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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5. Chapter 5: 2 years later

The car rumbled up the driveway. Tien now 16 sat slumped in her seat. A fury paw jabbed her in the eye. “Keemo cut it out!” Her brother (now nearly three) laughed. “Keemo sweetie don’t hit.” Their mum called from the front. The car came to a stop by the old rusted sign. Tien climbed out and looked at the old house. When she’d been living here she’d felt like it had some sort of grip on her. When she left she’d felt much better. “Pick up a box and take it to your room. You know which one it is.” Tien had just finished climbing the last flight of stairs when a notebook fell out of the box. The cover had a check board design. Cautiously she put the box down and picked the notebook up. She looked at the page it had opened on. Names, descriptions, causes of death. This old thing, she thought. She put it back in the box. She went to the door of her room and tried to open it. Locked. She put the box down and raced downstairs. She found the key on the kitchen counter. She raced back up stairs and unlocked the door. The first thing she noticed was the smell. The only word to describe the smell was death. It smelt like death. She looked into the room, her hand cupped over her mouth and nose. She nearly screamed when she saw the cause of the smell. A man’s body lay burnt and decayed in the middle of the floor. Strangely the floor around him seemed clean, except a couple of small blood stains. Holding her breath she leaned closer to the body. The finger nails were nearly all torn out and there were splinters in the skin. Like he’d been clawing at the door. Over whelmed by the smell she took a few steps back. “Dad!” she called. “Dad come quick!” she heard footsteps pounding up the stairs. “What is it… oh? Back away Tien just back away.”

“Dad he’s already dead. He’s not going to hurt me.” Her dad looked at her. “True. Tien I want you to go downstairs to your mum. Tell her to put Keemo in the garden and then come straight upstairs. You stay outside with your brother. Tien did as she was told. She watched as Keemo walked round. He picked up a daisy growing in the cracks of the paving stones. “Pwety flower.”

“Yes Keemo it’s lovely.” He walked along the path picking flowers. When he reached the fifth paving slab he stopped. “Keemo! Keemo what have you spotted?” Keemo just kept looking at the ground. Walking over Tien tried to see what had caught his attention. She looked down. It looked no different to the other paving stones, except nothing was growing around the edge. “I’m looking at the boy. He’s waving at me.” Keemo whispered. “Is he? And where is he?”

“Underground.” Tien stared at her brother. She heard footsteps behind her and turned to see her mum looking very pale. She decided not to say anything about Keemo’s odd behaviour. There’s only so much she can take in one day. “You can come back in now.” She called. Tien nodded and took Keemo’s hand. “Come on Keemo.” They started walking towards the house. Keemo looked up and started waving. “Who you waving at?” she asked. “The girl.”

“That’s nice. Is she your friend?” he nodded. She looked up and started waving. Then she stopped. There in the window was a girl’s shadow. Just a trick of the light she thought. She quickly led Keemo back into the house. Her dad told her she would move into the room opposite Keemo’s. “I don’t want you sleeping in that room.” She just shrugged. To be honest she was glad. It had been too weird.

***

She went to bed that night fearing the scratching sounds. She lay awake her heart pounding. She could hear scratching from the floor above. But it soon faded and she soon nodded off.

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