Darkness Falls

Devoid of any memory, Paige Hewin awakens in a concealed cabin. She finds herself in a world where tangible darkness lingers around every corner. Any hope of seeking her identity sweeps away as she unravels the intricacies of her life. Her origins obscure. Her goals obscure.

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3. An Identity

I couldn't give up, just because I lost my past. Today is my third day here living, all alone. So, I thought I should give it a try and fill in for an admission at a near hostel. Not like I have plenty of money, but I could melt them a little into giving me one. All I need is good acting and a fool-proof story about my family. My brain works like that.

So that's exactly what I did first thing in the morning. I familiarized few other towns neighbouring this town-Redelf- and also important locations, including the hostel. I then recalled my well drawn plan in my mind, just to stay clear and believing at the office.

Living in an orphanage seemed more suffocating to me. I don't want the thought of not having parents bothering me. It hurts.

I followed the directions of this map and reached a twin building at the outskirts of the town. The grey concrete and faded coat of painted walls gave it a dull appearance. I climbed in. A few stairs from the gate, flower beds along the side of the building walls, then the office.

I was in and out in five minutes. I passed.

"Thank you so much miss Carol!" I smiled widely at the tall, lean woman who accepted my form. She didn't ask me much. She would show sympathy at my condition and nod constantly. She even grant me the permission to join in today. I rose from my chair, thanking her, then hit the back of my leg to the chairs edge. In all the midst of joy, I neglected the pain.

In all the midst of joy, I neglected the catch. It was very suspicious of her to give me an admission so patently. It was either my story was convincing enough, or there is something more behind this. The incessant thoughts of mine were hit by a wintry gust of air. It prickled along my skin, sinking down to my very bones. I pulled my garments closer.

I returned to the the old wooden cabin in the forest and took all the things I thought could be of importance. I packed a handful of clothes that I had found in the cupboard. I was indeed very grateful to the owner of this cabin. Only if I knew him, I would wordily thank him. I decided to leave the rusty keys on the table, then stepped out. The cold breeze bit at my bare legs and I wished the owner had kept a pair of stockings in there too. The dark clouds tumbling over the land making it darker and colder. I thought I heard thunder but looking at the skies, it definitely would not.

When I reached the hostel back again miss Carol politely greeted me. Miss Carol was rather young and good looking for her age. She had a charming face and glistening blue eyes. She had auburn locks which suited perfectly with her eyes.

"Here put these on." She said and handed me a woollen sweater and a muffler from a shelf.

"You are to keep these for yourselves." She added. I smiled and nodded.

"My room?" I asked.

"410 on the fourth floor. You can look around after you unpack." She suggested and I nodded cordially. She then showed me to my room. We passed a round hall with a stairs at the adjacent corner and corridors opening at the sides. We took the right staircase. The corridors were wide and long, and we climbed till we reached the fourth floor. I was panting with all the exertion on my body. I noticed how easy it was for Miss Carol. She must be used to climbing everyday.

"Here." She said, and pointed her index finger at the bed closer to the window. I walked over to it and tossed my bag on the bed.

"I know Paige it must be really hard for you to concentrate on anything, but don't give up easily. Ever." She said, and continued after a pause. "Do approach me if you have any problem. "

I felt a pang of guilt for lying to her. But, I didn't have much choice. She walked out after a brief smile and shut the door behind her. I looked at the door and thought about what she said. Then looked around the room and spotted two more neatly made beds. I waited for here for about ten minutes for any roommate to show up , then headed down anyway.

I smelled soup and something chicken from a distance. Sniffing the mouth-watering smell, I reached the cafeteria. It was quiet large, filled with long tables and bunches. It was filled up with students and moistening air of exhalation, making it instantly warm. I was starving. I headed to join the queue. The lady served me hot soup, steak and cake to go with that. The cake looked like a homespun masterpiece. It was fluffy as a pillow and toasty brown. This cream of mushroom soup hasn't lost one jot of its butter-laden, cognac-kissed suavity. And then this juicy steak. Pure Awesomeness. 
It's was a five star hotel banquet itself here.

"Excuse me, " A tall brunette caught my attention or should I say diverted my attention from my delicious meal. I instinctively gave her way in the queue. But I figured out, she wasn't aiming for that.

"You must be Paige Hewin, right?" She asked. Hewin, that's the name I gave as my surname since I didn't know my real one. I nodded.

"Good, I'm Noris. I heard about you at the office. Since we have few admissions in the school every year it's easy to keep track." She said, then walked along with me towards the tables. I stopped and searched across the cafeteria for a seat. Before I could even find one, Noris invited me to sit with her and I ever so  politely agreed.

