I sighed as I looked around; making sure no one was close. The place was a little out of town, but I knew some people drove by here. Not seeing anyone, I made my way up the walkway, passed underneath the sign, and to the front door. I brushed away the cobwebs that had caught in my hair and reached for the doorknob of the only place I could call home, Cheryl Sunder’s Orphanage. I
I opened the door, and was greeted by: no one. The house had been abandoned for almost five years now. Abandoned, just like me. I felt a connection to this house because of it. I had taken good care of it though. The floors were free of dust, the corners didn’t have cobwebs (well, not all of them), and the kitchen was always stocked with food. It had surprised me that I never ran out of food, even for the five years I have been here. It all just seemed to keep coming back. I didn’t question it though; I didn’t have a job to pay for food if the food stopped restocking. I was grateful, and I might as well not waste it. So, I decided to head into the kitchen and grab some chips. The kitchen was quite large complete with a double oven, one of those gigantic wall refrigerators, and a six burner stovetop. There used to be so many kids here. I don’t know where they all went. I just came home one day in 6th grade and everyone was gone. I didn’t even freak out. It seemed normal, but if the public found out I was living here myself, well they’d take me away and put me in another orphanage, or worse, in a foster home. Foster homes suck. I had been sent to three when I was younger and they all sent me back with the same reasons—I was too quiet, I liked to be alone, I didn’t like playing with the other children, I was mysterious. After the third one, I tended to hide until the foster parents would choose someone else instead of me to go home with them. Ms. Sunders always tried to find me, but I had found the one secret passage in the house and did not share it with anyone. Even now I didn’t. I used the passage as my art room; drawing on the walls, paint splotted on the floor, paint brushes stashed in my bucket of water. It was my escape from the world. I had my painting clothes, a t-shirt and pair of sweat pants, hanging on two old nails that stuck out from the worn wood on the walls and I would change into them as soon as I stepped into the room, always shivering while I stood there half-naked trying to wrestle the clothes on. Today I decided that is where I needed to go to get my head on straight for the challenge with Genevieve tomorrow. I went around to the left side of the stairs and reached my hand out to the piece of wood slightly different from the others. It was a perfect square, a shade darker than the rest of the wood. I pushed it hard and the panel to the left of me began to swing inwards. Since no one was around, I thought today I’d leave the door slightly ajar. I walked down the short flight of stairs and reached for the clothes. I took of my top and pulled on my old t-shirt as I tried to slip of my pants. I yelped as I tripped with my pants around my ankles.
“You want some help?” This voice asked from the top of the stairs. I yelped again realizing it was a boy, and my hot pink lingerie was peeking out from under my t-shirt. I was trying to pull my t-shirt down farther over my legs as the boy descended the stairs slowly and once at the bottom reached out his hand. I grasped his hand with my right and continued to pull on my shirt with the other. The light casted a shadow over half his face, but I squinted my eyes as he smiled.
“What, don’t remember me?” He said playfully. I gasped.
“Harry!” I yelled and jumped up to hug him. “Harry what are you doing here? You’ve been gone for almost 5 years, with the others!” Harry had wrapped his arms around my back, and since my arms were above my head, my underwear was sticking out a little more.
“Leena, remember that you’re not wearing pants,” he reminded me and I jumped down, blushing bright red.
“Turn around!” Harry turned around and I grabbed my sweats. I caught him peeking and when I caught him he turned around chuckling. I glared at his back and jumped up on him when I had my pants on. “Carry me like you used to!” I demanded and Harry exaggerated a sigh and wrapped his arms around my calves to keep me from falling off. He headed up the stairs, closing the passageway behind him and headed to the couch where he dumped me off. I lay giggling as he jumped over and landed on the opposite side. I sat up and pulled my legs to my chest, looking at him expectedly. Harry sighed again and ran his hands through his hair.
“Harry, what are you doing here?” I asked and he leaned forward.
“Leena, I’m here because I was sent here. By your parents,” He began as I gasped. “I’m your protector,” he stated. I looked at him in wonder.
“Protector from what?” I scooted closer.