They Speak From Within

Lidya was abandoned at birth and has been stuck in the same orphanage her entire life. Now she is turning eighteen and making plans to get out of that orphanage and leave her small town behind, but can she leave the people she loves behind as well? Seth is determined to keep his younger brother from experiencing the same torment he has suffered under the hands of his parents. Can he handle being the parent his brother needs while still struggling with his own inner torment. When these two teens meet, a whole new world for both of them. Both will have to realize that letting someone in isn't always easy, but building up walls can be more dangerous than tearing them down.

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1. Stuck in One Place~Lidya

    This is the moment. The moment I never could have imagined I would be experiencing. A thought that passed my mind briefly, has left me in a state of complete bewilderment. Now I am faced with a decision while my thoughts and the voices vie for my attention, both actively working against each other. That one fleeting thought echo’s through my head, somehow haunting in it’s simplicity.

    Why am I doing this?

    A minute ago I was ready, I was willing to become completely numb erasing my emotions the only way I know how. Now I am sitting on the edge of my bed, staring, unfocused, down at the blade lying still in my shaking palm. My breaths come in shallow bursts and tears streak down my face, falling silently in an endless stream. The voices will not be unheeded and they get stronger, spewing vicious accusations that I simply can not ignore. The air around me becomes thick and heavy moving like slush through my lungs. The walls start to close in, there is no way to escape what I can not fight. 

    As the all too familiar feeling of drowning washes over me, something inside me starts to fight it off. Some part of me I have never seen before tries to push away the hopelessness. Where is all this coming from? I realize that sitting here staring blankly at my hand is doing nothing to bring this inner turmoil to an end. Without hesitation I push myself up off the bed and stride to the adjacent wall, halting right in front of the mirror that hangs right over my dresser. I place the blade on top of the wooden dresser and let it sit there, not too close, just there. 

    When I look up at the mirror, I see her, the sight sends waves of loathing sweeping through every part of my body. I hate her, everything about her is repulsing to me in a way I may never be able to fully understand. She is not smiling, her mouth set in a grim line. She has a thin face that is framed by thick, light brown hair that falls in waves down her back. Her facial features are well defined, strong cheekbones with a small nose sticking out underneath deep hazel eyes. She has a five foot frame lined with slight curves and light, pale skin. Some might look at her and see an attractive young girl, but I don’t see that. I see what's really there, she is too pale, too thick, her eyes are too sad, every feature is too dull. She will never be thin enough, never be pretty enough, she will never be good enough no matter what she does because she was born a defect. I glare at that face, and for a second I look down at the blade still sitting on the dresser in front of me and consider giving in, could it be the only way?

    Before I can finish the thought a soft knock sounds at the door and a tiny voice follows. “Lidya, are you in there?” Her voice is soft, almost pleading and the familiarity of it warms my heart. I walk to the door and open it to see Samantha standing patiently a bright smile gracing her sweet face, and i can feel my own smile curving in response. 

    Samantha is one of the younger girls in the orphanage, only five years old. She came to us a year ago after both her parents died in a fatal car accident. Her parents were alcoholics and left her with very little trust, but she and I bonded almost immediately. There was something there connecting us and as time went by our shared interests have brought us even closer. She is all I have, and now I am all she has. 

    “Sammy, aren’t you supposed to be studying with the other girls?” My tone is not harsh, but it is warning letting her know I wanted the truth. I know Samantha doesn’t like to study along with the other girls and I know that she has skipped lessons before. Her smile only gets wider as she starts to bounce eagerly on her heals. 

    “We were let out early. Can I stay here with you until lunch time?” Her voice is pleading again and even though I want to let her in, I can’t help but feel she should be spending time with the girls her age. As I look down into her wide eyes so full of love and hope, I lose my resistance as I push the door back more and let her into the room. She squeals excitedly as she bounds into my room, grabbing the book we have been reading together off the shelf. She hops onto my bed and scoots her butt to the middle waiting patiently for me. Samantha loves to read just as much as  I do. After she had been here for about a month I had let her into my room and she saw the shelf with my collection of books. Her eyes were so full of curiosity and it pleased me to see someone so young be that excited to read. I promised her that we could read all the books together as long as she went to lessons and did what she was supposed to. Now it’s our tradition and I smile as I take the book, “Black Beauty”, from her hands and settle myself next to her. As I turn to where we left off last. Samantha leans her head lightly on my shoulder, her breath even as she listens to me read animatedly to her. 

    When the bell rings for lunch we have successfully made it through three chapters. As i finish up the last word of the page, I replace the bookmark and place it on the bed next to me. I stroke Samantha’s head as it moves on my shoulder. 

    “Alright Sammy, time for lunch you better run along and go get something to eat.” She doesn’t move immediately and I decide quietly that I might as well bring up the subject now. “Honey, why don’t you play with the other girls?” The question is gentle, never judging, her head leans back and her eyes peer up at me, sadly. 