"So Paige where are you from? " She asked. "Not from around here, are you?" She added. We sat at the corner of the third table with two other people. One a brown-haired tall boy, and another a blonde skinny girl. I slipped next to her.

"This is Cedric and Kylie." Noris said, but she did not mention my name to them. I felt my tongue tied, so I smiled at them instead of a self introduction.

"Paige, right? Where are you from?" Asked Cedric. "I'm from Merrilea, closest town to Redelf." I successfully opened my mouth.

"Oh, what's your room number?" Noris asked. "410." I replied. Kylie jumped on her seat, beside me, and said:

"Sure, I'm your roomate!"

"We will show you around." Kylie insisted, and I smiled. The trio spoke further but I didn't. I quietly concentrate on my creamy soup, which was on the verge of getting cold. If the meals here were this tasty, I'm never getting out of here!

The Redelf hostel had lot of rooms, each for a subject. The classes spacious, and the corridors wide. The boys have the first three floors and the girls get the last girl floors. The school is in the opposite building and between them is a courtyard with a supposed-to-be green garden, which right now is overlaid by piles of snow.

"You'll never feel home sick again after you see this place." Noris assured.

"Sure," I whispered. That would actually be possible if I had a home. After looking around for a while, Kylie and I returned to our room.

"I loved the lunch." I said. "Yes, they serve the best! When I was new, the food was an allurement. My parents, a month later, asked me to shift to another school but I never budged. Baby, food is all I want!"

I chuckled.

"So how did you end up here?" Kylie asked. She unlocked the door and passed me a spare key from the drawer. "Keep it," she said.

"I am here on my own...I mean I'm an orphan." I said, the same as I explained to Miss Carol. Kylie who was now on her phone, lifted her face towards me. I saw feelings of pity, for my misfortune in her eyes.

"I'm sorry Paige, I...." Kylie said, sympathetically.

"It's alright." I smiled. "We were shifting to Mitchville this October but in a tragic accident both passed away. Since two months I've been on my own. Just no hope. I don't have any siblings or any other relatives who could company me." I explained.

"What did the police had to say about this?" She asked.

"Well it was all considered as an accident. I couldn't help it. I lived at my old Merrilea home for a depressing two months." I said.

"Paige don't you worry, now we are here." She said, and I felt happy about it. I don't have to live alone. I could always make new friends.

"Thank you Kylie."

A minute later she continued asking about my hair.

"This...I have it naturally." I said. Seriously Paige? Ever seen a person with white silver hair?

"Really?" She narrowed her eyes at me."Or did you dye it?"

"Yeah, dyed it, obviously!" I laughed it off.

"It looks great! Something different." She said.

I asked Kylie about her family. She didn't look too enthusiastic talking about it. Kylie was twelve when her parents got divorced. Since then she has been living with her mother and her elder brother Aaron. I concluded one thing clearly, life will never let you live peacefully. It has it's load of obstacles always burdening you.

"It totally slipped away from my brain. We have a Christmas party, organized by the hostel. It is tomorrow. Why don't you join us?" She said.

"I couldn't, I will be busy in catching up with you all in subjects." I reasoned.

"You could engage yourself in a little fun, you know. Just to keep yourself occupied from the other thoughts." She said, and I knew what she meant.

"Okay."

***

I followed the numbers on the key I held. It led me to a blue locker, and I yanked it open. Pile of papers and books fell out of it, some hitting my face. They didn't bother clearing the locker before allotting it to me. How thoughtful.

"Oops, let me help you with that." Noris said. We bend down and picked up all the papers with F's marked on them with red ink. I figured out, these must be assignments.

"You might have already got an invitation from Kylie about the party." She said.

"Yeah, she did." I said.

"She wouldn't miss any occasion which has food and dance, of all."

"How long have you both been friends?" I asked. Curiosity is all that I have no grip over. Oh, and food.

"Five to six years. Maybe." She said, still counting the number on her fingers.

"How's it going?" Piped in Cedric. "Good. I need to head to my first class." I said.

"An advice. You could sit in the library for the rest of the day and go through the textbooks." Cedric said, shrugging his shoulders. "I would do that if I were you."

I don't see, why not. It would be easy to catch up. "Sure." I said.

