Orphan House

Tien is a Vietnamese girl living with her English adoptive parents. They move to an abandoned orphanage where Tien soon starts seeing things. At first she thinks she's going crazy. But when her baby brother starts talking to thin air she begins to wonder if there is another explanation. When she finds the diary of one of the old social workers her worst fears are realised.

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3. Chapter 3

As the weeks went by Tien began to question her own sanity. If she wasn’t hearing things she was seeing things. She stopped going to her parents because what would they do. She dreaded going to bed at night for fear of the scratching sounds. One day she decided to take a bath in the second floor bathroom. She ran the bath and sat by the side. When it was full she climbed in and lay down under the water. She sat up and let the water drip down her face. To her surprise she found herself fall backwards under the water. She tried to sit up but found she was pinned down. Through half open eyes she could see a pair of very pale arms coming out of the bottom of the bath. She nearly screamed only to remember she was under water. She tried to sit up but the arms pinned her down. She started to struggle but the arms held firm. Her lungs were screaming for air. She twisted and turned desperate to escape. Trying to stay calm she twisted her arm so she could grab the arms. Then she started clawing at them. At first they held tight but eventually they gave up. Hurriedly she jumped out of the bath only to slip and bang her head on the floor. She lay there gasping for breath, her head and heart pounding. After a while she managed to stand up and turned to look into the bath. There was no sign of the arms. Still shaken up Tien drained the bath and started drying herself. When she had dressed and dried her hair she opened turned on her computer and went to her files. She found the one titled St Jerome’s and clicked on it. An Excel file came up on the screen. She began typing; Appearance: Extremely pale skin Actions: Attempted drowning Name: Unknown

She had so far identified the girl in the attic as Mary West and the boy torn in half as Alex Brown. She had also come across a girl covered in bites and scratches she identified as Katie Brett, and a boy with a broken neck she thought was Jack Williams. She then picked up a print out of the newspaper stories and read through.

***

A week after nearly drowning Tien was helping her mum make dinner. She hadn’t mentioned the incident to anyone. Who’d believe her? She’d just finished chopping the carrots when her mum gave a cry of pain. “Mum!”

“I’m fine darling. Really. Ah ah ah!” she bent double. “DAD! Mum’s in labour!” Her dad came running. “Are you ok darling?” Her mum nodded before crying in pain again. “Ok Tien stay with your mum. I’ll get the car ready.” He went upstairs, then came down with the bag they’d pre packed. He then went out front before coming back in. “Come on. Let’s get you to the hospital.” He put his arm around his wife. “Tien you ok staying here on your own sweetie?” Tien wasn’t ok. But what else could she do. Maybe it would give her time to explore. “I’ll be fine.” She fibbed through her teeth. She watched them leave before going back inside. “Right you lot! If you’re there you better show yourselves.” She wandered round looking in all the rooms. She’d just been looking in her parent’s room when she heard footsteps coming from the hallway. Slowly she opened the door and peered out. At first she couldn’t see anything. Then she looked towards the bath room where she’d nearly drowned. Standing in the doorway was a boy. He was about 16 and had very pale skin. The other thing she noticed he was dripping wet and completely naked. Her eyes fell on his hands. Those jagged nails were familiar. “So you’re the one who tried to drown me!” she cried. “Who are you? You weren’t mentioned in any of the newspapers.” The boy didn’t say anything. “Did you drown? Why did no one mention you?” The boy still said nothing. “Can’t you talk? Can you make some sort of noise?” The boy just turned around and walked towards the bath. “Oy!” Tien rushed to the door only to find the bathroom was empty. All that remained was a set of footprints leading towards the bath. She pulled out her note book, rested it on the edge of the sink and began writing. Name: Unknown Cause of Death: Drowned in Bath?

She then made her way downstairs and out the front door. She tried to walk down the left side but found it was blocked by brambles so she redirected herself to walk down the right side. She was nearly at the back garden when she noticed something. There was a small arch shape hole in the bottom wall, with bars. Almost like a dungeon. She crouched down and peered in. “Didn’t know we had a basement.” She muttered to herself.  She moved a little to the left to let some more light in. As she did so she saw some movement in the corner of the room. She leaned closer only to fall back again when the figure raced towards her. It was a boy with shoulder length red hair. He was so skinny his bones pressed against his skin. He reached his arms through the bars, clawing the air and screaming. Tien stared frozen in horror.  Eventually she remembered herself and stood up. She ran to the door and slammed it shut. She then rushed up stairs and grabbed the newspaper clippings. She found the one she was looking for and found the pictures. She looked at each photo until she found a match.  Clive Osland age 12. She crossed out the picture before putting the information into the Excel file. She then went back to the clippings. She peered closely at each picture. She read each line carefully. But there were no clues to the mystery boy. She turned back to her computer and tried searching for more information. Nothing. Eventually it started getting dark so she decided to turn in for the night.

 

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