    “I play with you, Lidya, you’re a girl.” She smiles a bit when she says it even though she knows what I am referring to. She has never tried to hide anything from me and the realization that there is something she’s not telling me hits hard. Instead of pushing for more, I lean forward and kiss her head lightly. With a smile I send her off to lunch and when she leaves, I let her response seep in. She could be having troubles with the other girls and she doesn’t want to tell me. 

    I don’t go to lunch, I never do. Instead I sit in my room thinking over what had just occurred between Samantha and I. She is so small, and I only want to protect her. So what is she keeping from me. I look at the calendar hanging over my bed, and a new feeling of dread fills me at the sight. It’s only the beginning of April but the thought of what comes once summer ends terrifies me. 

    I refuse to think about that, I still don’t know what's going to happen yet and I’m not going to start worrying about nothing. Instead of dwelling in my thoughts, I put the book back on the shelf and grab my guitar, setting it on my lap as I gently strum the strings. I start with scales, warming up my fingers, then move on. I play for a while, not really thinking but just getting lost in the music, the gentle strum of the chords, the sensations buzzing through me as I play. A knocking interrupts me and I barely hold back from rolling my eyes when my door opens only seconds after the knock. Its not like I need privacy or anything. 

    Miss Bree stands in the doorway with a sickeningly sweet smile plastered on her face. Standing next to her is a girl who looks to be about my age with bright red hair that can not possibly be her natural color. Her face is confident and slightly wary as she gazes around the room, her deep brown eyes meet mine and i see her smirk as she seems to size me up. She is slightly taller than me her tan skin seems to radiate a body that looks like it could be seen on the cover of Cosmo magazine. She has long legs greatly accentuated by the short black skirt she is wearing along with a purple v-neck shirt. Shiny star earrings hang from each ear, and a matching bracelet adorns her wrist. 

    “Lidya, darling, this is Macey. She will be sharing a room with you, would you please show her around and get her settled?” Her sugary, sweet tone she uses to address me with makes me want to cringe. Instead, I nod slowly shooting an apologetic glance toward the new girl. Miss Bree doesn’t catch it as she leads the new girl into the room. “Excellent, you two should get along nicely. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some paperwork to finish up, Lidya will get you situated.” She shoots me a warning look before leaving abruptly, humming cheerfully down the hall. 

    Miss Bree is the caretaker in charge of all the orphans at Springfield Orphanage. At least she is supposed to be the caretaker, but she lacks some of the necessary qualities to be titled as such, at least in my mind. Miss Bree is not warm, she is not loving, and most of all she does not care about any of the orphans stuck in this hell. She is greedy, controlling, and cruel, she only cares about money. On a normal day she appears in the morning and right before bed time, any time in between she is locked away in her office and we are not to disturb her. Witch is why the orphans here take care of ourselves and each other. 

    Once she disappears out of earshot, I look at the new girl curiously. “She wont stay like that.” The statement is abrupt but I feel it has to be said, its not fair that she should come here without knowing what she’s getting into. The girl glances at me from where she stands in front of the small window looking out at the street below. 

    “I won’t be here for long, it doesn’t matter what she’s like.” The statement startles me, but I shake it off and instead turn my focus to the strange girl in front of me. 

    “So, what got you in here?” I ask the question casually, setting my guitar gently against the wall next to my bed. Macey looks at me for a minute before she sits back on the extra bed, her bed. Crossing her long legs and smoothing down her black skirt, just when I think she isn’t going to answer my question she starts to speak. 

    “My Mom died from cancer when I was young and my dad was arrested shortly after. I’ve been pushed around to different foster homes and orphanages since I got in the system. Her voice is resolute as she says this, almost as if she has explained it several times and the topic has become tired. There is no pain in her tone or her expression so I cautiously dig deeper. 

    “Why have you been sent to so many different group homes?” She seems to consider the question for a second, like she is trying to figure out exactly how she should answer. 

    “I get in trouble, a lot, I don’t like to follow rules.” She says this so matter-of-factly without any remorse or hesitation. There’s a gleam in her eye that gives the impression she likes the thrill of rebellion. This girl is a mystery, with her calm demeanor and care free attitude, I can’t figure her out and I sense my interest peaking as I struggle to understand. I see this girl and suddenly I know we could be great friends or the worst of enemies. “What’s your story?”

    The question catches me off guard and I instinctively start to crawl into my inner shell. I fight the urge to hide behind those walls, she answered my questions it’s only fair that I answer hers. Besides, if we are going to be living together here it would be a good idea to get to know one another. So with a deep breath I pull out the words I keep deep inside and look straight into her eyes before answering in a heavy voice.

    “I was abandoned here after birth. I never knew my mother or my father and I have been stuck here ever since.” The admission brings a heaviness to my chest that tries to consume me. I push past the urge to hide away as I watch her think about what I said. Her face still holds that calm but her eyes had widened slightly after I had finished talking and now it seems she doesn’t know exactly what to say. The corner of my mouth turns up slightly and I shake my head slowly, a little self depricatingly. “It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” 

    “I’m sorry, I’m just not sure exactly how to respond to that.” She grimaces and I nod in understanding. It’s not what anyone really expects to hear when they meet someone new, even when they’re in the system. A silence fills the room and the heaviness filling my chest makes it harder to breathe. I know I have to distract myself, I jump up quickly and put on a bright smile as I motion for her to follow. 

