least for now.

“Pass me the sheets in there,” I say, to Kab softly.

She passes me the sheets and I press them to my nose, inhaling. I used to do this every day at home. The pleasant thought leaves in a rush, when my brain registers the smell. Vomit and blood emenate from the sheets.

“Don’t they have washing machines here?” I ask her, gagging.

“Yes, but you would have to sleep without sheets, which is almost worse.”

I glance down, ready to ask her why, but one look and I know the answer. The mattress is covered in stains. None that I want to know the source of.  I quickly stand up, brushing my legs off. How did I sit on that and not notice?

Since it is almost the end of the summer, and hot, I decide I will sleep on my covers and wash my sheets. Better than nothing. Anything, anything at all, would be better than nothing right now.

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