"The Library is in the opposite building. " Noris said. She insisted on showing me, but I denied her help. I collected my books from the stationery, and passed the courtyard. A sanitation worker was shovelling the pathways. I entered the building and turned left into the corridor. A room had a label on a board reading 'library'. It was cold and sparsely populated with many rows of shelves arranged parallel. The students settled, pointed at texts their books and whispered in constant pursuit of knowledge. I took a chair and began reading.

It was hard work. Most of the time I was stuck with questions and not well explainable paragraphs in my books. At the end of the exhaustion, I packed up.

I fumbled in my bag for the door key and pulled it out. Kylie had not returned. I threw myself on the bed. My arms and legs outstretched, relaxing every muscle. I noticed that I was familiar with worldly knowledge and education, but not a bit related to my past or myself. My nonconformist thoughts flew over to reincarnation. I don't suppose that is the answer for my condition. I don't believe in such superstitious ideas. There should be an answer. Medicinal answer? If it was that, I would have woken up in a Intensive Care Unit in a hospital, and not a derelict house.

I remembered the blood smothered on my face and on my clothes. Whose blood could have that been? Blood meant injury, but in my case I had no wound. Only scars. Nothing made sense.

The door flew open and Kylie walked in, followed by Noris and Cedric. I sat up straight. Noris and Cedric were in an argument that thumps were fingers. I am not sure what brought them to that debate, but I settle on thumps are indeed fingers. Why separate them from their family.

"Are they always..." I said, laughing. "Always." Kylie groaned.

"What do you think Paige?" Cedris asked. I decided not to pick any, so that the matter extinguishes quickly.

"This topic is out of the area of my expertise." I said, and folded my arms. Kylie and I laughed.

"So, what are you wearing tomorrow?" Kylie asked, and flung her body on the bed. I bit my lower lip in despair and shook my head.

"Nothing?!" Kylie said aloud. I cringed. I look broke in front of them, but I can't tell them that I have absolutely no dresses. Noris, at the instance, stopped making her point with Cedric and focused on me.

"I do have two long pieces, but it is not exactly in a good condition." I said. Kylie looked at Noris, then at me.

"Don't you worry, your fashion sense isn't that great, anyways. We will help you look gorgeous tomorrow! " Kylie squealed. I gave a nervous grin, wondering if she insisted on helping me or  supposedly insulted me. Noris nodded constantly with a smirk. I don't know what I am supposed to make of it.

"Cedric, are you joining us?" Noris asked, nudging him. Cedric right away recoiled, showing his palms at us. "No way. What should I do between you ladies, controvert each other's opinions about how the dress goes with the heels." He said, and walked out the door. "Tell me when you girls are done. I'll be working out a little." He said, and left.

We looked at each other and laughed about what all Cedric just blabbered, before heading out.

***

We left for Noris's room. She figured out that, her size would fit me perfectly. We were almost the same built, unlike Kylie, who was a little thin and shorter.

"Wow, Noris! Did you carry your whole wardrobe from home, here?" I said, and gaped at her closet in amazement, after she pulled the door open for viewing for selection. I realized my mouth slightly hanging and shut it. She had some lovely dresses.

I was just contradicting every dress the duo agreed on, just like Cedric predicted. Firstly, it was hard to match any dress suitable with my unique coloured hair. Secondly, they both prefer bright shades over darker shades, which wasn't the case with me. Noris and Kylie enjoyed more dressing me than I trying them on. All these peach and hot pinks weren't my sort. Then again, I made sure the sleeves were long enough to cover those scars.

"What's with the sleeves?" Kylie asked, as she undid the zip from my torso. "I got this childhood scar that I've got to hide." I frowned. Another lie. I pulled the sleeve up and displayed the long scar. It looked like it was cleaved with a sharp object. It could really be a childhood scar, from when I injured myself from a game of tag, or, tripped from the curb.

"Oh. It's alright. We can cover it. It's not that bad, after all." Noris said. After nine tries, we settled on a black lace dress.I was satisfied.

"What made you bring so many dresses, anyway? Hostels don't throw parties on occasions, usually." I asked Noris.

"It was Kylie's and my idea. It's not like we weren't gonna sneak out for party these two years. We have everything well planed." She said, proudly nodding and giggling along with Kylie.

"Sharp." I said. "Now, your turn to have annoying try-ons." I handed her one dress that I pulled out of the closet.

"Annoying? It's my second most favourite pastime after unreasonable arguments with Cedric." Noris said. She quarrels with the purpose for attaining pleasure? I couldn't help but laugh about it.

"Proceed with the next dress." Kylie said, and the rest of the night we worked on the outfits.

I could say, I make friends easily. I was glad.

 

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