    “It’s my job to show you around so we should get started with that.” I walk to the door as I speak, motioning her out the open door and into the empty hallway. My frantic actions don't seem to affect her all that much, and she wanders out the door glancing around at the hideous green and black wall paper that fills both sides of the hall. Shutting the door firmly behind me, I lead her first down to the front door to start. I show her through the main floor, showing her where the cafeteria is and explaining the breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule. Walking her through the nursery and explaining some of the chores given in that room. I made sure to touch on all the important points, the purpose of the bars on all the windows, curfew and the consequences of missed curfew and general rule breaking, and the main job of all the older orphans to keep the younger orphans in line. After showing her the laundry room and explaining the machines, I finish the tour as I look to see what time it is. Seeing that only an hour has passed, we return to my room and I help her arrange her stuff while we discuss general topics. A feeling of fondness develops in my heart as we talk together and I begin to feel comfortable with company.

    It’s strange but it actually feels nice to have someone to talk to. 

                    * * * * * * *

 

    At bedtime, I shower and brush my teeth even though I’m not actually going to bed. Macey seems to still think living here is only temporary. She unpacked a few items from her bag earlier but the rest sits in her unopened suitcase against the wall. I wish it was true, no one should have to live here, but the truth is that once you arrive you never leave. Unless you can get adopted, which doesn’t happen all that often. This is the ultimate home for troubled children, because Miss Bree just doesn’t care. As long as you follow her long list of rules while you're in the building and you don’t get in trouble with the police then she could care less about any one of us. We take care of each other. If you don’t follow her rules, she finds a discipline to suit the crime but she has never sent anyone away. Each orphan she takes in gives her money from the state, the only other way to get out of this Hell is to age out. Once you're eighteen she can’t hold you anymore and you are required to be sent out on your own. That's what I’m looking at come the end of the summer and by the looks of it Macey is heading toward the same outcome. 

    I sit cross legged on my bed scribbling out song lyrics in my notebook and waiting for Miss Bree to appear for her nightly visit. Every night she checks all the rooms to make sure we are all in our beds when it’s time for lights out, lucky for me she only checks once and once she’s gone I get the chance to sneak out. It’s been my nightly routine since I was tall enough to open the front door by myself. I almost jump when Macey suddenly addresses me from where she is leaning back on her own bed. I was so focused on writing I didn’t even notice she had come back to the room after her shower. Macey stares at me expectantly and I realize she must have asked me a question that I completely missed. 

    “Huh?” It’s the only barely intelligent sound I can muster while still in my post writing haze. I make myself listen as she repeats the question and my brain slowly starts to clear. 

    “How long have you been playing guitar?” She looks amused at my initial confusion but her expression morphs into sincere curiosity as she repeats the question. 

    I take a second to really think about the question, not that I don’t understand it, but years living at the orphanage have a way of merging together. After a while, you loose your sense of time. Eventually, I decide to just go with the easiest answer. 

    “When I was young, about five or six, there was an older girl who lived at the orphanage. She had a guitar and she would play it for all the younger girls during our free time. I loved to sit there and listen to her pick the strings and sing to us, to me. She started teaching me how to play and I began writing my own songs. I’ve been playing ever since.” The admission leaves me more open then I am comfortable with. The silence in the room grows heavier with each second that passes. Finally, she looks up at me and her face forms a small smile, a genuine smile. 

    “You are very talented.” My surprise at the unexpected compliment doesn’t seem to bother her in the slightest. Before I can respond, a knock sounds at the door. The door opens to let in Miss Bree with the annoyingly fake, way-to-sweet, smile she was wearing earlier. 

    “Goodnight, girls, sweet dreams.” Ending her act by flicking off the light switch and blowing a kiss, before shutting the door and leaving us in darkness. I’m not sure whether to applaud her performance, or gag from the ridiculousness of it all. The sound of shifting coming from Macey’s bed tells me she must be turning in for the night. I follow my usual ritual, wait till the shutting of doors get’s quieter, moving farther down the hall. 

    Once the entire building becomes dark, and silent, and the breathing from the other bed evens out with sleep. I silently leave my bed, effortlessly making my way across the room to my dresser. Carefully sliding the top drawer open, I grab a pair of worn jeans from the top of the small pile. Slipping them on, I strap my guitar case securely to my back, grab my notebook and pen and slowly get to work on the first obstacle in my path, the bedroom door.

    The hall is eerily quiet, something that freaked me out when I first snuck out but now gives me a sense of security and confidence. Distributing my body weight, I take light steps down the stairs. I take careful precautions to avoid the loud spots, staying away from any and all squeaking and groaning, until I finally reach the front door. Smiling in triumph, I open the door and step out into sweet freedom, remembering to close the door securely behind me. 

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